Since my first post on Tokyo, Japan, I have been fortunate enough to return several times. My initial A Day in One Place was meant to give someone visiting that location quite a bit to do in a short amount of time whether it be a layover or limited stay in that city. With that, here are a few more things to do while visiting Tokyo.
Red Planet Hotel. It's an affordable brand found allover Asia with limited services. The rooms are very clean, modern and comfortable. Why pay for more when you're out exploring a great city. Plus, it's just a few minutes walk to everything Asakusa has to offer - Sensoji Shrine, Sumida Park, Asahi Tasting Room, the Ginza line and more! If you get a view room, you will most likely wake up to this.
|View of SkyTree at sunrise|
I like to start my day around 6:30am walking to Sumida Park and around the river. It takes about 30 minutes or so. Along the way you will see lots of people walking and exercising. As you exit the hotel take the second right down an alley and through a few blocks of shopping arcades. You will then cross the street and see a sign for Tokyo Cruise. Just to the left is Sumida Park. You can walk through the park, safely, to the next bridge and cross over. You will then come up the other side of the bride and continue on the newly paved path. I usually turn right and cross over the bridge when I reach the corner of the Asahi building. It's the one with the giant yellow squiggly on it for lack of a better word. Here you can also visit a Starbucks or venture back to the hotel to get ready for the day. I also like to walk down Kaminarimon "Thunder Gates" which is the entrance to the shrine. It's so peaceful before the stores open and tourists arrive. Most start to open around 9am but the action doesn't really start until 11am. It offers quite a lot in the way of souvenirs, clothing, and street food. I usually pick up a few things here which I find to be less expensive than other parts of the city. Don't be afraid to try new food, either. There's lot of snacks which can be had for just a few yen.
|Friendly staff can assist with your choices|
|Look for this sign|
My favorite is this little fried snack almost to the end of the walk, about second from the end on the right facing the temple. I really don't know the name. For under 200y, you can get a delicious treat. My favorite is the sweet potato. The sellers do speak some English and can help you with flavors. The outer fried coating is light and crisp, and the filling is sweet and soft. It will be handed to you in a little piece of paper. If you don't want to eat it right away, ask for a small bag. Remember, it's not usually polite to eat and walk in Japan, so step over to the side out of people's way.
Don Quijote. This place can be intimidating once you come upon it. It sticks out of the ordinary and almost looks like a casino, but it's not. It's floors and floors of amazing goods including food, snacks, clothing, household items, luggage, toys, etc. This is another great place to find souvenirs or even snacks for your hotel or backpack. Did you forget socks? This place has it! They take major credit cards. Check out the three or four levels for a true experience. Once you pay, you will move to the little table to bag your items. Plus, it's close enough to the hotel that you can just return the items to your hotel and get on with your day.
|It's the building on the left you're looking for!|
Reissue. You can take the Ginza line from Tawaramachi Station and transfer to the Yamanote line (JR). This small cafe offered a few desserts as well as "art lattes" or 3D lattes. If you are coming from Harajuku Station, you will walk all the way through Takashita Street to the end. Cross at the walk and look to your left. You will see a "floral" clock on a wall. It's very large and you cannot miss it. Turn left here and walk about a block or two down. On the left side you will see Reissue and proceed up the stairs. They charge an average price for a cappuccino or latte, around $400y but for an additional $400y they will do art or 3D. So have a picture ready for them or ask for a 3D character such as a bunny or Pikachu. The extra yen is well worth it. It can get busy, too, and they will take reservations so if you can't get in one day I highly recommend you come back.
|Look for this outside and Gontran Cherrier is to the right|
|French loaf, bacon epi, cheese bread, croissant|