my friend, erin, really has it all figured out. she works a full-time job, is extremely over-educated (she is going for her doctorate in education now…that is, at the same time as working her full-time job), and still manages to find time to know all the cool things going on about los angeles. she also wants to go on a river boat cruise with me, so that scores major points in my book. she went to japan recently, and agreed to write a bit about it for us, despite almost all of her photos being deleted post-trip! make sure you check out her itinerary, which includes visits to areas like roppongi, harajuku, and shibuya. arigato!
well, japan has always been my husband’s dream place to go – and we like to go on an international trip at least every two years… so we finally made it happen! we booked our trip through a travelzoo deal (our second through travelzoo) which included airfare on singapore airlines, hotel at hilton tokyo, a half day bus tour and airport transfers. we decided to go during mid/late march in hopes that we would see the beginning of cherry-blossom season but not have to deal with all of the traffic that comes with cherry-blossom season.
i had an office friend at the time who lived in tokyo for five years, so she gave me the low-down on the places to see and eat. she even went so far as to draw me a diagram to the best ramen shop (which was amazing and perfect and everyone should eat it). we went to the ramen shop on a cold, wet day when we had over-exhausted ourselves with walking instead of taking public transportation – so the ramen was exactly what we needed.
anywho, i could really go on for days about the wonderful food (like an entire restaurant that just serves gyoza, the amazing selection from convenience stores (see below) or getting up early to eat barely dead fish (see below again!) at the tsukiji fish market). but what really blew me away was the fact that this HUGE city felt manageable. each “neighborhood” had its own feeling/vibe, which helped you adjust to the throngs of people and giant skyscrapers.
also – there were parks all over the place, which were really like peaceful historic sites. tokyo and japan in general have a great respect for preserving history. it was remarkable to be shopping one second and look over and see a shrine and a park the next. it was exciting, peaceful, and made you want to live there (minus how expensive it is and the high suicide rate…)
if you go during the month of march/april expect it to be rainy and a little chilly. you’ll warm up with the tea served at all the restaurants and with all of the walking (and brisk walking if you’re short like me and trying to keep up with taller people). i brought layers and some waterproof shoes and was just fine. also – their info about feeding pigeons is hilarious.
plus – i’m that crazy girl who does really detailed itineraries and keeps them – so hopefully this will help you!