as you may have noticed 🙂 I have just completed a journey to the land of the Rising Sun, I planned this trip for at least 10 years and I never managed to make my wish come true.
This year, finally, for many reasons that have come to create, I had the opportunity to take advantage of 12 days during New Year Holidays and crying out: “now or never!”, I decided it was time to visit the home of my many passions: comics, cartoons I grew up with, food, technology, and many others.
The main goal of course was Tokyo, because I couldn’t travel the entire country from north to south as I am used to do, so I decided to visit the two main cities of Japan: Tokyo and Kyoto.
I’m not going to make a detailed report of my trip because It would be too long and tedious, but I will try to highlight the best “attractions” of these two cities.
I liked Tokyo very much, weird right? 🙂 How can you not appreciate a city with 12 million inhabitants that works like a Swiss watch? Japan is the country of “Services”, service in Japan is sacred and we can see it, the hostel where I lodged was simple but clean and well organized, the transports are on time and clean, as a customer you are always well-treated and I have never felt myself in any kind of danger, maybe they are suspicion of foreigners (Gaijin), but in a country that has been isolated and It is still (immigration in Japan is very low), I think that this can be understood.
Of course all this has a price, for example, the subway is expensive, but return quality is outstanding. My advice to travel around Tokyo is to get a “PASMO” card (rechargeable card to use the subway) and turn around neighborhoods that interest you most, immersed in a multitude of people who sleep, play with the PSP, chat with the phone, cradled by countless jingle information and from the subway proceeding sound.
Tokyo is expensive, but if you live in Milan, you will not notice a big difference. I was unlucky, because in this period, yen was strong against the Euro. Of course you have to be careful, I used to have lunch with a nice bowl of Ramen and I spent around 10 €, while at night I let myself go a little more, but it depends on what you want to eat. If you sleep in hostel, that can help you in saving money, but resist buying everything you see, is the hardest part.
As always, in all my trips, I am more interested in the small everyday life moments than big tourist attractions, so I roamed randomly around the city, but I was also helped by an Italian couple living in Tokyo for 3 years ( domo arigato Max and Erika), which made me discover beautiful neighborhoods outside the center and incredible restaurants that I would never find on my own. Definitely spending the last year night in a temples, burning old stuff, drinking fresh Sakè, eating Soba and waiting for the new year coming, is an experience I will never forget, as well as attending a Japanese bands concert in a small underground club till 6 am.
If you are in Tokyo, I can certainly advise you not to miss Onsen (spa), a unique experience for diving in separate bowls with hot water (about 40 degrees celsius), but especially in the old traditions that distinguishes this country, they will delight you in soul and body (keep in mind that basically I do not like Spa).
Personally I suggest the Toji Tenzan Kyo Onsen in Hakone, outside Tokyo, 1 ½ hours by train on the Odakyu line, otherwise if you do not want to go far, in the Harbour area of Tokyo (Koto district) you can find the Oedo Onsen, where you can spend the whole day between tubs, relaxation lounges, restaurants and so on. Important: usually if you have a tattoo you are not allowed to enter.
In conclusion, I expect much from Tokyo, so many myths, and expectations that in 10 years piled up in my mind increasing my desire to visit Japan and I must say that reality has gone well beyond, I was excited by this city like I did not expect and I do love it. I went to Italy with a promise I will return’!!!!!
For more detailed information you can write me, in the meantime enjoy the photos, bye.
…. Kyoto will follow … …