We were day 2 in our Tokyo tour and our gang is finally complete! Babe flew to Osaka the previous day and took the early shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo, reached the train station by 10am, kept her luggage in one of the station lockers and we were finally good to go for another day of Tokyo fun.
Read more: Japan Diaries: Autumn in Tokyo Part 1
Our first stop is a look at the old facade of the Tokyo train station. The iconic European-style red-brick building was originally constructed in 1914. After surviving the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, it was later burned and gutted in 1945 firebombings. Post-war reconstruction resulted in several modifications to the building until in 2006 a reconstruction project began to restore Tokyo Station to its former 1914 charm. This facade is accessible by the Marunouchi Exit of the Tokyo train station, which is also the exit nearest to our next stop, the Imperial Gardens and Palace.
After a 10 minute walk and a wrong turn, we finally reached the Imperial Gardens. It is part of the inner palace area and is open to the public. There is no entrance fee but upon entering, the guards gave us a pass that we returned before exiting. Inside the gardens are more of those red, yellow, orange, green trees, and a zen park with benches and ponds. Also, strategically located inside the grounds are rest houses for resting (duh).
After the East Gardens, we made our way to the Imperial Palace only to be disappointed that we can only see the palace from a distance.
We made our way to the nearest Otemachi subway station, took the Mita line and got off at the Sengoku station. We found a local restaurant along the way where we had our late lunch. A few minutes more of walking, we finally found ourselves in Rikugien garden. Admission fee is 300 JPY and inside was a large pond surrounded by colorful trees. Yes, more of the trees in its autumn glory.
Shibuya, considered as one of the busiest districts in Japan, is the center for youth fashion and culture, and its streets are the birthplace to many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends. Among it’s famous landmarks is the large intersection in front of the station’s Hachiko Exit. And of course, let’s not forget Hachiko which was built a monument to commemorate his loyalty to his owner.
The Shibuya crossing has become a tourist attraction in itself, and we did experience being among the crowd crossing the road. To describe it in a few words: organized chaos. People come from all directions at once – sometimes over a thousand with every light change – yet still manage to dodge each other with graceful agility.
By the time we were done with the crossing, we decided to go to center-gai to find a place to eat, and we tried to do some window shopping as well. Anyways, we finally found a stall with conveyor belt sushi that my friends were looking for the past few days. And even though I’ve experienced the conveyor sushi belt here in Singapore, it’s still so much better to eat it in an authentic Japanese stall. Yum!
After that satisfying dinner, we still wanted to go for one more stop. XP wanted to see the 12 story Uniqlo store and being fans of Uniqlo ourselves, we quickly made our way to the largest Uniqlo store located in Ginza. We took the Ginza line from Shibuya station and got off at the Ginza station.
We were still not finished by the time the shop announced that it’s closing for the night. Yup, we were the last customers in there. After paying for our items, we were finally ready to go home. My sister and XP went straight to the hotel while me and Babe stopped at the Tokyo station to get her baggage from the lockers before we finally went home.
Another tiring yet fun day. We were all excited for the next day’s activities, Disney Sea! So ’til then!
*Photos were taken using iPhone 6s, Nikon d3000 and Xiaomi Yi action camera.