And we are back for another entry of the Solo Traveler's Journal. Continuing from Part 1 where I almost die on Mt Fuji, today, it will be a little less deadly. We will go "people-watching" in the capital city of Japan, Tokyo. From quirky culture, hyper fashion, crazy arcade center to a peaceful walk in the park, let's explore the place where the cool Japanese kids hang out.
Day 4: People Watching at Harajuku
Since the hostel I stayed (Khaosan World Hostel) is right in the middle of the Asakusa area, I decided to visit the Sensoji shrine (Asakusa Kannon Temple) first.
Boy, was it a mistake. There were so many people I couldn't even get one decent shot of the iconic lamp (Kaminarimon). Since the area is open 24 hours and my hostel was near, I decided to go to Harajuku first and then came back later at night.
As I arrived in Harajuku, I saw a large group of people surrounding this one restaurant. Turned out this bad boy just arrived at the Sushi restaurant.
The first thing I did was I walked into the Takeshita Street, a shopping street where the cool Harajuku kids love to hang out. Since it was also Saturday, it was extra busy.
This is the Takeshita street in Harajuku on a Saturday!
Cool kids only!
I saw this girl trying to sell me a Hello Kitty shirt. I found her quite interesting so I snapped a photo of her. Nothing screams Japan more than Hello Kitty.
Apparently, there was a Girl's Generation concert in Harajuku when I was there. No wonder why people dressed a little extra crazy around the area!
Meiji Park and Shrine
Nearby, there is a very nice park called Meiji Park where most Japanese wedding takes place. The park is a great demonstration of how nature can coexist with modern architecture surrounding it.
Meiji Park is a great place to hide from all the heat and crowdedness of Tokyo.
Who would imagine a full-blown forest like this could be found in a space concerned city like Tokyo.
The Japanese attention to detail is astoundingly impressive. Everything must be perfectly created. They don't even bother creating a half-ass product here.
Inside, there are several shrines scattered throughout the park where people can come and pray.
The cleansing well for prayers to cleansed their hands or drink it before praying.
Ema is a small wooden plaques you find in most temples around Japan. Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes and left them hanging at the shrine.
After a few hours of peaceful solitude, it's time to get back to the city!
As I was walking around Shibuya trying to find my way to see the legendary Shibuya crossing, I stumbled upon a 3 floors arcade center called Taito Arcade Center. It's amazing how lively and popular the arcade center still is in Japan.
I guess this is one of the few ways people living in a very strict society like Tokyo relieved stress from their daily routine.
Games are not just a guy thing here in Japan. Girls do play them too.
And here it is, the Shibuya Crossing! It's amazing how this happens naturally. You don't even have to time your visit, it just continue to happen throughout the evening.
What I learned crossing with the Japanese is that their multi-tasking skills are beyond human. Some people kept texting and crossing this road without even looking up once and they didn't bump into each other. I'm not even mad. That is just impressive!
Before heading back to Asakusa, I decided to drop by the Takeshita Street again to see what will be like at night. It was colorful as expected but a lot less people and a lot cooler now.
Asakusa at Night
And as expected, there were a lot less people at 9 PM trying to take a photo of this iconic lamp (Kaminarimon).
I highly recommend you to visit this place at night to get a peaceful experience and more chance at getting a beautiful picture of yourself and the temple.
That giant statue is super bad ass!
Here is the Sensoji shrine itself. Took me a couple of minutes camping in the middle of the shrine to get this picture without people.
I'm not sure what this means but I think it has to do with thieves or something. Nevertheless, it was a pretty cool sign.
And it was time I headed back to the hostel, get some sleep and prepared for the next trip to Nikko which we will be covering in the next part of the Solo traveler's journal #10. Stay tuned!
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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