Monday, 25 April 2016

Japan Diary | Day Three

Day Three. Also the last full day we were spending in Tokyo. There is seriously so much to explore in Tokyo and we really struggled to choose what we must see within the limited time we had. The Studio Ghibli Museum was a no-brainer though. I remember 'Totoro' and 'Laputa' were childhood favourites and I wasn't about to miss out on the opportunity to check out what the museum had to show. Visitors aren't allowed to take photos inside the museum; but for good reason, because the artwork and animation is absolutely amazing and wasn't something that should be shared outside of the space. I walked out of there knowing that I wouldn't be able to see anything like that anywhere else in the world. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.  

The next stop was Meiji Jingu. This is a shrine that is located right next to the train station and busy city streets; but as you walk further in, you are gradually engulfed by the forest and all the city sounds are muffled by the rustling of leaves instead. This was not only a popular spot for tourists, but a place that is frequently visited by locals to pray and pay their respects. It is a truly beautiful place to walk through and you just can't help but to soak in the peaceful atmosphere that the forest scenery seems to emit.

Our last pitstop for the day was Shibuya. This suburb is well known for two things: the Hachiko statute and the Shibuya crossing. Seeing the Hachiko statute really brought the feels because the movie is probably the only movie to have made me bawl my eyes out so much (but the moment was sightly ruined by the crowd of tourists all wanting to take a photo with it). 

Shibuya crossing is apparently one of the busiest crossings in the world and the Starbucks that overlooks the crossing is also dubbed one of the busiest (because all the tourists go up there to watch people cross the intersection). The crossing is a lot smaller than I thought it was...but it sure was busy. You feel a bit frantic trying to cross it and all the while trying to dodge the surge of people coming from the other side. My mum and I decided to join the crowd in the Starbucks overlooking the crossing and it was quite amusing watching tourists trying to take time lapses and selfies in the middle of the crossing. I guess there's no shame when you're a tourist... 

We also had two of my favourite meals in Shibuya. The first was at Genki Sushi - which was recommended to me by a friend/fellow Japan enthusiast. I think Genki Sushi can be found in other cities around the world too but being in Japan, they had a different way of serving the sushi to you: you order from a touch screen and a few minutes later, the plate of sushi zooms across a conveyor belt at an unsettling speed to stop in front in you. The Japanese seems to have a contraption for everything and it's all quite fascinating. 

The second place was a random hotpot place that I found online. I knew that I didn't want to leave Japan without having 'shabu shabu' so I quickly googled 'top hotpot places in Tokyo' and this particular place popped up. And quite conveniently, it was in Shibuya as well. It was definitely not a bad ending to our stay in Tokyo. 

Next city: Kyoto.

Mitaka + Studio Ghibli Museum 
Meiji Jingu (Shrine)

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