A friend from the Taipei Beer Lovers meetup came to visit Tokyo — my little apartment has a futon, so I could offer a little space to save money on travel (even with the expensive train ride from the suburbs to the city, it’s a large chunk of change to save on a hostel). We didn’t have much in the way of plans for the weekend — I came up with some sightseeing options depending on the weather, but we mostly planned for wandering the city for food and drinks, of which we had plenty in Shimokitazawa.
In lieu of hiking with the crowds of Japan, we decided to head to Asakusa and Sensoji Temple — the same temple I visited in a downpour on my first day in Tokyo last year. This time around the weather was beautiful — the crowd was another story. It’s a long metro ride, with two train line changes, from my apartment (this is why I usually bring my Kindle on the trains).
As beautiful as Tokyo’s oldest temple is, we decided to escape the crowd and walk around the area, which isn’t all that interesting. Actually, there are some nice streets and interesting shops, but those are on the so-crowded-you-can’t-walk-faster-than-a-tortoise streets. The combination of tourists and locals makes Asakusa almost unbearable in pleasant weather.
We stopped for a bit at a vendor to try the sake and wasabi ice cream. Not sure which flavor I enjoyed more as they were both delicious.
To escape the crowd, we took the riverside walk along the Sumida River toward Akihabara to see a bit of the weird side of Tokyo. Akihabara isn’t all that weird, really, but it does have a bit more of what tourists expect to see in respect to fashion and products in Tokyo.
Aside from the the first steps down to the river walk, there isn’t much of a view of the city. But it’s also not at all crowded — there were surprisingly few people on the quiet path for a sunny Sunday afternoon.
We did see a few of these James Bond-esque boats along the river — we expected them to submerge, but it never happened. It would make for an interesting cruise along the Sumida River.
We ended the day with a stop in Shinjuku for an evening view of the city from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Once again, I managed to arrive at the building with no line for the elevator and no crowd to block the view of the city.
It was an exhausting day of walking, but well worth the views and the few snacks we found along the way.