Day 3 – Part 2
And what an adventure it turned out to be in the end! Well, I guess it all started at Shimbashi train station as I attempted to purchase a day pass for the train network. Without elaborating too much, the rail network in Tokyo is rather complex and what’s more, it seems you are unable to get an all day pass that allows you on all the various lines. To be fair, all I wanted to do was travel the JR line.
Following a fabulous night of sleep, I made tracks for Shibuya to explore HMV and Tower Records. It should also be noted that I found a store called Disc Union which was spread out over multiple levels and better still, they sold bootleg vinyl also at a reasonable price. Around 4,500 Japanese Yen which is far better than eBay prices you have to fork out for these days. In fact, the music stores deserve a blog entry in their own right. Watch this space.
Then there was all the funky furniture stores and retro places to explore. The J Pop culture is also rampant with lots of girly looking chaps and teenage girls who seem to all sing the same cheesy pop music that sells by the bucket load. It’s everywhere and there is no escaping it.
Having a taste for history and culture, I went on some long, random but enjoyable walks around areas which, at times had me scratching my head as to where I actually was. On the plus side, I found a game of five a side football to watch. The players had better kits than some of the professional European sides! I guess that is the fun part if I am being honest. Thankfully, Tokyo is one of the more safe cities to wander and get lost in. There is little to no graffiti and the streets are exceptionally clean and tidy.
The Meiji Shrine, located just by Harajuku is a beautiful place to explore however, the crowds were intense so within a half hour, I just had to escape. What I failed to realise at the time was that the crowds in Harijuku were more hectic than I could have possibly imagined. There are plentiful amounts of shrines and temples to immerse oneself in throughout Tokyo so if you ever find yourself in this grand old city, go out of your way to visit a few. You shan’t be disappointed.
Harajuku seems to be where all the hip punters and western tourists flock to on the weekend. Every corner of this district was heaving with people of all sorts. I wasn’t a fan to be honest. The crowds got to me but I did enjoy taking in some of the modern architecture on display. For those who enjoy shopping for clothes then Harajuku is your stop. One big aspect of Japanese culture is their sense of fashion. They are just the coolest fuckers going.
Following a quick pit stop for a hot chocolate, I walked back down to Shibuya thinking I would have a quick wander then head home for the day. Three hours later I finally left with some smashing Bowie collectables and even managed to stumble of a football store spread over no less than five levels. I also learned of many other record stores that stock rare and hard to find Japanese vinyl so my next visit will need to include a fatter wallet. A much fatter wallet!
So let’s get one thing straight. Tokyo is a city for everyone because there is something for everyone from all walks of life to embrace. Be it music, fashion, culture or history, you will not run out of things to do. And don’t even start me on the fabulous food on offer. I’ve piled on a couple of kilograms for sure and certain after eating like a hearty pig with so much local cuisine on offer.
Day four is just around the corner so let’s see what that has up the sleeve for me?