Exploring Tokyo

I was quite sad to leave Tokyo Book And Bed after such a great stay there, but for the rest of my stay in Tokyo a rather cool apartment in Roppongi awaited.  The apartment had been a great find, and it turned out to be as good as the listing had made it out to be.

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A spacious duplex on the top floor of a quite fancy apartment block, the first level had a massive lounge, complete with large TV, N64 and balcony, as well as a kitchen, and a large bath and shower room.  Upstairs had a massive bedroom, with bed and futons, walk in cupboard, tatami seating area, and second balcony, with great views out toward the NTT DoCoMo tower building in Shibuya.

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After dropping bags off for the final time this trip, it was a case of venturing out toward Roppongi Hills, a really modern and quite upmarket shopping area, also home to the Mori Tower, one of the many high skyscraper observation decks in Tokyo.  The courtyard outside also gave my first view of Tokyo Tower amongst the city’s skyline.

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After a bit of time exploring Roppongi & Roppongi Hills it was on the metro and toward Nakameguro, a random station that we’d passed by earlier in the day on the metro and seen lots of sakura there from the window, so had deemed it worth a look.

Nakameguro

Arriving in Nakameguro it was clear that something was going on, as the small station was absolutely packed with people.  Heading out it didn’t take long to see why, as a minutes walk from the station were rows of sakura trees running along both sides of a small river, with lanterns hung along the way and food & drink stalls scattered along the paths.

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The whole place was buzzing with people and a festive atmosphere, crowds of people were just walking along, drinking, eating and taking pictures of the sakura.  It was now after full bloom and the sakura had started to fall, which resulted in loads of falling pink petals snowing down upon everyone, onto the floor and into the river.

Being that so many people were walking around with glasses of wine, or sparkling sake with strawberries in, it didn’t take much persuading for me to join in and buy one from one of the many stalls selling them.  Walking around in the middle of a sunny afternoon in Tokyo, while viewing the sakura and drinking sake with a strawberry in really is just the best!  It was also a great spot for grabbing a quick street food lunch.

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Shibuya

After the rather amazing place of Nakameguro, it was time to head along to Shibuya!  The famous Shibuya Crossing is immediately outside the station, it was mid afternoon by the time I was there, which meant it wasn’t really as busy as I’d seen in various media over the years.  I’d actually assumed crossing it I’d just get swept along in a sea of people, then have to charge through the oncoming hordes from the other side, but as it turns out it was quite anti-climatic and just like crossing a normal busy crossing.  It’s also actually a lot smaller than I imagined it to be, I don’t know why but I always assumed it was a lot bigger.  (Though over the next few days I did pass by this area a couple of times and it did look busier each time, at rush hour I can imagine it being insane).

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The main streets near the crossing range are filled with talk buildings, mostly of large department stores, mixed floor buildings, and various fashion labels, each building with and large advertising screens attached to the front of them.

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In the centre of the district is a mostly pedestrian area, with wide shopping lanes, packed with people and full of all kinds of shops, restaurants and arcades, the colourful array of signs sticking out really adding that Tokyo feel to the place.

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As the evening drew in it was back to the flat, to refresh and get see what I’d be doing that evening.  I had been waiting on a friend to see if he was around to meet up, but with him not being able to I decided I might as well head out and explore Tokyo Tower as it was just a short walk away.

Tokyo Tower

From the window of the flat I could see a trail of sakura leading along a road that was vaguely in the direction of Tokyo Tower, so I decided to just go down there and see what happened.   The road wound it’s way uphill and through an office district, full of sakura on both sides of the street along the way, all lit up making a massive illuminated pink tunnel over the road, a really spectacular sight.

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Surprisingly although Tokyo Tower was so nearby, and would have been a giant glowing reddish orange structure against the night sky, the tall skyscrapers of Roppongi around me, meant I couldn’t actually see it to know if I was head the right way.  I’d somehow found myself wandering through a labyrinth of office blocks in the darkness, as the district had pretty much shut down for the night there was fairly minimal lighting.  Eventually after cutting through some courtyards and places I’m not sure I should have been allowed it, I caught a glimpse of Tokyo Tower through a gap in the buildings.

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Mentally adding it to the mini map and compass in my head, I reset my bearings and headed through the rest of the skyscraper maze eventually emerging on one of the main streets near the tower.  The approach up to the tower was an amazing sight, as the iconic red and orange lit shape stood out against the night sky, complete with a full moon alongside it!

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Outside the tower there were rows of koi carp streamers hanging down, I’m not sure what the occasion was, but they were quite a cool sight.

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Looking up at the tower revealed the remarkable lattice work of beams constructing the tower.

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Entry to the tower was limited to the lower observation decks as the top deck had been closed for renovations (I think it’s off limits for quite a while as well, so worth checking if you plan to go).  That said the view from the lower decks was still quite impressive, obviously a 360 degree view of the city, with great views of Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge on the horizon, to the busy city streets below.

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The interior of the tower is also a pretty fun place to be, with a café / bar doing food, drinks and alcohol, with live music playing nearby.  Lots of the interior was also lit up with light shows projected onto the floor, and rows of purple lights across the celling.  The whole place had a real party vibe to it.

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Heading down from the tower I had a quick look in the One Piece theme shop and café below, but not really being a fan of One Piece and not really knowing anything about it, it was just a quick glance around.

Heading back I went through Roppongi’s main nightlife area in search of a late dinner, it’s a very action packed place, but some of the bars and places are on the more shady side of things.  I though was just happy to find a Mos Burger, before heading back.

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