Epic Tokyo

Yes we really were in Japan! We had tried it for years but something always got in the way. This time however we sat down early enough to do the planning and got all paperwork done and tickets bought before we could decide somehow against the trip. So during the one week in Xi’an we were already incredible excited about the holidays in Japan. Especially Nathan was talking for months about it as we had promised him to visit Thomas Land, thanks again for the idea @Eleventh Monkey! 

On the way to the Skytree

On the second of May we flew from Xi’an straight to Tokyo where we had a personal driver to pick us up. Besides us we had once again MIL with us and my father so we needed a big big car for all of us. Thankfully my wife’s cousin living in Tokyo has a friend who knows someone who is owning such a big car and does it for a living. Anyhow we arrived in the evening at our Airbnb house and went straight out to find some food. We were woefully unprepared about Japanese restaurants and were searching for a couple of hours. Not that we didn’t find any restaurants but they all were full with insane waiting lines outside. Just when we were about to give up and just buy food from a convenience store we found a wonderful Miso Ramen restaurant where a group had just left. I never had contact with real Ramen and I must say it was really great to sit in that tiny restaurant with the chef preparing the food in front of you. My father fell in love with Japanese food that day.

Nathan could’t stop with the water…

Next day we headed out for some sightseeing together with my wife’s cousin and some of her friends. Our house was located in Shinjuku just 15min by walk away from the huge train and bus station which marks also the center of that area. Especially by night Shinjuku is an interesting place to visit. Got to love how subtle the Yakuza is operating there when seeing a row of black Mercedes G-Wagon with guys in black suits and shades standing in front of them. Anyhow the first few days we went all around Tokyo together with the cousin who has been living there for almost ten years now. The only disappointment for me was the Tokyo Skytree as we really wanted to go to the top but the waiting line was over two hours. However we visited the Sumida Aquarium instead which was anyhow one of my must-see places ever since it opened.  (especially thanks to the work of the late Amano Takashi there!)

Sumida Aquarium is a must see!

The entire trip was great for us in Tokyo and we were happy about the Airbnb house as it was in a wonderful location and big enough for us (45sqm is tiny but enough for a few days). Akihabara was another highlight as the whole area is just crazy. There we had also our first Wagyu steaks, sure they were on the cheap side with just 40 Euros but still the best steak I ever had by far! I can’t really put our experience in Tokyo into words as we had just so much fun there and it was such a wonderful time. We hope to be back there someday soon to enjoy it again. Perhaps next time we go not during the Golden Week as it was just so packed with people everywhere.

Have you been to Tokyo?

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33 thoughts on “Epic Tokyo”

  1. I enjoyed reading your Tokyo visit. I visited there with a whole group of Secretaries many years back on a convention and we were there for a week. Loved the place but found it hard to get around as back then, all road signs were in Japanese. I have not got a chance to revisit since but would love to visit again one day. BTW I remembered I fell in love with their ramen but got really thirsty the whole day after eating it. Must be the MSG they put in the ramen. 😦

    1. Msg is too much used in Asia. To be honest I don’t even know how to spot it!
      We had tried for years to go to Japan but some stupid thing came always in between such as the embassy in Finland telling us wrong information

  2. It’s great that you finally got to go hehe! I haven’t been to Tokyo, if our son is also a Thomas fan we’ll have to arrange a trip haha. Actually I’ve never seen those Thomas cartoons, not sure if they are popular in China. Here Peppa Pig seems to be super popular.

    1. I’ve seen tons of Thomas merchandise in China, granted nearly all was fake but still.
      Haven’t watched myself Thomas till Nathan somehow got into it so we even have Thomas wooden train at home now

  3. At last, your trip to Tokyo. Sounds like it all went well and quite a bit of sight seeing done. Interesting to hear you decided on Airbnb for accommodation. With MIL with you I would expect she would not be the most sane Airbnb guest and would not be surprised if the place turned upside down because of her, and all of your other Japan plans too. I would like to visit Japan, and would like to visit it in the summer but so many have told me that might be too hot lol.

    1. Hotels would have been just too expensive as we would have needed 3 rooms! (MIL needs her own room due to incredible loud snoring…)
      I guess April may (except golden week) and then September are ideal for visiting Japan in order to escape the summer hear 🙂

      1. I still haven’t tried Airbnb…I think the whole social aspect of it – that you are essentially sharing someone’s place although they might not be staying there – puts me off. But the more I look at Airbnb, the more I see how affordable it is.

        Haha, I actually prefer visiting places when it is hot. The hotter, the better 😛

      2. We always had the entire house for ourselves/ the owner only has the house in order to rent it out. The entire furniture and equipment where always from Ikea or similar and everything around was more like a hotel 🙂

    1. We also only had 3 1/2 days there:p
      For a real enjoyable trip a week would have been nice there minus MIL minus my dad and minus the kids…it is just so incredible hard to travel with kids and other people!

      1. The luggage is the easy part 😂
        Even to find a place to eat with so many people is so damn hard and with people like MIL always wanting to do and eat differently than everyone else it is just hell

      1. When I lived and worked in Japan, I ate out twice everyday. It was easier, cheaper and healthier than when I would have cooked myself. Seems like most salarymen and women do eat out at least once, and twice if they have no one to prepare a bento for them. Very common.

  4. So cool. Never been to Japan besides Okinawa, even after living here in Taiwan all these years. Not sure if you know this, but Taiwanese people are total Japan-ophiles. Okinawa is beautiful, the sea is blue, and much like I imagine the rest of Japan to be, it’s organized and clean. Hope to get up to Tokyo one of these days and check it out. Thanks for sharing your travel experience.

    1. Japan was a long dream for us so we were really happy to finally manage it there.
      Taiwan had some history with Japan and also adapted many things even after the war(s).
      Okinawa would be great for us to visit but in case we do so in the next days it will be defibtely without my mother-in-law!

  5. Well, wouldn’t you know it: my partner will landing in Tokyo in a few hrs. I will be joining him soon. (I have a full time job.)

    Yes, hope to blog abit …after the trip. I hope like you, avoid earthquakes.

  6. For the next time you go to Japan, remember that the worst times to visit Japan are for sure Golden Week, Obon, and Oshogatsu. These three weeks of the year, everyone has off from work and crowded Japan is even more crowded, insanely so. Best weeks to hide at home!

    1. Yeah, we didn’t think about public holidays at all when booking the tickets. We were just surprised how cheap the flight tickets were until we heard about the Golden week 😅

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