Today was my last day in Tokyo until I return in mid-November, so I visited a couple areas I had not ventured to yet. I first went to Tokyo Station, located in the center of the metropolitan area. Even though it’s not the busiest station in Japan (that honor goes to Shinjuku Station, also in Tokyo), it is one of the largest and most complex. It is essentially an underground city, with malls, banks, and restaurants, and it took me about 15 minutes of walking to reach one of the many exits to the streets.
Once outside, I headed to the Imperial Palace and Gardens. The Imperial Family of Japan lives within the grounds, so naturally there are many tourists. Of course, you can’t actually see the Imperial Residence since it is closed to visitors. The Emperor only appears twice a year, on his birthday and after New Years, so the garden is more to go and enjoy thr scenery. It is a magnificent park though, and the iconic bridge that leads to the Imperial Residence is also great.
I then went to nearby Ochanomizu, a relatively small district that boasts a street lined with musical instrument shops, particularly guitars. I must have gone into 5 or 6 guitar shops all next to each other. It was great to see the models on display and for sale. It was also fun to see other people actually there to buy guitars. One young Japanese kid yelled ‘Uso!’, or ‘No way!’, when he saw the price of one Gibson electric model. I don’t blame him – it was listed at 800,000 yen, or $8,000.
Anyway, I’m off tomorrow to begin the city-hopping portion of my trip. My 14-day Japan Rail Pass activates tomorrow, so I am trying to make the most of it by visiting 8 cities within the period. First up is Matsumoto, a castle town located west of Tokyo. I am most likely going to take the shinkansen (bullet train) there, so I’m pretty excited since I haven’t been on one yet!
I’ll post again soon. Thanks!
Some more pics: