photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Karthik Raja | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Japan - Land of the Rising Sun - 2013 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Japan - Land of the Rising Sun - 2013

Journey dates: 17th October – 27th October, 2013
Travelers: Shwetha Shrivatsa, Karthik Raja and Anika Raja

Day 1: Tokyo Shock We woke up to the sunrise at the Hilton Tokyo Hotel in Shinjuku, a ward that houses most of the prominent hotels and office complexes in Tokyo. Nishi-Shinjuku is home to the largest concentration of skyscrapers in Tokyo including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, KDDI Building and Park Tower and the Hilton is right amidst these. The hotel is also situated right above the Nishi-Shinjuku subway station and that made our travel around Tokyo effortless. The first shock was the cost of breakfast. Tokyo is the most breakfast as an option with your room booking. It will work out cheaper.

Our first stop for the day was the Tokyo Imperial Palace or Kokyo in Japanese. To reach there, we had to experience the second shock. Shinjuku Station. One stop from our hotel this station serves as a hub for many of the subway lines and also the train lines connecting West Tokyo to the suburbs and Tokyo. The number of people walking through the station shocked us and with good reason. Shinjuku Station is the world's busiest railway station. Over 3.5 million people go through its passageways every single day. With the shock, came the amazement that not once did we feel the rush impact us physically. No one shoved, no one ran in and out of trains and everything seemed to just magically function perfectly. Trains came exactly on time, people stood in lines before the trains arrived in the exact spot of the doors, and there was a calmness about it that didn't make sense. One of the key requirements in traveling in Japan is learning to use public transport. A good idea is to buy a JR Pass before you arrive in Japan, it can't be bought in Japan, and it can be used on all local trains but not the subways. Another idea is to buy a SUICA pass at the airport or any of the stations, a rechargeable card that can also be used on all local trains and subways. The leftover amount can be refunded at the airport. Another alternative is to buy daily passes instead of paying for each trip. We continued on the Marunochi line to the palace, which is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and is built on the site of the old Edo castle. The total area including the gardens is 3.41 square kilometres (1.32 sq mi). During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some as more than the value of all the real estate in the state of California. The East gardens are open to the public and we spent a few hours exploring the grounds and imagining how it might have looked like during the height of the Meiji period.

Having walked in to an appetite, we headed to the Ginza district an upscale area of Tokyo with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. Ginza is recognized as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world and is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. We went in search of Kondo a Michelin two-star tempura heaven. Unfortunately they were completely booked for the entire duration of our trip but Japanese shock again, the hostess walked us down the street to Ten-Ichi. Since 1930 Ten-Ichi has rightfully earned its reputation as Tokyo’s go-to spot for tempura. The dignified dining area at the flagship Ginza restaurant has hosted royalty and corporate titans and now us. If you've had tempura before, anywhere else in the world, erase those memories. That is not tempura. As we sat in front of the chef with the boiling oil in front of us, as the geisha came and tied the bib around us,
Tokyo, Japan
[ Tokyo, Japan ]
Kyoto, Japan
[ Kyoto, Japan ]
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
[ Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park ]
Yokohama, Japan
[ Yokohama, Japan ]
Narita, Japan
[ Narita, Japan ]