FROM THE COLOURFUL STREETS OF TOKYO TO THE POWDER SNOW COVERED MOUNTAINS OF NOZAWA ONSEN, JOIN US FOR THIS TWO PART TRAVEL SERIES AS WE EMBARK ON AN EPIC #URBANADVENTURE IN JAPAN.
Taken by pops of colour, neon lights, fast trains and vibrant energy, our #JOURNEYJAPAN begins on the streets of Tokyo. Here, the busiest pedestrian crossing in Japan sets the scene for our Tokyo urban adventure.
This is Shibuya, a popular destination in Tokyo where the streets are filled with young adventure seekers, neon and video billboards. As quickly as the lights change at Shibuya Crossing, hundreds of commuters make their way across what is now nicknamed "the Times Square of Tokyo”. Nearby the crossing is the famous Hachiko statue. Surrounding this, a shopping mecca awaits.
From the busiest crossing to the hottest little backstreets, meandering through the connected streets of Shibuya is an adventure, where the vibe is always upbeat and happening. Here sushi shops deliver carefully crafted nori rolls to your table with robots. Students and office workers meet for lunch-time shopping adventures and grab quick bites to eat at stand-up only cafes. With over a dozen department stores to check-out there’s always something new to see and explore around every corner.
As night falls, the lights of Tokyo grow brighter and the streets fill with bursts of neon lights and video reflections. Restaurants with standing room only serve wondrous varieties of delicious Yakitori to those looking for a quick bite. Those in the know duck into side streets, following the luring aroma of freshly made Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancakes). This is an urban adventure on a big scale - with action and new #hotspots to discover around every corner.
Next to Shibuya we find Tokyo's best-known nightlife district Roppongi. With so many popular #hotspots for young Japanese and foreigners, Roppongi is the place to go for an awesome night out on the town with friends. As well as bars and nightclubs, top restaurants serve delicious international cuisine, and super cool sake bars, tucked away in alleyways, make it the place to be seen.
Travelling the Tokyo metro is the way to get around central Tokyo. For urban adventure seekers the main commuter train loop is the Yamanote Line which links Tokyo’s #hotspots and passes through stations Shibuya, Akihabara, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shinagawa and Tokyo.
Harajuku is the urban mecca of Tokyo’s younger generation and home to the Meiji Jingu Shrine built in 1920. Here the streets are filled with teenagers and a cosmopolitan of people looking for fashion and fun. As always Harujuku delivers, with narrow pedestrian lanes filled with edgy boutiques and food #hotspots, including streets lined with delicious pastries and crepes. The grand and majestic gardens of the Meiji Shrine are like an urban oasis here, situated right next to Harujuku station and all the must-see action.
Ginza is the place to go on Sundays when some of the roads including Chuo-Dori are closed and open to pedestrians. The vibe is festive in this upmarket area, and window shopping a common sport. Here the streets are lined with boutiques, exclusive hotels, art galleries and Japan’s biggest department stores. One of these unique #hotspots includes Hakuhinkan Toy Park with 4 levels of fun Japanese toys.
For gadget lovers there’s no going past Akihabara, with streets of 10-story buildings filled with all kinds of amazing electronics and must-have gadgets. For the urban adventurer, days can be spent exploring Akihabara. From the minute you step off the train, a mecca of tech surrounds you. Sundays often see the streets filled with vendors setting up popup anime stores on the sidewalk. There’s no surprise that it’s become a must-see area of Tokyo.
Of course, an adventure in Japan is never complete without stopping at one of Tokyo’s many vending machines. What’s on offer? Everything from soda and water to gadgets, games, hot food and even tourist souvenirs.
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