Not quite sure if in Tokyo or newly discovered futuristic planet!?  You can easily mistake the two, I sure did! – Having never set foot outside Europe but with a long held and deep rooted desire to travel to every corner of the world, my boyfriend and I decided to jump continents and derail our usual westward bound summer  trip for what would be an awe-inspiring eastward adventure.

Everything about Tokyo just felt utterly incongruous when compared with my solely westernised view of the world and that is precisely why I loved it so much. Nothing felt familiar, everything felt alien and new. Even going to the toilet was like chartering new territory! Honestly, the toilets have more functions that my Sky+ remote has buttons! How I ever peed without the harmonious lull of a calming rainforest soundtrack I will never know...

Kabukicho, Shinjuku
(Where we stayed)

We stayed in Tokyo’s answer to London’s Soho, Kabukicho and it was just as fabulous. I mean just look at the giant, well-endowed robots just sauntering through the daily rush hour without as much as a bat of an eyelid from the locals. (Granted a lot of funny stuff goes on in London’s Soho too but not without a few rolling eyes or puzzled looks!)

If you're indecisive like me, the sheer amount of choice on offer in Tokyo will BLOW YOUR MIND!

Tokyo Metropolitan Government building has some great views especially by night and is a free alternative to  the Tokyo Skytree tower view wise as it has two panoramic observation decks. Oh and it is cool in the sense it actually houses the Tokyo government, obviously.

The town is home to over three thousand bars, nightclubs, love hotels (literally places where you can rent a room for  a couple of hours for a bit of hanky panky), massage parlours and hostess clubs – and lucky for us, a train station famed for being THE busiest station in the world.  This let me tell you, was not particularly fun in 30+ degrees and 90% humidity. (Word of advice try to avoid Tokyo in the summer, spring is best.)  

Tokyo SkyTree - Sumida

Generally I try to avoid doing overly touristy things but I had to visit the Tokyo Skytree. I mean, how  could I not visit the tallest tower in the world!? Although much to mine and my boyfriend’s bemusement, despite the staggering views of the Tokyo skyline and the sheer splendour of the architecture of the building WE seemed to be the biggest attraction! We were asked multiple times if people could have their photos taken with us… who knows maybe we look like some Japanese celebs I honestly have NO clue…can anyone enlighten us?

A selection of food in the nearby Solamachi shopping complex within the Skytree town - YES, THAT REALLY IS A SQUARE WATERMELON.

Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa

The Senso-ji Buddhist temple is Tokyo's oldest and most significant temple. The temple is surronded by a lively market and both the Shinto and Asakusa shrine are nearby. There are so many temples and shrines in Tokyo and  if you plan to make a visit make sure it is to these three.

Women in beautiful traditional dress (Kimono)

Meiji Jingu (Meiji shrine)

A tranquil, beautiful and welcome escape from city life. By the time my boyfriend and I got round to visiting the Meiji shrine we were utterly exhausted from traipsing from one corner of Tokyo to the next in the ridiculous heat. (I will never complain about a busy London tube again, Tokyo summer + Tokyo Metro = HELL) and so, strolling through 170 acres of what basically acted as big green sun umbrellas was pure BLISS.

As you can see the views weren't too shoddy either. One might forgive you for thinking  that maybe the gardeners had been on the Sake too long what with the circular trees and all although I was convinced it was a bloody mirage or something I was so hot and dehydrated by this point!

Pokemon Centre Minato, Tokyo (Now closed - new mega store opened in Ikebukuro)

Of course no trip to Tokyo is complete without visiting the Pokemon Centre! It's much like the Disney Store but cooler, obviously. The store we visited is close by to Tokyo Bay and by the time we finally emerged from the store it was dark and let me tell you, the bay by night is nothing short of awesome!

We had Chicken Katsu curry for dinner and it cost us a meagre £1.80! I honestly don't understand why people say dining in Tokyo is expensive (although we didn't go to to any fancy restaurants). We ate so inexpensively it was hard to believe. We mainly ate at little restaurants popular with business men and locals, you order from a machine outside which has about 50 options with pictures (great when you don't speak the lingo!) They generally sell a range of soba, udon, ramen and traditional Japanese curry dishes. We didn't pay more than the equivalent of about £6 for a meal when we ate in places like this. Winning!

Tsukiji Fish market

While we didn't catch the infamous fish auction which takes place at about 5am in the morning as we were far, FAR too jet lagged to wake up early enough to get there on time, we did manage to catch a glimpse of the hugest tuna fish ever! - This is the place to go if you want sushi  as fresh as is humanly  possible. But, expect big queues in all the sushi bars littered around the market.

Shinjuku Gyoen (National garden)

We had a fabulous National Park right on out doorstep, but it would seem we decided to brave the mammoth task of getting around all 144 acres of this place on what was surely the hottest and most humid day EVER! If it were Spring it wouldn't only have been a lot more bearable but a lot more beautiful too. This place is apparently cherry blossom galore in the Spring!

More photos from Kabukicho...

LOL. We could not stop laughing.

Imperial Palace Gardens

Best likened to Kensington Palace and the surrounding Gardens, Imperial palace is the main residence of the emperor of Japan. While we did not enter the paalce (not even sure you can) the gardens, bridge and buildings were an interesting site.

Seimon Ishibashi bridge

While in the area visit...

Tokyo central station

Tokyo Central is a famous railway station in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda which is near the Imperial Palace grounds and the Ginza commercial district. It's a good idea to visit all three in one day like we did. All three places are very different and it made for a great, varied day out.

Ginza (luxury district)

Akihabara & Electric city

Lake Kawaguchiko & Mt Fuji

Takeshita Dori & Harajuku



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