After passing out around 10:45 on Thursday night, I woke up wide awake at 3:30am. Luckily, I was able to fall back asleep around 4:30 until 7am and then had a very busy first full day in Tokyo. I had heard that summers in Japan and Hong Kong are very humid, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how much I would sweat. It is so hot! So just be prepared for me to look progressively more like a hot mess in photos each day. You’ll notice my hair down and straight at the beginning of the day and up and a sweaty mess by the end!
I’m staying in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo so after breakfast Friday morning, my family and I headed out to explore a little bit of the area. Primarily, we wanted to find another hotel in the area that we are supposed to meet a tour group at early Saturday morning for a day/overnight trip to Kyoto. We went to a government building nearby that is supposed to have amazing views of the city from the top. It’s also free! It has a 360 degree view of the city! It was really cool and you can’t beat a free observation floor!
When we left the government building we were right by Shinjuku Central Park so we went in there for a little bit. We didn’t walk around the whole park, but we saw a little waterfall/water feature, a little garden that looked like a community garden and I saw old Japanese men watering their plants – so cute!
At this point, we were getting pretty toasty aka sweaty so we headed back to our hotel for some cold water and to catch the hotel shuttle to the Shinjuku Station – the metro station. We took the subway to Harajuku – famous for its colorful and trendy shops. The subway was pretty easy to use and so clean! And really nicely air conditioned which has been key so far this trip!
Through Yelp we found a little ramen place for lunch that was off the main street. It was delicious and I’m saving that photo for my food post for Japan!
From the window of the ramen place we could see the entrance to Meiji Shrine, which is another place we wanted to check out. The path is peaceful, and lined with tall beautiful trees. I tried to capture it in photos how they canopied over the pathways but I don’t think my photos did it justice. There are workers who literally spend all day sweeping the paths of all the leaves! The paths lead to the shrine and the pictures you can take up there are limited, but it was very pretty.
At this point, we were pretty much dying from the heat and humidity and decided it was time (after some popsicles) to head back to the train station and to the hotel for some rest from the heat. We hung out in the hotel for a little bit before heading out to Starbucks next door and wandering to a few shops and little markets/grocery stores to browse.
Then, we decided to get dinner at another one of the restaurants at the hotel because we were tired and heard that Friday nights are super busy in Tokyo so it would be hard to get a table elsewhere. Plus we had an early morning on Saturday to head to Kyoto for the day/night. Kyoto part 1 will be up tomorrow!