Japan Memories #7: Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku

Travel Date : 26th March (Mon)

{ Previous: #6 – Memorial Shrine and First Sakura }

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1. Shibuya Shopping

Cat:

After visiting Yasukuni Shrine, we headed to Shibuya, another place on my wish list.

I had long heard of Shibuya being a fashionable place and indeed when we stepped out of the Shibuya Station, there was a crowd of people fashionably dressed and waiting around at the famous dog statue, the Hachikō statue, which has become a meeting point.

Hachikō was honored because of its faithfulness to its master a professor. Even though his master died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage and never returned to the station to meet him after work, Hachikō continued to return to the same point at the Shibuya station for nine years waiting for his return.

Checking out small shops along the way, we saw many interesting stuffs. The streets were narrow and going up and down hill. My feet ache and felt tired after a while of walking. Somehow I felt a little out of place with my attire since most women and even teenagers are wearing high heels and skirts. They would dress more feminine while I was in my sports shoes.

While walking around, we spotted ‘Tokyu Hands’. It is a creative life store with many beautiful and creative things. There were eight storeys and we just had to visit each floor to avoid missing out stuff. The schedule for Shibuya exceeded and we decided to postpone Kiddy Land to night time while we spent time here. We ended up spending quite a bit as the stuff was too cute to resist!

Vin: We bought a cute little ‘charm’ to bring back as souvenir.

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While walking around, we checked out the frequently talked-about vending machines. We could see lots of them placed on side-walks and trash bins are placed just beside the machines. In Japan, one is supposed to finish drinking or eating their food before walking. Walking and eating is frowned upon. This is a good habit to not dirty the walking paths. The walkways were so clean because no one litters.

What is sold?

Mainly all kinds of coffee, tea, juice, soft-drinks and mineral water.

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2. Shinjuku For A View

Cat:

We were getting late and quickly headed to Shinjuku Station. There, we were supposed to get the Hakone Free Pass for tomorrow. After getting the pass, we took some time finding the route to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. It was nearly 5.30pm and it was supposed to be closing then. The streets of Shinjuku were filled with a lot of office buildings. We navigated through the orderly paths, running and sweating, only to discover that it closed only at 11 plus pm…what the?! I had to rest properly and take in deep breaths before I could look at the landscape down below. My feet felt broken.

The cityscape was beautiful and we waited until the sunset to look at the night landscape. Maybe I shouldn’t have, because it took a long time and I found not much time left for shopping at Harajuku! Another rush again for time!

Shops close early here in Tokyo and all activities seemed to cease around 8 plus pm, too early for us…sob.

Vin:

We were really, really very fortunate as the TMG observation tower only opens til late every last Monday of the month and it happened to be today! We felt privileged to be able to enjoy the night view of Tokyo!

Both of us were totally exhausted after the rush from the railway station, so our moods were not exactly good. However, we soon collected our emotions and began to enjoy the scenery, snapping photographs using both our digital camera and mobile phones. The night soon feel and we started to admire the night view of Tokyo, though personally, I didn’t find it much enticing. Nevertheless, it was a good experience.

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This was how big Yoyogi Park was! (Meiji Shrine which we visited on the first day)

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3. Harajuku Shopping – Cute Stuff!

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Cat:

Shopping time at Kiddy Land! I love the cute stuff there and they were more interesting than the toy park too. We spent a several hours exploring the different storeys (huge building) and it was draining after that.

We were so hungry and tried to find a good place to eat.

One thing I learnt: Never go shopping before eating! I couldn’t walk properly to find food with my legs aching and stomach growling. I wasn’t in the mood to look at other shops with my mind focused on food.

When we finished eating our dinner though, the shops were all closed. Sigh…

P.S. Dinner – I can’t remember what we ate. We didn’t write it down.

Some stuff we bought

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Our Planned Itinerary:

(Afternoon to Night)

  • Purchase Hakone Free Pass (5500 Yen/ Pax ) at Shinjuku Station.

(at Odakyu sight-seeing service center – ground floor near west exit of Odakyu Shinjuku Station, 8am to 6pm)

  • Sight-seeing at Shinjuku
  • Visit Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office for Tokyo View – Tokyo Observation Tower at 45th floor, building free 
  • Walk along Takeshita Dori, Sightseeing along Omotesando Dori at Harajuku (Kiddy Land)

(This entry is from our Travel Scrapbook of Japan in 2007)

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