Well folks, it is late- or maybe early? After a busy first day in Tokyo I got back here to the hotel around a quarter to one, and after an hour of pouring through today's photos it's now nearly 2am. Which also means I've been awake for approximately 24 hours. So if it's alright with you I'm gonna keep the text to a minimum and try and let the photos do the talking!
After my travel companion Alexander made it in from Hong Kong, we headed downstairs around 10am to get a bite to eat at the bakery/deli on the first floor of the building:
We decided to head to Shibuya, home of a lot of major shops and department stores. While we could have taken the train, we decided to walk so as to better take in the city. It struck me for the first of many times today that Tokyo has a fantastic mix of urban sprawl and natural greenery:
And immediately after taking that photo I was nearly struck, literally, by a passing bike. Bicycles are very common and can ride on the sidewalk or the street, so you definitely have to keep an eye out. In fact later on down the sidewalk there was a chicane to try and slow down bikes passing through:
As we got closer to the heart of Shibuya the urban landscape became more dense and more colorful:
Our first stop in Shibuya was, of course, the Disney Store, the largest in Tokyo.
While it may be the largest, it isn't actually very large. What it is instead is tall: three stories. This was a common theme in shops, restaurants, pretty much everything; small spaces that go up high. The three floors each had a Disney theme: Alice in Wonderland, Princesses/Pinocchio, and Toy Story, all connected by a tight spiral staircase.
While some of the merchandise was somewhat different than what you'd find in the US, there wasn't much particularly crazy or interesting. Standouts were this line of adorable Zootopia plush (astoundingly complete too- Flash the sloth is included in the set but was so popular they'd sold out of him) and of course the :sum Tsums:
Having seen all there was to see at the Disney Store, we pressed on into Shibuya:
Not far from Disney we found, of all things, an honest-to-God Tower Records!
...which featured a whopping 9 floors:
We headed towards the famous Shibuya Crossing, a massive Times Square-style intersection:
We decided to make our way over to Takeshita Street, a major urban shopping district:
More nature and bikes along the way:
Takeshita Street is, it must be said, intense:
Thing I totally regret not trying: this cool escape-room type game thing where you have to navigate through a field of laser beams:
Takeshita is also a great place to experience Kawaii, aka Japanese Cute Culture.
Above the store in the above picture was, in fact, another Disney Store. This one was genuinely rather small:
Just across the street from Takeshita Street, once again showing that balance between urban sprawl and nature, is the beautiful Meiji Shrine:
I could have gladly spent all day here.
As it happened, due to the Golden Week holidays, there was a festival of events happening:
I was starting to fade at this point and we decided to keep moving instead of sticking around until the performances began.
We headed back towards Shinjuku, where the Park Hyatt is located:
The Park Tower in sight, we headed back up to the hotel to regroup before embarking on evening activities:
That probably seems like a pretty full day, but it was only mid afternoon. Coming up next: Tokyo after dark!