Living in a small, peaceful city called Beppu for almost a year, my friend Dea and I decided to have an escape to somewhere crowded and challenging: Tokyo!
We’ve discussed about this trip even since the beginning of last semester. At first we tried to search for cheap airline tickets, but since August is the month of summer vacation, which also has a spiritual festival called Obon, we could hardly find them.
God answered our prayers through the newly established AirAsia Japan. We only spent 14,000 yen for the round-trip ticket. We went there on Thursday, 8/9 and be back on Tuesday, 8/21.
So this is how we spent our days there…
Day 1: Narita Airport —> Shinjuku
After arriving at the airport, at about 11 am, we took Narita Express to Shinjuku station. We also bought Suica card, the rechargeable card for any kinds of transportation within Tokyo area.
Shinjuku station is said to be the busiest station in Tokyo. No wonder it was very crowded when we arrived. We strolled around Shinjuku for around 6 hours without any specific place to visit. It took another hour for us only to find the way back to the station. Despite being very big, it was really hard to find because of the crowded surroundings.
We proceeded to my high school friend’s house near Okubo station, put our bags there, eat dinner in a pasta resaurant, and went back to Shinjuku.
We spent the night at an internet cafe, which is way better than I thought it would be. It has a shower room, all-you-can-drink vending machines, and small “rooms” occupied with flat seat which is similar to a bed.
Day 2: Odaiba
On the second day, we went to Odaiba, the big artificial island. Starting with some photos in front of the liberty statue miniature, we walked around some interesting places.
The first one was Fuji TV studio. It was very crowded of people that we could not enjoy all the small games related to Fuji TV programs which were provided as part of their summer event. We also went to the 25th floor, the highest floor of the building. The view was good but it was nothing special.
Our next stop is Miraikan or the science museum. Everything there was, of course, sophisticated. There was an exhibition where we can try hi-tech items with Doraemon and some other manga characters.
After passing by Venus Fort and took photo inside its well-known European-style atrium, we went to Diver City for dinner. Before leaving the island we took some photos in front of a huge Gundam statue which projects colorful lights at night.
Our second night was spent in a ryokan (Japanese traditional guesthouse) in Ikebukuro. In spite of its hard-to-find location, the place is quite comfortable.
Day 3 - Ikebukuro, Harajuku
There was nothing spectacular in Ikebukuro. Since we didn’t want to spend money for the famous aquarium, we only went to Toyota Amlux. It looks like an ordinary showroom, but it has some simulation games and a mini-theater.
It might not be a good choice to visit Harajuku on a Saturday afternoon, yet we were quite satisfied. We walked through Takeshita-dori, which has an AKB48 shop and so many fashion stores. I was lucky to be able to (secretly) take photo in front of Johnny’s store, which ticket was already sold out at that time.
We walked a little further to Meiji Jingu shrine, where we saw a Japanese traditional wedding ceremony. It is interesting for me how there were more strangers than the bride’s family members who visited the wedding ceremony.
After dinner, me moved to a budget hotel near Ebisu station.
Day 4 - Shibuya
Our day in Shibuya started with a photo in front of the famous Hachiko statue. We did sightseeing while walking to NHK Studio. It has a small museum where we can play games and take photos with NHK TV programs’ characters. We met many school kids who went there for their summer holiday.
Going back to Shibuya station, we stopped by at Seibu department store which established a mini A-nation museum. A-nation as a big music event there, and the museum collects the costumes of the performing artists. Too bad we were not allowed to take photos of the costumes.
From Shibuya station we took the subway to a rather misterious place which was later known as Kawasaki city. Dea, who is a huge fan of Nodame Cantabile, aimed to visit the school where Nodame, the main character, used to study at.
Our last stop before coming back to Ebisu was Meguro, where the Indonesian Embassy is located. We didn’t go to the embassy, though. We went to the Indonesian School of Tokyo, and help my friend’s friends preparing for a quiz for the students. We also had ifthar together with Indonesian moslem community.