This might be one of the most spontaneous day I had in Tokyo. From the way I began my day to the places I got to visit to, I just went with the flow and followed where my instincts led me to go.
“Woke up early”
I was soooo exhausted the previous night that I wasn’t able to do my usual night routine which consisted of arranging my stuff and preparing for the next day’s itinerary. With my things still scattered around the room, I slept soundly under the soft comforter of my bed. I woke up early morning, around 3AM I think. I began arranging my stuff continuing the supposed routine that I should have done the previous night. Aside from preparing my stuff and itinerary for the next day, part of the routine that I have established during this trip was writing my thoughts to be used for the blog. This activity usually took the most time and effort for me (more than the part of arranging my things). As I started typing away, I lost track of time. I finished writing passed 6AM already.
My target region for this day was Akihabara. I had a few specific landmarks I intended to visit, but I allotted one day for this activity. I planned to just roam around the area to see what I could find. When I finally got out of the hotel, it was already lunch time. I was feeling a bit cranky and light-headed (due to lack of sleep) so I wasn’t really paying that much usual attention on my commute to the train. Good thing Akihabara was just one train stop away from where I was at so it didn’t cause me much problem. The wind was so strong that day (so strong it toppled down some bikes that were parked) and I was wearing a dress. It was extra cold and my head was groggy. I was not on my best mood this day. 😤
Visiting Kanda Myojin Shrine
To erase these negative vibes, I decided to visit a shrine first that’s near Akihabara. Thanks to Google Maps, I found the Kanda Myojin shrine.
I think this is one of those not-so-touristy shrines because there’s not much people and English translations around. I had to go up 40+ stairs just to reach this shrine from the main road. I thought this was a good warm up for my knees for the next day’s tour (I’ll be visiting Arakurayama Sengen Park, which has 200+ steps 😵). After looking around for a few minutes, I headed back to the main road to explore more.
Going Full Otaku Mode at Akihabara
I’ve learned from this trip that I work best with a goal in mind, but I wanted to allow myself to let loose and just go with the flow even just this once. I told myself — let life suprise me! And so I started wondering around the streets of Akihabara.
When we hear Akihabara, we think of anime, right? This region in Tokyo is like “the mecca” of all anime lovers, and it shows because almost all of the stores here are full of anime stuff!
Found these pokemon vending machines. Seeing it now, I’m kind of feeling some regret because I didn’t try playing. 😢
Am I too old for anime already? I didn’t recognize most of the animes that I saw in the stores, save for a few ones like Naruto, One Piece and Pokemon. I planned on searching for a specific Cardcaptor Sakura merch — The Clow Book, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to find amongst the stores that I visited. There were some stores that had an area dedicated to CCS, but it was just a small shelf. 🥺 Well I still managed to grab some cool stuff like Keroberos and Spinner socks, which are like my favorite things to wear now 😍 (I also tried to do small talk with this lady who was looking at the CCS stuff too, but I kind of felt that she didn’t want to talk to people LOL so I just left her alone). I also heard that there were a lot of maid cafes around. During my walk, I think I just saw two spots with young girls dressed as maids calling out to passers by.
I know Akihabara is famous for techie gadgets also, but I wasn’t able to really find good stuff around. Maybe I was roaming around the wrong part of the place? LOL I really don’t know. My dad was asking me to check out their Android phones. I was also searching for an SD card (to serve as extra for my camera) and I actually found it difficult to spot the electronic stores around. I found Docomo stores, but there were no people around. The signs inside the stores were all in Japanese also so I just lost my motivation to really go around and sweep the stores to find the best deals possible (plus I also found out that it’s highly possible that the phones bought here will not work overseas). So yeah, I abandoned the Android phone quest.
If you’ve been to Tokyo or researching about the place, it’s highly likely that you know what store I’m pertaining to. Yes, I visited that store. It was kind of “a dare” for me to go there to, you know, explore stuff that are new to me. Well I’m just traveling solo so I shouldn’t feel awkward with anyone. And also no one knows me in this place and it’s very unlikely I’ll bump onto someone I know there (well he/she should also be awkward being caught in that place too lol).
With my head held high, I unceremoniously entered the store. I know I am old enough to be there anyway. I scanned the store and was just at awe at what was actually there. I know I’ve seen it over the internet, but it’s just so different seeing all those stuff in person. My heart was racing while scanning the items. Apparently the item I was looking for was in another floor. I saw other customers in there and they didn’t feel awkward at all, so I told myself I shouldn’t be. I saw one couple giggling and looking at the items at one aisle. Well I just minded my own business and searched for the thing I needed to buy. Fortunately, I was able to find the section (I couldn’t imagine asking help from the staff lol). I chose an item that I thought my friend would like (yes I am buying this for a friend!!! this is not mine 😅). When I walked to the cashier (he’s male), there was one male customer before me. I was curiously looking at the items he bought — one item is a drink to “enhance performance” LOL. When it was my turn, I didn’t feel any awkwardness and the cashier guy was as courteous as any other Japanese that I encountered during the trip. Mission completed! 👍
A Different Kind of MCDO
After that mini adventure at M’s, I searched for a place to eat lunch. I played safe this time and headed to the familiar Mcdo fast food. I wanted to see if there was something different on their menu. Well I ordered a teriyaki burger with fries and this green soft drink and headed to the second floor for the dining area.
What I saw on the dining area kind of shocked me. The place was packed mostly with solo eaters! It was a very eerie scene. They’re all seated together but they’re not talking to each other. I quickly spotted a vacant seat and settled down there. The minutes that followed was one of the strangest moments I had in Tokyo.
Everyone was just looking at their phones and minding their own business. It’s kind of sad actually, but I guess this is just part of their culture and they are all used to it already.
Fangirling at Tokyo Dome
Another landmark that I wanted to visit was Tokyo Dome. It holds a special place for me because I know this is where Tohoshinki (my fave idol group of all time) held their record-breaking concerts during their prime years. It meant a lot for me to even just pass by there.
From Akihabara, I hopped onto the subway again to reach the dome. While enroute, I got to do some sightseeing around.
And finally, I spotted the famous Tokyo Dome!
I noticed there were lots of people around. Apparently, it was the day of Ed Sheeran’s concert (with ONE OK Rock as front act). I actually wanted to attend this event, but the tickets were already sold out when I checked.
It was just so amusing that I coincidentally planned on stopping by at Tokyo Dome the same day of Ed Sheeran’s concert! I super love going to concerts. The pre-show vibe was just contagious so I stayed there for a few minutes walking around and observing the people. I pretended I was also going to the concert and even checked out the merch. 😂
One stop that could still fit on my itinerary for that day was this garden just beside the Tokyo Dome called Koishikawa Korakuen. After all the hussle and bussle that I went through for today, this was my time to unwind and relax with nature.
Cherry blossom trees are all in bloom, and I just couldn’t help but take photos of them. Now that an image of this flower is engraved on my skin forever, I couldn’t help but feel a special connection with these flowers. I know the number of times I’ll see these flowers in person is very small, so that just made my moments with them that day even more precious. 🌸
Just like in Meiji Shrine, I took my time just walking casually around the garden. It was nearing sunset and the garden would close in an hour, but I didn’t feel any need to hurry my steps. I just walked and enjoyed nature at my own pace.
The place was very calming. There were only a few people and I mostly heard just my footsteps and the birds whilst walking around the garden. I even saw ducks! They were looking at me curiously. Apparently these ducks are not afraid of people. I saw one man go to that same area, and the ducks were walking towards him. Such a cute scenery!
I can’t read these signs, but I’m guessing these are names of the trees?
I got to do some thinking again while walking through this garden, and my thoughts went along mostly on this Japanese culture of being independent. The scenery at Mcdo flashed on my mind again. Are Japanese people somewhat lonely at some extent? I saw an elderly lady also walking around the garden. I wondered why she was walking alone. Is she already a widow? Is she already alone in life? I can’t help but think around these thoughts and reflect back on my own situation. I know I chose to be alone on this trip, but I would never choose to be alone in life. But because of my current situation, I can’t help but wonder if I would really end up being alone. Uhmm okay, I’m not liking this train of thought. 😅 But hey, one thing that I learned from this trip also is that it’s indeed possible to find and like someone even if you’ve been together for just a day (more info on this on upcoming posts!). He’s just out there, okay? I’ll just have to find him or he just needs to find me (hello! i’m right here!!! 👋).
Again, I went back to my hostel rather very tired. I just bought dinner from the konbini (I super loved that almond milk drink!) and ate the tarts that I bought at Pablo. That matcha tart was heaven!!!!
I planned to go to this yakitori restaurant nearby for dinner but I was so so tired already. I knew I had to get enough sleep for tomorrow’s activity. It’s a big day for me because I will be on KKDay’s tour bus to go to some places near Mt. Fuji! I’m very very excited to share to you some life-changing experiences I had there! Stay tuned!