For about the entire trip, visiting Tokyo was the thing I was looking forward to the most for plenty of reasons - because I've always been partial to beautiful cities, because there's so many nice places to shop, and lastly, because I was going to meet up with one of my best friends to see the city! (I have a totally separate post for that, btw. Haha!) Read on to see our day in Tokyo!
Our first stop was the Imperial Palace but we took photos with the statue of one of the most Samurai that ever lived, Kusunogi Masashige. I can't get over how cool and epicly made this statue is. Almost as if it's ready to pounce!
The park itself is a sight to behold with its views of the city and the perfectly manicured pine trees which are held in high regard in Japan because of its ability to stay green and healthy despite any season.
It's a 5-minute walk to the Imperial Palace from there. Of course, you can't really go in so you can only take photos of it from the outside.
Wallpaper-worthy and postcard-perfect.
Afterwards, we went to Odaiba to take a quick photo with the giant Gundam as well as buy souvenirs and Japanese delicacies at the Daiba Store. (There's some anime stuff here as well!) I also did a quick run around the mall just to see what was inside. Tokyu Hands has a small store here called Hands Be which doesn't have art supplies so if you're looking for markers and the like, you can skip it. The clothes here have an awesome selection, though! Lots of local Japanese brands you can check out. My personal favorite would have to be RAGEBLUE but there are still tons of brands I've yet to check out in Japan.
Next, we were given two hours to explore Ginza and was dropped off at the street where all the international brands are. Did a quick visit at Zara first as their End of Season Sale was already starting in Japan and there's nothing better than first dibs! Hohoho
One of my most recent and favorite discoveries: GU! This is brand owned by UNIQLO but it's apparently more famous in Korea. The brand's name is a play on the word Zi You (自由) in Chinese which means, free. I can definitely understand why it's famous in both Korea and Japan. Think Basic House meets UNIQLO. The style here was totally right up my alley. Classic, minimalist, and basic. And the best part is that everything is ridiculously affordable.
I totally regret being choosy here because I only got myself a wide-neck shirt which I'm so excited to feature on the blog. They've got legit winter coats here that are under 2000PHP and it isn't even on sale! Bring this to the Philippines, please! :D
Also stopped by the famous 10-storey UNIQLO store. It was so tall that my phone couldn't even handle it! Haha!
All in all, I was pretty satisfied with Ginza. I half-expected to be able to afford nothing here because of all the luxury brands that it's famous for housing. If you ever stop by, go to GU. You owe it to yourself. Haha!
Afterwards, we had a quick meal at Asakusa. The place was in Nihongo so I can't really name the place. Huhu
Finally got to try Tatami style dining though! But our table had a false bottom so you could actually just sit like normal instead of kneeling on your cushions.
Just when I thought it couldn't get more crowded, walking across Nakamise Shopping Street to Asakusa Temple or Senso-ji took the prize. If you didn't go with crowd's flow, there's not telling what could happen. LOL
On a less crowded day though, I bet shopping for souvenirs here would be quite enjoyable!
At the end of the long crowded street was the equally crowded Asakusa Temple, but at least there was a wide area to roam around to escape the crowd. If you look to your right, you can see the Tokyo Tower peeking out from the cityscape.
Asakusa Temple in all its glory. My prime lens on my DSLR could not handle the full view so I just used my phone. Love how crisp it turned out though!
Japan is the only place you don't mind when trees block your view, because it's still beautiful.
Asakusa Temple is famous for its giant lanterns! I can't imagine if we were asked to do something like this in school!
Smoke for luck and blessings like at the Kiyomizu-dera.
Now for the main temple.
Underneath all the giant lanterns are intricate dragon cravings. It's the little details, after all!
Before you enter you can give an offering which is said to bring you blessings.
There's a screened partition that blocks visitors from the main prayer area. You can only watch the monks pray by the altar beyond the screen.
Off to the side, you can buy Shinto charms and trinkets.
Had the hardest time taking a photo of the cleansing area where you can drink as well as wash your hands before starting your prayer. This is to "cleanse" negative forces from the outside world.
Stay tuned for more Tokyo travel posts! :D