Alright I’ve been not keeping up with this blog as much as I want. It is easy to put off, but with a big trip coming up and knowing I am going to have lots of #content soon I am going to try to be better. Keyword: Try.
So how to kick off 2018 better than my first trip to: Japan.
I spent 8 days in Japan, half in Tokyo and half in Kyoto.
Getting to Japan was pretty easy, Daegu has a couple of flights a day to and from Tokyo. From Daegu Tokyo is only an hour and a half, so I was able to get to Tokyo with most of the afternoon still free.
Tokyo has two airports. Haneda (the close one) and Narita (the far one, like really far.) Since I am cheap I flew to Narita.
The first thing I did upon arriving in Narita was pop out my Korean SIM card and buy a Japanese one. This way I could have data on my phone wherever I went, I especially wanted this because this was my first true solo trip (though a friend pointed out that I moved to Belgium by myself and also moved to Korea by myself, this is still felt different as my first “solo vacation.”)
I bought a SIM card with unlimited data and data only (meaning I couldn’t make phone calls) for 7 days. This ran me about 6,000 yen (about $55). Yes, expensive, but for how much I use my phone it was worth it.
I got to Narita pretty early.
Which was good because I got INCREDIBLY lost. Despite having pretty detailed directions to my hostel.
The Tokyo railway system is VERY confusing. There are times where the trains go the same way on the same platform. Sometimes you have to get off your train just to keep going to the same direction?! Why? I don’t know. But it should have only taken me an hour to get where I was going. It took me about 2 and a half hours overall lol. I will say, even though I was alone, I never once felt unsafe, just really really confused.
I finally got to the hostel, K’s House Tokyo. It was a cute little hostel in the older Asakusa area of Tokyo. Tokyo is so huge it can be really hard to choose where to stay. This was a REALLY good location, close to the touristy sites of Asakusa and a subway, you can get most places in Tokyo pretty quickly. K’s House also ran events, like a free sushi dinner on Saturdays and free drinks on Wednesdays. Their staff was super helpful and gave me a nap of the whole area. Complete with where the convenience stores and coffee shops are in the area. If you’re looking for night life, Asakusa might not be the neighborhood for you, but if you want full days of sight-seeing it is a good bet.
After getting settled at K’s House, I walked around the ritzy Ginza neighborhood. Lots of fancy shops and boutique cafes. A little bit pricey, but a busy area. They close down the main road so pedestrians have unrestrained access during the day. The flagship store of Uniqulo is here, it is gigantic with 6 floor of different clothing styles. Many high end cosmetic stores with and seemingly unlimited supply of serums and creams.
But my favorites were the stationary/book/paper stores. Many many floors of different types of pens, paper, postcards, regular cards, notebooks and other sort of stationary goods. I like writing and am partial to these kinds of stores. I actually picked up some cute hand drawn postcards for my family and friends here. (I send postcards to a few people from every destination I go to! I love to write them and send them, so if you’d like to be added to my official postcard list, go to my Contact page, and let me know you’d like to be put on the postcard list! You’ll soon get a post card from my next destination. I seriously do love writing them so don’t be shy!)
I went back to the hostel, because they were having a free sushi dinner. I met some other people from the hostel there and they were headed to Rippongi to drink that night. Rippongi is to Tokyo what Itaewon is to Seoul. A huge nightlife area that HEAVILY caters to tourists and expats. Be aware walking around here, you can easily find yourself turned around and in the sketchy red-light district of Tokyo.
We spent some time at a bar populated heavily by tourists, and I actually ran into a fellow Korean English teacher who came over with EPIK at the same time I did.
I had gotten up around 4:00am to get to Tokyo that day so I was feeling pretty tired so I headed back to K’s House to get some sleep for the next day because I planned to do a lot of sight-seeing.