I would already be gone 21 days, but when I learned that I could make a second stopover on my flight to South Korea for just the cost of taxes I had to jump on it. Tokyo, here I come! I only had 2.5 days to explore the city and knowing that Tokyo is the largest metropolis in the world I wasn’t sure exactly how much I’d get to see. Turns out, a lot!
With a lot of cities I’ve been to the public transit usually isn’t too hard to figure out. It’s normally run by one company with a handful of lines, with a few exceptions. Not the case at all with Tokyo, Japan. It has one befitting the world’s largest metropolis. It’s massive, complicated and busy. I often say that the Tokyo subway map looks like someone just threw spaghetti at a wall and called it a day. I’m going to give you a quick ‘n dirty rundown of what you need to know to make your way around the city. Well, as quick as I can make it.
Tokyo is a city of big. Big buildings, big crowds and, big markets. The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Market, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind, anywhere. As such, it’s become quite the tourist attraction, especially the tuna auctions and I knew when I was planning my 60 hours in Tokyo that it would be a must-visit.
You may have seen this crazy set of crosswalks in in Tokyo during Lost in Translation or the Fast and the Furious. Shibuya Crossing is known for being a perpetually busy intersection with crowds continually amassing and letting loose like ocean waves. Crowds gather on the sidewalks and when the lights change cars stop in all directions. Watching the masses surge forward makes you feel like your own patch of sidewalk is being invaded, except that these armies wield smartphones instead of swords. The best spot to watch the madness is from the 2nd floor Starbucks outside Shibuya Station. I recommend getting down into the middle of it yourself and crossing at least once though. You can pretend to be Scarlett Johansson, I won’t tell.
While visiting the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan I was lucky enough to stumble upon the solemn procession of a traditional Shinto wedding. During the ceremony, the couple shares three cups of sacred rice wine (taking turns drinking). A priest recites Shinto liturgy, and a shrine maiden performs a sacred dance. They then conclude with another solemn procession.