Exploring Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Harajuku in Tokyo

Arrived in Tokyo! YATTA!!!!

Elma gave me a very detailed plan how to survive the first hours until I got to meet with her, very straight forward and that definitely saved me a lot of trouble. Passing through the emigration, getting money, getting the pocket internet, JR pass, etc. And hot! It looked like Summer, for now!

It was funny to see the same faces I saw in Amsterdam all the time, same queues, same train and even the same touristic spots. I totally got the feeling that I am a “normal” tourist after all…


Arriving in Ikebukuro area, hopping off the train and I see a kind of festival for the Olympic Games, and I managed to take a few photos already, feeling like a Japanese and his camera… I then met with Elma without any problem, and got prepared for my second and longest day ever!

Exploring Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Harajuku in Tokyo
Exploring Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Harajuku in Tokyo


We went to Harajuku where we crossed a very busy street, Takeshita-dori, so manyyyy people in that street, on a western place that would be the perfect place for pickpocketing, but guess what? Totally safe! These guys know how to make things work, it is awesome to feel this safe.


After that we went to a park, Yoyogi park, the first thing I see is a group of Japanese Elvis, apparently people do whatever they want in that park if it is legal, people playing instruments, street performers in general, people just laying on the grass (a lot of people), a quite nice park in a concrete city. I really enjoyed that place.

A few Elvis dancing
A few Elvis dancing

We then headed to one, if not the one, main temple in Tokyo, the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and the first Japanese weeding I saw. It’s was a bit odd for what I am used to, to be honest and with no pun intended, it seemed like a funeral. People dressing in dark clothes, following the bride and groom in a queue with a very slow pace, going from one temple to the other one several times, and if not in silence, they were really quiet. Didn’t look as a happy event to be honest…


The temple itself is quite nice, but I liked more the route to get there, through a wood, I think I am more into nature than city landscape. At the temple people were following a few rituals, washing their hands and I think also drinking some water, throwing coins for good luck (I also did that) and one interesting thing I saw is the wall were people write their wishes for themselves and the world in general, I read very nice messages over there and I found one written in Portuguese!

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We then proceeded to Shibuya, where I saw the famous Hachiko dog, if you don’t know this dog’s story, I totally recommend you to check about it. And if you are a dog lover and you don’t know about this… You really should feel ashamed of your own existence!

It was also in Shibuya where I saw one of the busiest crossings I have ever seen so far, and according to Elma and Max, it wasn’t that busy that evening… Check the photos, I don’t think they express what that really is, but it is messy!

Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing

I believe we went to a shop before dinner, or was it probably after? Not sure, I am still confused with this timezone… A toys shop, so damn big and with so many useless stuff that people, like me, wanna buy just because! I am definitely going back there to buy some junky souvenirs for some people!

We had a nice dinner at some place where we had a hot table and where they put our food to stay warm while we eat it, it was funny to see that the food can move, not because it is alive but of the warmth… I have no idea of the stuff I ate today I ate okonomiyaki, and it was good!

So tired, we went home, I think I fell asleep around 11pm, such a baby…

By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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