Links to my Tokyo, Japan 2013 blog series:
- Day 1: MNL-NRT, Ueno Park
- Day 2: City Life, Shinjuku Gyoen, Chidorigafuchi
- Day 3: Akihabara, Shibuya
- Day 4: Harajuku (Rainy Day Edition), Meet-up with Sarah and Xtian
- Day 5: Akihabara Part II
- Day 6: Tsukiji Market, Kagurazaka, Imperial Palace East Garden, Ginza, Kobe Beef
- Day 7: Sumo @ Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple, Odaiba, Star Wars Dolls
- Day 8: Tokyo Skytree, CPS Mini-Reunion
- Day 9: Asakusa, Harajuku Part II, KitKat Galore @ Tokyo Station
- Day 10 & 11: Hakone (Mt. Fuji), Toro Sashimi
As we already had our fill of Japanese Cherry Blossoms from our first two days in Tokyo, we decided to switch gears and view the modern side of Tokyo for that day.
Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara, known for cosplay and electronics, is the closest popular tourist attraction from our hostel--just one train station away, or a mere 15-minute walk. Chuo-dori is the main street in Akihabara where you can find most of the shops that sell electonics, manga, anime, Jpop albums, collectible figures, toys, mobile phones, groceries (where they sell snack items, toiletries and cosmetics--to name a few), and costumes. Every once in a while a maid cafe or fast food joint can be found along the road.
Yodobashi Camera, one of the bigger shopping centers (think SM) is directly connected to the Akihabara Station. Here you can find almost all of the items mentioned above, being an eight-storey tall building, with each floor catering to a specific type of item.
Don Quijote, which is situated somewhere in the middle part of Chuo-dori, is relatively smaller than Yodobashi Akiba, but here you will be able to find cheaply-priced grocery items. AKB48, a popular Jpop girl group, performs at this venue as well (though we weren't able to watch them).
Tourist Tip: Shopping centers in Tokyo are a bit different from the malls we have in the Philippines. While our malls span great floor areas and won't go higher than four storeys, in Tokyo they are built similar to an office building: more or less square-ish in shape, and can span to up to 12 storeys high. Each floor looks like a department store, with products displayed in racks or kiosks. They rarely have separate stores per brand, even for clothes. Think of Uniqlo in MoA - how open it looks like, or perhaps the stores in Divisoria, only less crowded and more spacious.
Lunch time! The topmost floor of Yodobashi Camera (actually, as with most shopping buildings in Tokyo) is the restaurant area. A mix of fast food joints (i.e. counter-type with or without vending machines for food stubs) and tabled restaurants (with waiters and all) can be found there. We were happy to have found Chabuton, a fast food joint specializing in tonkotsu ramen. We first tasted Chabuton in Osaka a couple of years ago; that was actually our first tonkotsu ramen ever (I distinctly recall blogging it and describing it as "milky broth ramen," as I had no idea what tonkotsu was back then). Chabuton was the first of the MANY ramen shops we were able to try, during the trip.
After lunch we headed on to Shibuya, another shopping district in Tokyo. Here you can find the famous statue of Hachiko, the equally famous Shibuya crossing (both of these are just next to the Shibuya Station), and more familiar brands like Forever 21 and H&M. Unlike in the Philippines, where brands like these get N square meters in the mall, here in Tokyo these brands get one building EACH, all for themselves.