Japan’s been on my To Do list of places to visit for as long as I can remember and I’m really happy to say that I have finally acted like a VIP and taken action to make my dream become a reality. I’m currently in Tokyo! Life’s too short to wish you were doing something…when you could be actually doing it. I want to explore the harajuku fashion culture, visit the scenes from my fave movies like Lost in Translation and sing karaoke (I’m told One Direction songs are popular right now and I believe it as I keep seeing posters of the boys on billboards and in Metro stations!)
Eventually, I want to expand LiveLikeaVIP.com into Japan as the people are all so positive, which is one of the site’s key messages – if you believe that you’re a VIP then you are a VIP. So this is a research trip, I wanted to find out what makes Tokyo tick, and I want to have fun doing it! On the plane, I read a few guidebooks to work out how I could enjoy Tokyo in style, but I didn’t find any particularly useful, and that’s why I’m noting down what I’ve come across that’s fun and affordable.
I’m not under any commission to recommend places to readers, my only aim is that we all have as much fun as possible because that’s what being a VIP is all about.
HERE’S WHAT I’VE ENJOYED SO FAR…
(1) The Shibuya Crossing is like New York’s Times Square so I really wanted to visit it. The crowds cross in about four different directions at once while advertising billboards constantly change – it’s pretty hectic but I’m very glad I experienced it. I had so much fun I forgot about the rain and then I went shopping afterwards – in Forever 21, Uniqlo and H&M for bargains 🙂
(2) There are a few pet shops in the Shibuya area and I fell in love with these cats above
And the tiny puppy above. I love his eyes!
Later on in the trip I went to a cat playground! For 1000 Yen (approx £6) you can spend an hour stroking cats. It’s bizarre but brilliant. The one I visited was at the Tokyo Hands department store in Sunshine City, near Ikebuko metro station.
(3) On a rainy day, what better thing to do than shop? And eat? We combined both of those with a trip to Tokyo’s main fish market, which is another assault on the senses. I am a qualified scuba diver, so I’ve seen some rare species, but I was SHOCKED by the variety in this market, even if it did smell a little 🙂
(4) Near the fish market is a garden called Hama Rikyu, which has a traditional tea house and a boating lake that would be gorgeous in the summer. As you can see from the photo above, it was raining during my visit but that didn’t stop me posing in a flower field. It was a refreshing change to the bustle of the main shopping streets.
(5) But let’s face it. I’m more of a shopper than a walker and I loved shopping in the Akihabara area. This is what I imagined Japan to be like – big shops, lots of people and bright lights – and I absolutely loved the atmosphere almost as I did the bargains. As there are tons of electronic shops in the area, the prices are very competitive. I wouldn’t buy actual kit here (cameras / computers etc) because of the plug socket issue, plus it’s not easy to return faulty items, but do stock up on accessories like camera cases and straps and Ipad covers etc.
(6) The Akihabara area is also famous for it’s video games arcades. It’s like London’s Trocoadero but times by a million. You can also play on dance-inspired games, which the Japanese seem to be very good at, or try and slot machines if you’re not up for a all senses encapsulating video games experience. Just don’t play the machines where you can win a teddy by operating ‘grab handles’ – they never properly close so you’ll end up spending way more than the actual value of the teddy. I’m speaking from experience!
(7) My brother Ben managed to find some futuristic machines that you can only get in Japan. They’re actually pinball machines (where you flick up silver balls and watch them fall down a certain route) but they’ve been pimped up for modern times.
(8) And talking of modern, there’s a 9 floor electronics superstore called Yodobashi Akiba near Akihabara metro station. My brother Ben was particularly taken with the 65-inch TVs, but you can get everything you ever wanted here. Robot vacum cleaners. Massage chairs. Pianos…and there are tons of restaurants / cafes on the top floor when you need to refuel after the shopping frenzy.
(9) Tokyo Sky Tree (above) – at 635 m tall, this is one of the highest towers in the world and you feel like Queen of the castle as you marvel at the city below
(10) Senso-ji temple (above) – one of the oldest (and most beautiful Japanese landmarks). Beauty and VIP life go hand in hand…The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.
(11) You can go inside this Senso-ji complex and make wishes that you write on pieces of paper and offer up to Buddha.
(12) Instead of getting the Metro, walk from The Sky Tree to Senso-ji, passing through this tranquil park (above).
(13) If you like sushi (and frankly if you don’t there’s something wrong with you) I promise you’ll be impressed with the small shops in the Asakusu area, near Senso-ji. My brother and I (above) ate until we were stuffed for just £10 a head!
Later on in the trip we stopped off for noodles at the department store Tokyu, directly next to the exit of Shibuya metro station. What I’m eating above was too delicious for words. Prawns, noodles, broth and soy sauce -simple but DELICIOUS!
(14) After all that classic, traditional beauty we wanted to end the day with a modern kind of art. This giant sculpture of a spider was created by world famous French-American artist Louise Bourgeois and it’s breath-taking. Nearby, in the Roppongi Hills complex, there are tons of shops, a food court and a cinema so there’s plenty of entertainment.
I promise to update this blog with new photos each and every day of my week long trip and then put the finished blog post in the Travel Section of Live Like a VIP so you can consult it if you ever find yourself going to Tokyo.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions of places to visit, please Tweet me @livelikeavip