Finally, I arrived in Tokyo, more precisely in Shinjuku.


Shinjuku crossing

The colourful, buzzing shopping and night-life district on the Western part of the Tokyo Yamanote loop line offers the perfect surrounding for a Tokyo base camp. From here you conveniently get to all other parts of the city. Also I found a fantastic hostel which set the bar extremely high for all the places that came afterwards. Check out Imano Tokyo Hostel if you are looking for budget but quality accommodation.

Tokyo MapI always thought Tokyo would be centred around Tokyo Station and the imperial palace. Turns out it is the complete opposite. In my opinion it reminds me more of Berlin (on a bigger scale admittedly) in the sense that there is no real city centre around which you discover all the nice and noteworthy areas. Rather it is a collection of lots of small (still big) cities which all offer entirely different backgrounds and sights to the interested eye. You have the Western-style department store area of Ginza, the night-life sprawled Shinjuku, the more hip shopping district of Harajuku, the Manga and electronic hub Akihabara… the list goes on. As it was quite overwhelming for me to decide what to do in the short time period of 3 days which I had planned for Tokyo I tried not to pressure myself about seeing it all, but instead stumbled through things by walking. Starting at one of the subway stops of the Yamanote line I walked and walked until I couldn’t feel my legs any longer. And I truly believe that’s the best way of discovering an exiting city like Tokyo where you find the biggest treasures in some back-alley off the main tourist grid.

Yamanote Loop Line

Yamanote Loop Line

So even though I was staying at Shinjuku with it’s neon signs and brand advertisement all over the place, the back-alleys around my hostel offered peaceful inner-city two-story housing, cyling paths and people which seemed to me more of a small town, relaxed character than the stress and rush of the business folks around the skyscrapers just a few hundred meters further.

Shinjuku Back-alley

Shinjuku back-alley

Shinjuku Back-alley

Shinjuku back-alley with typical Tokyo cab – some Toyoto version which does not exist in Europe.

Shinjuku Treasures

Shinjuku – found a real treasure