I visited Japan with my family for about 7 days (September 29 to October 4, 2017 and October 14-15, 2017). Exploration of the following cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Himeji were self-planned and organized based on district (since the cities were too large to explore on our own).
Before we started our trip, we used Japan Guide and Japan Experience to plan out the attractions and order the Japan Rail Pass— a must-need for transportation in Japan. Also, it is recommended that you purchase a Pasmo Card, an IC card, for paying public train transportation fares. The IC card can be recharged at any subway or public train station in Japan. For navigation and convenience, I highly recommend the Pocket Wi-Fi so that you can have access to Google Maps to get to your destination.
Note: The hotels that are mentioned in this Japan travel log series are Western-style hotels with four twin beds.
September 29, 2017 Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage), Asakusa and Ueno
- Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage district)
- Sensoji Temple (Asakusa district)
- Ueno Station
- Ueno Hard Rock Cafe
We took an overnight flight on September 28th to Hong Kong and then connected to a flight to Tokyo (東京). We arrived in the afternoon on September 29th at Tokyo Haneda airport. At the airport, we immediately went to pick up the Japan Rail passes and the pocket wi-fi that we rented. Afterwards we purchased the Pasmo card and loaded each card with 2,000 yen.
Tip: Make sure you have enough currency on hand to load the IC card. I guarantee that you will have to recharge the card often. Public transportation is a must when you travel Japan.
We took the train to our hotel, Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo, in the Sumida district of Tokyo and dropped off our luggage before exploring the area. It was about 4PM when we set out to look at our surroundings to get orientated. The Sumida district is regarded as a peaceful district with traditional bath houses, small shops, and high-rise apartments hide under the presence of the Tokyo Skytree. The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in Tokyo, rising to 634 meters, and often hosts special events as noted on the official website.
At night, the tower changes colors and boasts a pretty sight. The surrounding Oshiage area has lots of shopping and cafes. It appears to be very popular with tourists and locals.
From the Oshiage area, we made our way parallel to the waterway and crossed the Azuma Bridge (below) towards the Asakusa district.
The streets were still filled people enjoying the night life and heading about their own business. We made our way to the Sensoji Temple, which was tucked behind the modern buildings.
The temple was built in 645 and dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It is considered the oldest Buddhist temple and is very well maintained. Although the surrounding shops were closed, people were enjoying the night scenery and the peaceful nature of the temple.
Since we were hungry, we walked to Ueno Station, which was like an underground shopping mall. There we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and had dinner. The American-style food was as expected of any Hard Rock Cafe restaurant.
Overall, the entire walk is about 10 miles and allows one to explore Tokyo a few districts at a time.