It's not easy to organize my thoughts and impressions of Japan. We got to experience so much in a short period of time that I don’t even know where to begin with. Maybe with the fact that we went to Japan to visit our Croatian friends who live there, which provided for experience of not feeling like a lost tourist in a place where everything is new, peculiar and exciting. They introduced us to the normalities of everyday life in Japan, to the most interesting neighbourhoods, beerhouses, dumps with delicious food, way of getting around with public transport; thanks to them, we got to know Japan from the inside, without that virtual glass which so often leaves impressed tourists on the outside.
It was my first big trip, first time I left Europe, first time I embarked on a long haul flight, and I'm happy that it was Japan we went to. We were amused by everything we’ve seen- at first glance it seemed like we landed on another planet, but soon we felt welcome and safe and everything seemed simply right.
We spent almost two weeks in Tokyo and 5 days travelling around by train- to Kanazawa, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura. Tokyo is an enormous city, and yet, when you walk its neighbourhoods it feels so tame, safe, and homely, that one easily forgets this enormousness. For these two weeks, we called Hiroo our home, and explored most of other central neighbourhoods like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Asakusa, Ginza, Omotesando, Odaiba, Akihabara, Ebisu, Ueno, Nakameguro, Roppongi, Shimbashi...
Some of those neighbourhoods like Ebisu and Shibuya were within a walking distance from our temporary home, but most of the city we explored by train and metro. We were pleasantly surprised how efficient traffic in Tokyo was, easy to navigate, and also not that expensive! Around thirty million people living and working in the area and yet there are no traffic jams, and we always got to sit on the train or the metro, let alone buses.
In Tokyo, we've seen both concrete jungle and peaceful parks, shiny shopping streets and modest temples and shrines, busy marketplaces and excelent museums, suited-up businessman and colorful youth... We ate some seriously good and diverse food, a thing we really miss since being back home. (I will be writing about Japanese food aswell!)
In my next posts I will be writing about Tokyo neighbourhood by neighbourhood, it seems logical to do so, otherwise I could get lost in my own story. Have you ever been to Tokyo? I would love to hear your experiences! Here is a little collection of our photos, just to show the diversity of this extraordinary city!