So far not a single day has gone to plan!
I had scheduled to leave my hotel in Osaka this morning around 5.30/6am and make my way to Shin-Osaka in the hope of booking a green car seat for the early morning trip to Tokyo but thanks to a persistent customer who clearly had no idea the world was round and had different time zones I was still awake and answering lab questions at 1am. When I finally got it sorted I couldn’t sleep until after 3.30am so when my alarm went off at 5am I really wasnt in the mood for trekking across Osaka for a 3hr train trip!
I snoozed the alarm and grabbed a few more hours before setting off just after 9.30, getting to Shin-Osaka and booking a left-side window seat in the green car for the 10.16 train to Tokyo.
Left hand side window was important because this was the side where Mount Fuji would appear as we sped by on our way to Tokyo. (Weather permitting!)
It was another great trip on the Shinkansen; I managed to snap a few images from the train as we whizzed through Nagoya and on towards Tokyo but the elusive Mount Fuji was only partly visible with the summit shrouded in thick clouds and mist. Perhaps I’ll see more of it on my way back tomorrow!
I arrived in Tokyo and was immediately struck by how busy it was! Compared to most places in Scotland, Osaka can be a little overwhelming when it comes to crowds but Tokyo makes Osaka seem quite quiet!
For comparison purposes I googled the following:
Scotland has a population density of: 65 people per square km
Glasgow, Scotlands biggest city is: 3400
Osaka is: 4640
While Tokyo is: 6180
The entire population of Scotland is only 5.4 million, and it is estimated that the population of greater Tokyo is around 18 million!!
My first, not insignificant task on arrival at Tokyo station was to find my way out! The place is huge and the large number of tourists stopping in the middle of walkways to check maps and mobile phones without warning doesn’t help! Eventually (by luck more than design) I found myself at precisely the right exit I needed to get to my hotel.
I was a little early for check in so I walked to the hotel anyway to confirm I knew the way before retracing my steps back to the nearest metro station, Kyobashi, to take the metro to Ebisu which is the closest station to the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
Before visiting the museum I took a walk around the Ebisu district for half an hour or so (not entirely planned!) Before making my way to the museum.
It’s a very impressive building, with three floors of exhibition space, most of which – if I’m honest – is way out of my league in terms of being allowed to exhibit there, but it was interesting to get a feel for what is considered “exhibition material” in Japan. I’ve visited several galleries now and I’ve noticed a real difference in the aesthetics of Japanese exhibitions as compared to UK exhibitions. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other but there are certainly differences and I’d say that something that would be considered for an exhibition in the UK might very well not be considered in Japan. And of course, vice versa.
Very interesting though and food for thought for when I come to pitch ideas (which is after all why I’m here!)
After the museum I wandered back to Ebisu station and took the underground back to the Ginza district of Tokyo where my hotel is based.
I must say that I was very impressed with the hotel and the room, considering it was a last minute booking and was selected purely on the basis that it’s about 10 minutes walk from Tokyo station!
I dropped off my bags, took a quick bath (deep basu again – bliss!) Then headed out again into the night to explore.
From what I can tell tourists on their first visit to Tokyo are expelled from the country if they dont visit Shibuya crossing on their first night (that crazy crossroads where all the crossings go green at the same time and walls of people rush towards each other)
So off I went to film/photograph this icon of overcrowded Tokyo. I must admit, it is incredible to see and it reminded me of that scene from the film Braveheart where the opposing armies run at each other and seem to merge into each other for a few seconds before there’s a clash of steel and carnage!
Every other person at the crossing was vlogging, blogging (erm) or generally influencing social media in some way and very few people seemed to actually want to get from one side of the road to the other!
That said, I crossed every single crossing, filming some and photographing the others so who am I to judge!?
I took some time to wander the back streets of Shibuya but if I’m honest it’s a little too busy for me.
There was another part of Tokyo I wanted to visit at night, Golden Gai in Shinjuku. It’s a district full of bars, restaurants and clubs, some of the bars are so small they only hold 5-6 people.
I went and forgot to take any photos with my mobile (sorry!) But I did snap a lot with my camera so hopefully some of those have worked out and will be shared when I get back.
After a walk around Shinjuku I returned via the Tokyo metro (which was still way too busy even though it was 10pm at night!) to Kyobashi in Ginza. My intention was to go straight to the hotel but I noticed a rather photogenic side street filled with tiny bars and a karaoke bar at the end (with what I can only assume was Godzilla on the mic as I passed!!)
I wandered around the street snapping some photos before heading back to the hotel.
My plan for tomorrow was visit another gallery, then do some tourist stuff at the imperial palace and gardens…but…
The latest forecast for Osaka for tomorrow states “heavy rain and thunderstorms”. After sweating and dehydrating my way through most of this “rainy season” I’m determined to get some rain on me so my current thinking is visit the gallery first thing, grab the shinkansen back to Osaka, dump my bag in the hotel and get soaked for hours and hours in Osaka!
Hope you’re all enjoying the blog! Sorry it’s not as touristy as usual!
Will I finally see Mount Fuji in all its glory tomorrow?!