Guest Traveler: A Trip Through Japan
With a population of more than 13 million, there is no doubt that Tokyo, Japan’s fast-growing capital, is the biggest metropolis in the world. Not only is it the largest, Tokyo also ranks as the safest city in the world plus one of the top five cities for safest personal security and infrastructure.
For anyone wanting a unique and memorable experience, Tokyo is the place to visit as this is the city where culture and ancient traditions meet modern technological advancements. So whether you’re looking for entertainment, nature, culture, or simply just a place to relax, Tokyo has it all.
Tokyo can easily be accessed no matter where you are in the world and there is no better way to get there than to fly with Japan Airlines (JAL). JAL flies into both Tokyo Haneda Airport and Tokyo Narita Airport, accessing two of the most well known of the country’s airports. In addition, Japan Airlines was recently named “Best Economy Class Airline Seat” at Skytrax’s 2015 World Airline Awards, so whether you are flying on Economy class or higher, you’re sure to have a comfortable flight.
I personally enjoyed my flight to Tokyo as it was my first time flying on Premium Economy. Kudos also to the crew for being so welcoming and attentive to the passengers. I know some people don’t enjoy airplane food, but personally, the in-flight meal was one of the best I’ve had! For comfortable and hassle-free flights to Tokyo, Japan Airlines is perfect for you!
After an enjoyable flight with Japan Airlines, I finally arrived in the Land of the Rising Sun. Though at times the airport may seem confusing to work your way around, Haneda Airport is actually a very accessible airport even if it's your first time in Japan. The signs are written both in Japanese and English and there are very friendly airport staff on site always willing to help out. Personally, I enjoyed the decorations and atmosphere inside the airport. I really got the feeling that I was actually in Tokyo since the shops inside the airport are similar to the ones you would find outside.
Tsukiji Fish Market
The Tsukiji Fish Market, also known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, is a very popular tourist attraction. In here, people can find fresh fish, meat, vegetables, dinnerware, and a lot of other things. Tourists are recommended to stay within the outer market area as serious business transactions are conducted deeper inside. In the outer market, tourists can find small retail shops and food-related products being sold as well as fresh seafood, meats and dried food sold in small servings. I highly encourage anyone who wants to really make the most of the Tsukiji Fish Market to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowd and also to try out the ramen for breakfast!
Asakusa displays the oldest temple in Tokyo, the Sensoji Temple. Many people come here not only to visit the structure but to also shop around the Nakamise Shopping Street and view the Kaminarimon Gate which has an enormous lantern in the middle. The crowd was huge during my visit but it was still very fun since there were a variety of things being sold.
Located near Asakusa, is the Tokyo Skytree which is considered as the tallest building in Japan. It stands at 634 meters. Luckily, the weather was perfect on our visit, so we had the opportunity to view the famous Mt. Fuji from afar.
Tokyo Cruise (Sumida River)/Hama Rikyu
When you feel tired from exploring Asakusa, you can take a relaxing ride on the Tokyo Cruise along the Sumida River to Hama Rikyu, a garden that used to belong to the Tokugawa Shogun Family during the Edo Period but is now open to the public. During my visit to Hama Rikyu, it was a perfect day for a stroll. I also love the fact that a tour guide is not really necessary because an English audio guide is available for free!
Unagi Maekawa- Ginza
Just alongside the Sumida River stands Unagi Maekawa Restaurant in Asakusa. The restaurant specializes in serving eel and there is only one word to describe it: DELICIOUS!
Famous for its Oyakodon, Tamahide in Nihombashi will definitely fill any hungry person’s stomach. Oyakodon, which means mother and child, consists of chicken and egg with a sweet soy broth served over rice. Finding Tamahide won’t be too difficult as there’s always a long line outside the white building which I also got to witness during my visit. The Oyakodon and the strawberry dessert that went along with it were very enticing… I can understand why people would stand and wait in line for it.
Kumon - Kimono Wearing/Tea Ceremony
Wearing a Kimono is not as easy as it seems, but it sure is fun. At Kumon, they let us choose the color of our kimonos and once we’ve made our choice, the ladies immediately got to work. Underneath the beautiful kimono are layers and layers of cloth wrapped tightly around the body. We also had the chance to experience a tea ceremony where I saw the preparation and serving of the matcha green tea. Prior to that, we were served Japanese sweets to balance out the bitterness of the tea. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I think anyone visiting Japan shouldn’t miss out on it!
But what was it that really made me fall in love with Tokyo? It’s the fact that people still value their culture and beliefs. Even though there are so many changes and futuristic advancements, they still know how important it is to keep tradition alive. In addition, the respect and friendliness of the people in Tokyo is astonishing. It’s no wonder why so many people love coming here because whether you are visiting for a day or a year, Tokyo will definitely give you unforgettable memories.
Written by: Karen Arbues
Karen loves to travel and has an adventurous soul. She aims to fly around the world and learn about the different cultures. Karen also loves to sample local dishes and makes it a point to collect keychains from different destinations.
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