How I saw Tokyo in roughly 2 days

Whenever I travel, I often come across people who are in the country I’m visiting for weeks! They’re usually from Europe where the paid vacation time seems to be plenty. I’m someone who works a “9-5:30” in the U.S., has 15 days of paid vacation every year (and 5 sick days cough, cough) and who wants to see the world. That said, I don’t have the luxury (time-wise) of staying in one place for weeks on end (yet).

When I told people I was going to Japan for 6 days, they thought I was crazy and that I’d never be able to see everything. Truth is, unless you live somewhere, you’ll probably never see “everything,” and even if you do live somewhere you probably wouldn’t see everything the place has to offer either. For example, I’ve lived in NY for 27 years of my life and went to the Empire State Building for the first time yesterday, February 27, 2019 (I really wish this was a joke). But, that does not mean that you cannot see/experience as much of what interests you as possible!

While in Japan, I stayed in Tokyo for all of about 2 days (gasp, impossible!). Fear not, it is not impossible no matter how bad people try to make you feel for visiting a city/country for a short amount of time (miserable people are just the WORST). It really depends on what you’re into to determine what you want to do. And, if you like a place, you can come back another time if circumstances permit. Here’s a list of the most interesting things I did while in Tokyo for 2 days with jet lag and all:

  1. Akihabara. Akihabara is a street dedicated to all things anime. This was all my Fiancé’s idea by the way, he’s really into Anime. Luckily it was just one stop from our hotel (in Kanda). We spent a WHILE here browsing all of the stores which had anime and manga comic books and graphic novels, as well as all of the character figurines. While here, we also saw the famous Mario Kart driving tour a bunch of times which was fun to watch.
  1. Tokyo Tower. A must see, obviously. This is the white and orange Eiffel Tower-looking Tower. Just like the Eiffel Tower, it has several observation points and a restaurant/café. When you go to the top, you get breathtaking panoramic views of the entire city.
The Tokyo Tower nestled behind the Zojoji Temple.
Views of the city, late afternoon.
  1. Zojoji Temple. This Buddhist temple located right behind the Tokyo Tower is perfect for those looking for a touch of nature and tranquility in a big city. Along with the traditional Japanese architecture, the gardens are not to be missed.
What a stunner!!!
The Garden of Unborn Children at the Zojoji Temple.
  1. Imperial Palace. We were only able to see this sight from the outside and it was getting dark out when we arrived (hence no photo, ugh!), but it is definitely a stunner. When you approach the Imperial Palace, you’ll walk over a gorgeous pond, through the gardens, and to the beautiful stone buildings.
  2. Shinjuku. Home to the busiest train station in the world. We came here specifically to shop and to experience walking around among the massive crowds of people. This ward should be a definite when you come to Tokyo.
As it turns out, Tower Records is not dead!
  1. Shibuya. Home to the busiest crosswalk/intersection in the world. You should definitely visit Shibuya when you come to Tokyo and join in on the crowd of mostly tourists (I suspect) who are taking videos of themselves walking across the street. I sure did!
  1. Ichiran Ramen. The Breakfast of champs! We ate ramen at Ichiran to our hearts’ content at 7:00 in the morning (did I mention that jet lag is a bitch?). We went to the restaurant located in Ueno, which is open 24 hours. Side note: I did not know that there are two Ichirans in NY (one in Brooklyn and one in Midtown Manhattan) until we came back home. I suspect they won’t be the same taste-wise, but will report back later.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of EVERYTHING we did, you can see that it is possible to see the sights that you want to see even if you’re pressed for time. This applies to any city/country, really. Whether you’re the type of person to do one thing a day for a week or the type of person to do 7+ things in 2 days, you can do whatever you want. There is no right or wrong way to travel and see the world. Even if you work at a 9-5 and have limited vacation time, don’t think you need to spend an inordinate amount of time in one place just because it seems like the masses are doing this (you’ll even save money on nights at a hotel/Air BnB, food, etc.!). And most importantly, don’t listen to the haters!

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