Back in Tokyo, and after 26 posts, we are nearing the end of these finally!
On one of my final days I met up with my friend Eggy, we’ve known each other on Twitter for a really long time, so it was amazing to finally meet her! She came all the way down from Sendai, because she’s the true MVP! I also met Eggy’s friend Ayu, who was really lovely also!
I passed this shrine whilst on my way to meet Eggy in Shinjuku, I’m just throwing it in here as all torii gates are pretty.
We headed to Ueno park, one of Tokyo’s most famous green spaces! It’s located right next to Ueno station, it’s about as central as you can get in Tokyo!
I can’t remember what station we came to to get to Ueno Park, I know it wasn’t Shinjuku Sanchome…so it was another in that area?! The views from the platform were pretty incredible.
Welcome to the extremely vast, and extremely busy, Ueno park!
Ueno park is especially busy during the sakura season, as people come for hanami (sakura viewing parties, which consist of a lot of food and drinking.)
See all the people sat between green fences? They’re having their own hanami!
People don’t play about for hanami, I watched a man lift two full lobsters out of a cooler. The last time I had a picnic in the park, I took a bottle of water, a Tesco sandwich and some popcorn.
Ueno park is built upon the grounds of an old shrine, and it seems many smaller shrines line the grounds.
Food stalls line areas of the park, they all smelled and looked incredible, however it was so packed that it was difficult to get near them.
The lake is one of Ueno’s biggest attractions. The sakura, when in full bloom, must make such an amazing contrast to the bluish grey water, and the steely city skyline.
Koi were everywhere! They were all frantically devouring fallen sakura petals! It was pretty metal.
Many old men fed birds and allowed you to do so as well, I got to have a go!
I felt like a Disney princess.
Much better than the algae laden ponds in my local British parks.
I never tire of parks in the centre of massive cities, it’s such a wonderful thing that some natural beauty is preserved in sprawling metropolises all over the world.
It must have massive health benefits, even when living in a small city like Liverpool, and living literally opposite a small park, I would sometimes really miss open spaces like this.
One side of the lake was dotted with small market stalls selling a multitude of things, from handcrafted wooden stamps…
…to taxidermie seals.
Next we headed to Harajuku.
Harajuku is world famous for it’s eclectic fashion, it’s vibrant youth, and for being really fucking cool.
This is a little view of Harajuku taken from the balcony of the Owl Cafe we would visit later that day. Prepare yourself.
Takeshita Street, as always, was booming and filled with tourists like myself.
I didn’t know this until getting there, but LINE has a store!
If you don’t know, LINE is one of the world’s most famous messaging apps. Whilst it isn’t majorly popular in the West, it still has a dedicated fanbase, and is comparable to Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger in terms of usage in the East.
Like everything Japanese, LINE has cutesy mascots.
You can buy anything of the ‘Line Friends’, including toys…
…even golfing products! Japan knows how to capitalize on brands like no other, can you imagine a store like this for Whatsapp?! That would never happen, unless they overhaul their entire image!
This small condom store is world famous! Japan is trying to encourage sex within it’s youth as it is supposedly not at high levels, there are worries that reproductive rates will plummet, and so sex is being marketed as a fun thing to do!
Who knew that sex would literally be have to be marketed?! It seems to have done the job itself for however long the universe has existed.
Japanese culture is much more reserved. Sex is often shamed. Remember the horrific AKB48 scandal when a member was forced to leave, shave her head, and apologise through tears on camera, just because she had a long-term boyfriend and was seen leaving his apartment? There’s a major stigma still, and it needs to be overcome. It’s not just threatening reproductive rates, it is brutal and painful on those just trying to live their life.
Now to lighten the mood a smidge, the Owl Cafe!
Japan is known for it’s themed cafes, be it cat, maid, anime, anything!
Cat cafes have sorta become the norm now, with many popping up in the UK, so we took the time to visit a rather unique cafe, one full of owls!
If you could tell, the owls didn’t like me one fucking bit
The owls sit in a separate room to the guests, and so you receive a drink and a brief discussion on how to handle the owls before being allowed in to stroke them and befriend them if they like you.
I think this owl is going to kill me in my sleep.
Again, they fucking hated me.
You even get a free little owl momento to take with you! I chose this one.
You could take little glass owls in all colours, or a pin badge!
Just before we went to Japan, Sharla of Sharla in Japan uploaded a video of a movie themed bar in Shibuya, and I HAD to go no matter what.
The bar is called Hachigatsu no Kujira, after the movie ‘The Whales of August’
The bar seems to get busy very quickly, so I recommend heading their early. It’s not far from Shibuya Station at all, I would say it’s a less than 10 minute walk.
The bar places a small fee of around 400 yen per person on entry, this covers some snacks for the table.
You can request a cocktail from the menu (all Japanese), or request ANY film and they will make it then and there!
I requested an Indiana Jones cocktail, as it’s my favourite film series.
This drink was served in a cup reminiscent of the Holy Grail from The Last Crusade. It was dark, cola based, and filled with cherries. It was bloody grand.
The drink on the left is a My Neighbour Totoro one, however Sharla ordered this in her video, and it was an extremely different cocktail! Maybe it depends on which bartender makes it!
The ceiling is covered in labels from various bottles of alcohol.
My next cocktail was based on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
It seemed to be based off of Hoth, or possibly Bespin, with the melon representing Cloud City!
Either way, it was minty and great.
Some final shots of Shibuya. Shibuya felt like a home to me after spending two weeks in an apartment there. I think about how much I miss the area a whole lot. It’s so vibrant, alive, there’s so much to do, and it’s just Tokyo at peak Tokyo.
Given the opportunity, I would love to live in Shibuya for a few months.
And to finish our day, we stopped in Tokyo Station for some food! I had a Japanese Ox Tongue curry! Which looking back seems an odd choice as I’m now trying to cut out meat slowly. Though I do remember it being incredible.
Thank you for reading!
Catch up on the rest of my Japan posts here: