So been back since two weeks and in the process of making a presentation for work, so I thought it would be nice to wrap up our experience here as well.
First of all, thanks for all the tips! They were most helpful.
Our hotel was right next to the central station in Shinjuku, so we mainly used the subway. Massive system that was pretty easy to use. Bought day passes for 750 Yen. Notably , the Currency rates were heavily in our favour during the entire trip.
We started of with a biketour of the western parts of tokyo. Shibuya, roppongi, harajuku, Nakameguro. 4 hours on a bike with a guy from the States that had been living there for 7 years. Saw the old olympic stadium, that was still in full effect. Baseball fields, business districts etc. Not quite what i expected, but then again, for me these tours are as much about navigation and the basics of the city, which is why we did it first. Crash-course of tokyo.
We focused a lot on the areas around Shibuja/Harajuku, where we found most of the brand stores. Could probably have spent the entire trip here, just going through all the small local, fashion, and street labels. Started by heading towards the large Brands, since they were the easiest to find. North Face was pretty impressive, with three stores on a 300 meter strip. Casual, outdoor and something in between. Nike was also a pleasure to see, with them having such a solid and nice looking interior.
It was pretty hard to navigate to smaller businesses that werent on the main streets, due to their address system. Y3, undercover etc, were all in smaller clusters deeper in to the blocks. So a lot of time was spent walking around, and figuring out where things could be situated on the map. (District, block, building right?)
Took our time to go to the imperial gardens just after we visited MOMA Tokyo, too see an exhibition about the 1964 Olympics graphic design work. Pretty small, but very very nice. Since Tokyo is among the last 3 candidates for the 2020 olympics, the city was plastered in campaign posters. They also had their permanent exhibition with art in Japan through the ages. See worthy if you’re there, but dont go out of your way to get there so see it.
Like I asked in the beginning, we wanted to find a spot where there were a lot of runners/cyclists. The strip around the imperial gardens perfect.
Things i wish we would have time for:
Fish market, we were told to be there at 3-4 in the morning. Jet lagg made it way to difficult to arrange with the three of us. I fell asleep early and woke up early. The others had a hard time getting sleep at all.
Gundam statue: Hard time convincing the others. Electric district was enough for them of the whole anime culture.
All the cosplayers had allegedly moved from harajuku bridge, to the E-district, according to our bike guide. So if you go, your tourist books/guides may be outdated if they say otherwise.
Food was incredible, and due to the currency, a lot of bang for the buck.
We however, had a vegetarian in the group, making it reaaally hard to find places to eat. Doesn’t seem to be a wide spread way of life in Tokyo. We had to go to Italian restaurant a couple of times, and they usually cost twice as much, for half the amount of food.
Cleanest city i’ve ever been to. Most notably was that the first day, we couldnt find any trashcans to throw away our garbage. They were usually situated at small convenience stores.
Green areas, trees, and small gardens everywhere. Balconys, rooftops, parks etc. Makes it feel a lot less claustrophobic.
Hardly any graffiti or street art either, which really opens your eyes to the decay that a lot of buildings go through.
Traffic was pretty neat. It has a lot lower noise pollution than other comparable cities. Lots of hybrids and bikes on the roads, and really considerate drivers, and no crazy speeders or revving engines. (made the bike tour a lot more enjoyable)
Japan has struggled with tourism since fukushima, but they expect that to change with the currency drop, so its a good time as ever to head over. (just read that Puma among others will adjust their prices)
Now I’ve started to plan a more extensive trip to Japan with my GF, to get a chance to the a larger chunk, with more outdoor and nature for a couple of weeks.