I had thought that the sprawling megalopolis of Tokyo would defeat my tendency to walk everywhere rather than be sensible and use public transport. I reckoned without the power of a sunny day and a liberal sprinkling of useful streetside maps. Though it did take me a while to get used to the fact that the maps aren’t oriented north=up but rather according to the direction the reader is facing. Makes a surprising amount of sense, really.
I did take the JR Yamanote line in the morning, down to Shinbashi Station, but having strolled around the Hama-Rikyū gardens, it only made sense to check out the Tsukiji Fish Market (sadly closed) on foot, then to wander through Ginza, up to the Imperial Palace Gardens. Okay, so the walk from there through Roppongi to the famous Shibuya crossing was maybe a little excessive, but heading north from there, through Yoyogi Park and past the beautiful Meiji Shrine was actually quite relaxing. And once there, it was only a brief stroll to Shinjuku and the free observatory on the 45th floor of the Metropolitan Government offices. Sadly, despite the blue skies, the distant Mt Fuji was lost in the haze.
You’d think, after all that, I’d be crazy to try and walk back to the hotel. And you’d be right – I hopped on a JR train to Ueno, getting back just before sunset. Seriously – this is why it might be better for me to travel solo every so often. As much as I enjoy perambulating around a new city, I’d feel guilty dragging someone else all that way.
Tokyo marks the eastward terminus of this journey by land and sea – in a couple of days, I take to the skies for a flight to LA, landing several hours before I arrive. I don’t know how many times one has to cross the International Date Line before it ceases to be fun, but I suspect it’s quite a few in my case.
One more full day here and most of the next. Having done my strolling, perhaps some museums and the like are in order? First though, another stroll, this time out to see the neon of Akihabara by night.