34 Hours in Tokyo

I recently took a vacation to Vietnam, which included a 34 hour stopover in Tokyo. I didn't do too much, since I didn't want to tease myself with such a short visit, so I just walked around for the day. After arriving around 3pm, I took the train to Shinagawa to drop off my check in luggage at one of the station's coin lockers. I then continued down the line to Shinjuku where I guessed that a band I looked up prior was playing around. Public wifi in Japan I realized is not as accessible as I assumed, so by the time I had a reliable connection, the band had already started their show and I was at least 20 minutes away from where the venue actually was. Tired, I found a manga cafe and slept there for the night, unfortunately, I only asked for 9 hours (Though you pay at the end, so my duration of stay wasn't that constricted) so I didn't have much time to browse the manga, just an 8 hours sleep, shower (Which the place had), and quick google of places to visit.

Shinagawa station

Metro Map

Typical taxi, a Toyoto Comfort, real classy design

Udon/Katsudon combo

Never knew what prize figs were until I saw these

Evangelion Pachinko amongst others, I wanted to play but didn't want to fumble around asking the clerk how to buy the balls

Neighborhood by Shinjuku where I stayed for the night.

The stall I slept in at the manga cafe

Woke up at 6am the next day and caught the first train over to Washinomiya shrine in Saitama prefecture, this was probably the best part of my day, walking around in the small town area with only commuting high schooler and middle schoolers moving around in the otherwise sleepy neighborhood (It was around 8am with no stores open). The shrine was empty besides the groundskeeper and 3 other residents that visited, and it seemed like I just missed the new years festivals with the food stalls still there. The town is definitely aware of it's popularity amongst anime watchers though with Lucky Star banners on the street poles and in the displays of shops. The scenery of the town gave me vibes similar to Aku no Hana's town, slowly rusting away. Definitely a nice break from the chaos of the city.

Afterwards, I travelled down to Ueno from which I spent the rest of the day walking towards Ginza before getting my baggage from Shinagawa and then taking the train to the airport.

Walking towards Washinomiya Shrine, my brother in shot

Always a fan of these corner mirrors

Washinomiya Shrine at 8am

There was another wall without the anime ones

Japanese wishes

My fortune: Excellent

A smaller shrine in the forest

Curious what gods resided in these

The grounds had some chickens

Entrance to the shrine with a Lucky Star banner in view

Right outside the entrance

A walk around town

Somen in Ueno

Another taxi by Ueno park

Buddhist shrine in Ueno park

As expected of Akihabara

It's amazing how many people were here during school hours playing at the arcades

I have some understanding of Japanese culture from anime, japanese tv shows, google, etc, so most of everything was to what I had expected (Like people taking 6am commutes to work/school or ticket vendor restaurants). The one things that surprised me though were that people walked on the left side of the path. I had known that Japan drives on the left side, but it did not come to mind that they would also walk that way as well. My first experience with a large crowd was at Shinagawa station, and I was always going against traffic because it was so ingrained in my head to walk on the right side. I later noted that some stairs and areas had arrows pointing which side to walk on. Also interesting was that 3 out of 4 people who weren't middle/old aged business wore a scarf, no one also wore hats. In all, it was in interesting experience and I definitely need to get at least 2 weeks the next time I visit the country to really explore the country beyond the international.