Wednesday, 9 September 2015

One Day Stopover, Tokyo

If you only have a one day stop over in Tokyo and cannot manage to stretch to a longer itinerary such as: Four Days and Four Nights then I can really recommend the day trip we took with

We were collected promptly at our hotel at 8:10am and driven the short distance to the bus station where we swapped our confirmations for a ticket and were placed onto the coach, which had pre assigned seat numbers. I would usually be against coach tours but this was well organised and with so little time to see everything it meant we could encompass a lot of the city quickly.

The first stop was to Tokyo Tower. You are only taken to the first level viewing platform so unfortunately the view wasn't as high as from our hotel window. However, the tower was still impressive and worth a visit. You can stand on the glass platform if you are brave enough and look down!

From the tower we drove to a lovely Japanese garden where we looked at the incredibly old Bonsai trees as well as took part in a traditional tea ceremony. We were given two different types of sweets to line our stomach before drinking a cup full of powdered green tea. It was an interesting experience and great to take part in something so traditional whilst in Japan.

We then headed to lunch, which was definitely a highlight of the day. We were split into tables of six and seated around a lava stone. The chefs tied paper aprons around us and gave out hot towels to clean our hands. Water and Japanese tea were complementary but you could order wine, beer and soft drinks for a charge. We started with a salad followed by grilled vegetables and an array of pork and beef all dipped in teriyaki sauce and served with rice. The food was plentiful and very tasty.

After lunch we were driven to the Imperial Palace for a brief photo opportunity outside the gates and some history. Then we headed to the dock and took a forty minute boat ride down the Sumida river, which was great to see Tokyo from the water and therefore a different perspective. Here we got a glimpse of the Asahi headquarters (a building shaped like a pint of beer) and also the Tokyo Sky Tree, another high viewing platform in the city.

Our final stop of the day was the Asakusa Kannon Temple where we strolled down the shopping streets followed by viewing the temple and learning about some of the history associated with it. We were also shown how to tell your fortune. You donate a little fee and then shake a box of chopsticks, when one falls out you match the number to a drawer. In the drawer will be a piece of paper that says your fortune, if it is good take it with you, if it is bad then you must tie it to the rack at the temple to change your luck.

All in all this was a great little trip, we met some interesting people and our guide was amazing with incredible English. We learnt a lot about Tokyo and also saw a large chunk of the top tourist sites. We weren't blown away with anything we saw and coach trips are not really our style, however, with limited time I am really glad we took this tour as it was an easy and convenient way of seeing everything. Definitely consider something similar if you only have a short time in Tokyo as you will feel like you have encompassed a lot and being in a coach definitely helped the tired feet!