Before Tokyo I spent a couple of nights in Hakone. There’s a well-known daytrip that you can take, where you go up a ropeway then a cable car up a mountain to view Mt Fuji on a clear day (it wasn’t), then go down and get a pirate ship across a lake to a town, where you can wander or get a bus somewhere. To be honest, it really did feel like a pump-the-tourist-through kind of place and I did want to go back to bed halfway through.
With Tokyo, I was here ten months ago and had done most of the tourist things. I’ve been to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, Senso-ji Temple, the Robot Restauant, Mirikan, Harijuku etc., and a lot of that was better the first time around. If I’d been better prepared I could’ve seen some sumo, gone Mario Kart street racing (couldn’t apply for an International Driving License whilst in Australia with my UK one) and visited the Digital Art Museum, which I wasn’t aware that sold out heaps in advance. There was another Pokemon shop here too which was laden with cretins, so I’d definitely recommend Osaka’s over Tokyo’s.
I did come with the intent of buying a new, good camera and to try it out in the city, which I’ve done. I took it out to Senso-ji at night and a few other places. My favourite was Gotokuji Temple, which has a shrine to cats.
This time around, I do still think that Tokyo would be best done with company, and it’s been difficult to get around. Relying on offline maps has been useful, though I’ve made a spelling mistake which added an extra 40 minutes onto a journey. I’ve also found that when using the Metro and to change station, I feel like I’ve gotten off the platform, and into the depths of Narnia to find the next station, taking upwards of ten minutes sometimes. It makes changing at Bank/Monument on the London Underground seem like an absolute dream. With that said, I know I’ve been in Tokyo for too long this time, though I still would like to spend a couple of days here with some company.
Tomorrow evening I’m off to Vietnam, and how long I stay there depends on whether or not I get a visa for more than 14 days approved before I arrive in the country – me being as organised as usual. I’m looking forward to eating Banh Mi, Banh Xao, and being in relatively small cities. Honestly, I don’t know much about the country so hopefully like being in Seoul, I’ll learn heaps.