Place to Go in Tokyo
I love Tokyo! I never thought I would say this, but after 10 days spent there, Tokyo became my favorite city in the world (over Paris!!). I always was a city girl, and though I love nature, I could never live too far, nor too long away from the concrete and electric jungle. And I'm afraid I will never again be able to stay away for too long from Tokyo - the most civilized and well organized jungle of them all. The most famous of Tokyo's attractions can be reached by subway or train, and though huge and a bit intimidating at first, you will get anywhere in no time.
Tokyo was the first city we visited in Asia, and comparing it with all the other places we've visited before (and after), Tokyo is a different world altogether. If I were to recommend you only one city to visit in the world (given that you are not Japanese), I would recommend you Tokyo. You get the idea, I'm in love with this city! And this is not only because for me it represents the peak of civilization, law, order and fashion, it is also because from all the places I've visited so far, this is the one that stands out most, in all the good ways.
The following list of places to visit in Tokyo is based on our personal experience and organized in no particular order. Please feel free to add your favorite places in Tokyo in the comment section below.
Shibuya 109 & Shibuya CrossingShibuya is the point zero of Japanese fashion and the Mecca of chic; and it fascinated me so much, I must be a Shibuya girl in a parallel universe or something. The way these girls dress, the contact lenses that make the eyes look bigger, all that lace, ruffles, colorful socks, and ribbons, make for the most elegant casual outfits I've ever seen. I get goose bumps every time I remember the time I spent shopping in the trendy boutiques at Shibuya 109. I left part of my heart there, and ever since I got back home all I want is to go back.
The Shibuya Crossing is a couple of minutes from Shibuya 109 and just outside Shibuya Station served by JR Yamanote Line. This crossing, made famous by the 'Lost in Translation' movie, is one of the busiest in the world and the quintessence of organized chaos. The traffic lights from all directions turn red all at the same time and for the next couple of minutes people invade the crossing like spilled beans out of a can.
You can observe the spectacle of lights and people from the Starbucks on the crossing's north side or you can experience the madness for yourself, which in my opinion is far better. My husband and I crossed quite a few times here just for fun and not one single time did we bump into another person or people bumped into us. Everybody matched their peace at the speed of the person in front, walking at unison, on lanes. Now if this is not the ultimate example of civilization, I don't know what is.
Meiji Shrine (traditional Tokyo)
Meiji Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the Shibuya Ward, in the middle of a beautiful forest with huge Torii gates leading to the main hall and it is accessible from the Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, it is now a favorite place for wedding ceremonies.
We were lucky to witness such a procession. Led by two shrine priests and two shrine maidens, the couple followed under a big red umbrella. Family and friends came next, but we were surprised by both the reduced numbers of participants and by the lack of joy on their faces. Apparently Shinto wedding ceremonies are very solemn and quite unique.
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