We were already at the NAIA Terminal 2 by around 5AM since our flight was at 8:45. However, our flight got delayed and was only able to leave at around 9:20AM. As you can see in the previous post, our schedule was really packed on the first day so this unexpected delay was not a good sign.
After around four hours, we landed at Haneda International Airport ~2:00PM local time. My nephew Jeto got a little held up at the airport because the immigration agent’s machine to check passports was not functioning. We got our luggage and proceeded to our Airbnb in Shibuya.
Japan’s train and subway system is a pretty big and complicated web. Last year, in Osaka, we really spent a lot of time getting lost while trying to find out where to exit. Fortunately, this time we were able to correctly get to our destination (Shibuya Station). Our adventure began upon getting out of the station exit. We tried to follow the host’s instructions and we even asked a sweet old man for the right way but we still got lost. I think the old man didn’t understand our predicament. lol. After a few minutes of walking uphill (yes, UPHILL WITH OUR 15KG LUGGAGE), we spotted two police officers. Setting our pride aside and armed with our English-Japanese-speaking skills, we asked them for directions. Finally, we were on the right path. The map said it was only a 10-minute walk from Shibuya station but we took from half an hour or maybe an hour to get to the Airbnb. We were running out of time so we dropped our bags, refreshed a little bit and went back out.
Our first destination…Ichiran Ramen.
Ichiran Ramen is a 24-hour restaurant that serves uhm, ramen. They use vending machines to get your order- You insert money in their vending machines and in turn the vending machine will give you a ticket. Their tables are long wooden tables with wooden dividers. Each “stall” has an opening in front where servers will get your ticket and where they will deliver the meal.
Their ramen is the best I’ve tried so far. They are very generous with soup (maybe so you can order more noodles) and I just feel very happy every time I leave their restaurant. With our tummies full, it was now time to start our day 1.
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meijiand his consort, Empress Shoken. Located just beside the JR Yamanote Line’s busy Harajuku Station, Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. The spacious shrine grounds offer walking paths that are great for a relaxing stroll.
We initially wanted to visit everything (Shrine, Treasure House, Garden) there but dahil siningit lang namin on our first day we decided to just visit the shrine which is supposed to close at “sunset”. According to their website, it closes at 6:20PM in May. We got there at around 6:00PM but it was already closed. 😦 No choice, so we just took a picture outside of the gate 🙂
Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi Kōen) is one of Tokyo‘s largest city parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and forested areas. It is a great place for jogging, picnicking and other outdoor activities.
Just beside Meiji Shrine is Yoyogi Park. Now, when I saw some reviews of this park I was advised that this park is for “all kinds of people”. I expected a lot of cosplayers, and other weird Japanese things. I was wrong. The place wasn’t packed when we got there. People were far apart. Some were singing and some were running and unlike what I expected people looked normal. We walked around to see more of the park (i.e. trees and other plants) and I noticed there were a bunch of crows just cawing and flying around. So creepy.
Harajuku (原宿) refers to the area around Tokyo’s Harajuku Station, which is between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. It is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights.
After the park, our next stop was Harajuku to see the culture. We went to the famous Takeshita Dori and Harajuku streets which are full of shops. As you can see, even on a Wednesday, the place was crowded.
At the entrance, we saw a crepe store so Kate and I got one each. Hehehe. I think it was banana and nutella. So good. I also saw some Purikura posters but we weren’t able to get our photos taken 😦
Around 8:00PM, the shops closed. Time to go home!
Love Hotel Hill Hachiko Statue
Come meet Tokyo’s most famous pooch, Hachikō. This Akita dog came to Shibuya Station everyday to meet his master, a professor, returning from work. The professor died in 1925, but Hachikō kept coming to the station until his own death 10 years later. The story became legend and a small statue was erected in the dog’s memory in front of Shibuya Station.
We were supposed to go to the Love Hotel Hill and have dinner there but we were tired and still full. We just decided to go to the next destination which is the Airbnb to get some shut eye.
On our way back, we passed by the Hachiko statue because, why not?! 😀
So so happy to finally be there and have a photo with Hachiko. I hated that there were a lot of people just hanging out and smoking by the statue, though 😦 Give some more respect, hoomans.
This time, it took us only 10 minutes to get to the Airbnb. Hehe.
Day 1 was not very exciting yet, but definitely one for the books. This is actually the first time the three of us were together in Tokyo, and with no tour guide. I call Day 1 a success simply because we found our Airbnb!