Japan travel · Travel

Japan travel- Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Shibuya districts

Tokyo has a lot of districts, but the most famous and busiest downtown ones should be Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Shinjuku is a large district where the city’s metropolitan government is located, and features some of Tokyo’s tallest highrises. I went up the Metropolitan Government Building tower, which is actually a massive highrise joining together two towers, to take advantage of its free 45th-floor viewing deck. The view was great, taking in neighboring highrises and a vast stretch of the surrounding districts.
At night, it becomes this buzz of luminescent activity including clubs, pachinko parlors, bars and even a red-light district, though this isn’t exactly out of place in Japan. Shinjuku subway station is huge, because it consists of different platforms for different lines, and I actually got a little lost – I couldn’t find the platform for the subway to go back to my hotel and kept walking around in circles – and had to ask an employee for help. He couldn’t speak English but he helpfully directed me in the right direction. It remains the one and only time I’ve ever gotten lost inside a subway.

Shibuya is a well-known shopping district but is famous for something weird – a street crossing that is the world’s busiest. That’s because when the lights turn red, pedestrians from several directions converge creating a special sight. I admit I went there in the evening specifically to see the crossing in effect. The intersection is surrounded by brightly lit stores, buildings and large ads that create a spectacle similar to Times Square in New York. I wasn’t the only one there taking pictures though, and there were even a few Western tourists recording it! This crossing was seen in Lost in Translation, the movie with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as two American strangers in Tokyo who become close friends for a few days.
Those were also the only two downtown districts I visited since with only four days, I had to limit which places I went to in this vast city.

I also dropped by Akihabara, the famous tech and manga neighborhood, twice, but didn’t spend too much time there. I saw the manga and maid cafes, with girls dressed as maids handing out flyers in the streets, and I went into a couple of stores.
My flight back to Taiwan was on AirAsiaJapan at 7.45 am, so I had to race to take the subway and then the airport bus to make it on time or face having to take the taxi which would have cost about US$200. I arrived with just about an hour to spare, but I wasn’t the only AirAsia passenger to do so since the line at the counter was really long. The flight was uneventful but I remember the flight attendants were very, very attractive.
So, this is it for my 2013 Japan trip series. Thankfully, I’ve finished it before the end of 2015!

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Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Shinjuku, which houses educational institutions
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Shinjuku at night
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Approaching Shibuya Crossing
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The lights turn red and this massive collection of humanity flows in all directions 
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Back in Shinjuku
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Tokyo Government Municipal Building, headquarters of the metro government
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Female nude sculpture at the base of the Tokyo Municipal Government Building

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Akihabara at night
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Akihabara during the day
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Shinjuku office buildings
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My last meal in Japan, sauce-covered hamburger and potatoes from Hoto-Moto (spelling may not be correct), a fast food place near my hotel
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Subway at 5.15 in the morning, on the way to Ginza station where I’d then have to race upstairs to get the airport bus.

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4 thoughts on “Japan travel- Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Shibuya districts

  1. Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Akihabara are very Japanese places to visit. I think many people in the world know about them and have visited them because they are so iconic. I love shopping in Shinjuku & Shibuya, and I think it’s strange also that the famous landmark is the Shibuya scramble crossing. It’s been ages since I’ve had Hotto Motto! Thanks for sharing your Japan photos and travel experience ^^

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    1. I wish I’d spent more time there, especially Akihabara and Shinjuku. It’s been a pleasure sharing the posts. Thanks, please keep visiting.

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  2. I absolutely love Shibuya, an energy like no other. Tokyo is overwhelming to be sure, and there’s Akihabara and Harajuku as well… Shibuya is among the best big city centers in the whole world!

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