Friday 14th – Akihabara and Asakusa
Akihabara – also known as Akihabara Electric Town – is the mecca for the otaku (the ultimate Japanese geeks, obsessive followers of manga (comics), anime (animated versions of manga), and gadgets of all varieties). So we just had to come visit…
We wandered through Radio City first, a rabbit warren of small stalls selling every variety of electronic and electrical components imaginable. Then around some of the manga and anime shops, before finding the motherlode – Yodobashi Camera’s largest store in Japan.
It has 9 massive floors filled with electrical and electronics goods, games, toys, models and much more. Here are just a few pics from the interior, along with James’ ultimate purchase – a Gundam Mobile Suit model – I think it’s going to take a while to build…
After so much modern technology, we wanted to find more of the traditional old Japan. Since so much of Tokyo was destroyed in the Second World War, there are few ‘old town’ districts left – Asakusa is the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi (literally “low city”). We headed there to stroll the Sensoji temple complex, grab some lunch in a Tokyo pub, and look around the local shops that still supply fans, kimonos and other essentials to the remaining geisha community.
After all this shopping excitement we headed back to Shinjuku for dinner at our first find. Then decided we had to see Shibuya crossing at night – really starting to feel I was in Bladerunner territory here. Not chucking down with rain, but the amount of sweat I was producing in 33°C and 90% humidity made me feel just as damp. This gallery also has some general views of buildings in and around Shinjuku, and from our hotel.
(PS One last photo: Japan is the only place in the world to have a Thomas the Tank Engine theme park. This photo shows James’ deep and lasting attachment to the little blue engine. )
Saturday 15th – Leaving Tokyo…
Our final task in Tokyo was to secure suits for James for sixth form. Luckily we had a branch of ‘The Suit Factory’ just around the corner from the hotel, and the friendly and efficient staff soon had him sorted out.
One last photo of one entrance to our station – Shinjuku station is known as one of the busiest in the world. This photo doesn’t really do it justice – it really does process an average of 3.5 million people per day!