Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TOKYO, JAPAN- DAY 4

Sadly, the Korea leg of the trip would now be ending, but at least that meant that now the Japanese adventure would begin! The flight leaving Korea was around 11am, so there was no time to squeeze in anything else in Seoul, but I felt content with how much of the city I did get to see and experience thanks to Danny & Lilac. The flight to Tokyo was short (only 2 hours), but then it is a one hour train journey from the airport all the way to the city. I decided to stay in the Asakusa area of Tokyo (as recommended by Danny's friends from Japan who were at his wedding). But, as for a place to stay in Asakusa, well...that part I had not planned. I found out from someone at the airport that it might be difficult finding a place to stay in Asakusa because the weekend I would be there was the weekend of the Sanja Festival (the BIGGEST festival in all of Tokyo). So, I looked in my "trusty" Fodor's guide and looked for a Ryokan (a Japanese-style room where you sleep on the floor). The one with the Fodor's Choice star was the Ryokan Mikawaya Honten. The location was perfect (in the heart of Asakusa- right next to the Kaminari-mon gate, the Senso-ji Complex, and the Nakamise souvenir market), and the price was right (Japan is SOOOOOOOOO expensive, so it was okay staying in a not so place for just two nights). Well, I have to say that I can officially no longer trust Fodor's!!! The place was basically a youth hostel! Don't get me wrong, the staff was very nice and very accommodating, and the room was clean, but the ryokan overall was not! Look at the room...This was the Jet Set Smart way to travel from a financial aspect, but not from the perspective of finding a great place for a great price! Well, I finally got over it (figuring I would only be there 2 nights), and decided to head out and check out the area of Asakusa. Asakusa is located in the northeastern area of Tokyo. It is rich in history and traditional culture, and is considered a "top-of-the-list" destination in most Tokyo travel material. You will find Asakusa to be a unique and spiritual place (with a bit of a commercial and tourist vibe), but it's definitely the sort of neighborhood where you will see locals walking their dogs. Life in Asakusa is slow-paced and uncomplicated. Heading out that night, I got to see some of the beginning of the Sanja Festival. The Sanja Festival is held annually over the third weekend of May, and is said to be the biggest, loudest, wildest party in Tokyo. I also got to do a lot of eating...Asakusa has these great outside eateries where people go to munch on fried foods and beer...so when in Rome...


Stay tuned for Day 5 in Tokyo and a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market!

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