Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Christmas in Tokyo: Overview

When winter holiday rolled around, I chose to stay in Japan, intent on getting to know some of the more distant parts of this country. Tokyo was an obvious choice, if not my first, but it turned out to be the best compromise between someplace warm, fun, and affordable to travel to, and it was a blast! Caito from Noshiro came along as my travel buddy, and in Tokyo, we met up with Jon from Honjo and his friend Kisa. We were there for four and a half days and saw a lot in that time. So much so, in fact, that I think it's best if I write about it over a series of posts.

And this right here is the Japan Railways Seishun 18 ticket, the cheapest way to travel locally for anyone living in Japan (if you don't live in Japan, you can buy the even niftier JR Pass). This ticket gives you five days (consecutive or no) of access to all regular trains in Japan. The downside, of course, is that you can't take any of the express trains or Shinkansen (bullet trains). For us, this meant that it would take two days to travel to or from Tokyo, but we didn't mind. The countryside views as we crossed the "Japanese Alps" were beautiful, and in all, we each paid about the equivalent of $100 for a round trip to and from Tokyo.

Tokyo is huge. It's effectively twenty-three independent cities in one, each with it's own unique attractions and atmosphere. There are more than 8 million people living in the city itself, and as much as 30 million in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, making it the largest metropolitan area in the world with a fourth of Japan's entire population.

I've decided to divide up my posts based on the different areas we visited just to make it easier on myself. Up first will be Ueno and Asakusa.


Sean said...

I have only 1 question:
If Hiro leaves Sugamo on the Mita Line at 4:30pm and Oshi leaves from Ryogoku on the Asakusa line at 4:35pm, will they make it in time for the Geisha Theater that starts at 6:25pm?

At least the subway map looks easy to follow!


amanda moore said...

I'm glad for the new post.
I was tired of thinking of canned cheese every time I checked your blog...