Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Tokyo, with a metropolitan population of over 28 million people, is the world's most populous city. The urban mass spreads out across the Kanto Plain from Tokyo Bay like liquid pancake dough on a hot griddle.

Rising from the ashes of WWII, the story of Tokyo is a miraculous one becoming one of the world's leading economic centres. A fascinating combination of old and new, the push-pull of ancient culture to avant-garde architecture, kimono clad women to dark suited salary men, makes for an incredible experience of people watching and site seeing.

Herb and I spent the last four days of our 2 month trip in Tokyo. With over 23 wards comprising metropolitan Tokyo, one can spend a good portion of a lifetime trying to see it all.

We spent our time seeing just a few districts close to our youth hostel taking the confusing but super efficient subway and train system to get around.

Here are some highlights from our four days in Tokyo.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

The view of Tokyo from the 18th floor of our youth hostel in the Akihabara District. The highrise towers of the Shinjuku District about a mile away.

On an evening stroll near the Imperial Palace, we came across the
dancing water fountains on a modern plaza

The city that never sleeps. Pulsating street scenes - both people and buildings.

Food on the go

You got to have nerves of steel to cycle in Tokyo

Avante-garde architecture in the office tower districts

The new federal office complex (above and below)

The cool Cocoon Building in the midst of the Shinjuku DistrictThis modern building was some kind of historic museum

During lunch hour, we came across an exhibition promoting the use of "green energy." The cute gal on the bike was generating electricity to power the model railroad layout.

Herb taking a pic of Shinkansen train

We took a spin on a velo taxi

A Taiko Drum group blew out our ear drums!

My favorite new building - Cocoon Tower

A hemisphere lobby, a dramatic entry to the Cocoon

A modern reception desk graced by a couple lookers!

The view from the interior of the hemisphere

Neat aluminum lattice skin of Cocoon Tower

Cool hand-painted banners in Yakitori Alley in the Shinjuku District

Banners reflect lively street scenes

Narrow Yakitori Alley full of restaurants and bars - street comes alive after dark

The Entertainment Streets of Shinjuku District (above and below).
A lively fun place.

Time for lunch at a sushi bar with revolving sushi train

Puffer Fish sushi anyone?!! They're poisonous and
only licensed sushi chefs are allowed to serve them.

It's Friday and the liquor delivery men were busy (above and below)

Cute little beer delivery 3-wheeler

We got culture and toured the National Art Museum . . . a very cool modern musem.

Dramatic columns and cafes

Expansive 2-story glass walls provide plenty of natural light

Hey we're in Tokyo so we had to check out the Ginza - the Rodeo Drive of Japan

Ginza Street scenes

On the weekends, Ginza Street is closed to traffic

Japan has gone to the dogs too - strolling the Ginza

CHIPS of Tokyo - cool cycles. Luv the lights!

A buffed chick pulls these rickshaws

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