So this is the big one, Tokyo the epicentre of Asia, a huge and influential city and the centre for all things high-tech and technology based and this is my Tokyo story.
Ever since I was young Tokyo has always had a major draw for me. Growing up in the 90s and seeing Tokyo (and Japan) grow into the technology giant of the world helped cemented its importance to me. Being a love of all things techy Tokyo always seemed like a dream city to me always sporting the latest innovations and future tech what was there not to love about Tokyo?
Tokyo is a huge metropolis with a population of over 13 million and with so many distinct districts you can easily lose a few weeks of your life here. It’s stunning and somewhat reminiscent of London for me as you travel from area to area in the city you see how each district has its own unique identity and place in the much larger city.
Although I didn’t manage to make it around all of Tokyo, hell I only just scratched the surface, Tokyo to me represented a great escape to the city (especially after have been living in a small Korean town for a few months prior).
I guess now is a good time to point out I’m very much a city person; the bigger the better and because of this Tokyo was amazing. It felt alive at all hours of the day and I just love how taking the subway would always lead you on a new adventure to another great area of the city. Even walking would lead to new and unexpected surprises around every corner.
Tokyo is a very interesting city (a lot like London) that marries old with new, classic with contemporary to create a colourful multidimensional city. You are never far away from a temple or shrine and being Tokyo there are some truly stunning places to spend your time and money.
Of course for me a major draw was the food, with Tokyo being world-renowned for fine dining and a culture focused around high quality food it was impossible to not eat great food whilst in the city (actually the whole country), and with Japanese food being one of my favourites this was a great time to experience authentic Japanese dining, and I was never disappointed.
The fact that Japan has become a stagnant economy has definitely slowed down a lot of the high-tech and futurist side of the city. Although the sky tree is very impressive, Tokyo as a whole does not feel quite as advanced as Seoul these days which was a shock to me. It does very much feel like a 90s era city and although not inherently a bad thing I had always imagined Tokyo as being a city ten years ahead of the west.
Ok sure it was cool to see a 3D printer in Yodobashi but generally Tokyo didn’t quite feel like the technology hub it once was, but there was plenty of other things to see and do besides roaming the electronic districts so this was more of a surprise than a disappointment.
In part 2: I’ll be exploring the unique culture of Harajuku, the manic shopping of Shibuya, and the scenic riverside garden of Hama Rikyu for when you want to escape the busy city.