One Year in Tokyo: City of Contradictions

Fellow travelholic, blogger and good friend, Ana, recently celebrated her one year anniversary as an expat living in Tokyo. To mark this occasion, Ana has compiled a series of snapshots reflecting her time in a city she calls, "a city full of delightful contradictions". 
Shibuya intersection crossing japan pedestrians
Shibuya intersection - just before the lights turn green.
A few days are just not enough to comprehend them all. Over the past year, I’ve had thirteen sets of friends and families visit me in Tokyo and am often asked for recommendations on what to do. In order to save repeating myself, and to also reminisce through some fantastic memories, I’ve listed below a suggested itinerary to give a mix of Tokyo’s bright lights and quiet alleyways. I know I haven’t covered everything, and can only speak from my own experience. But hopefully this gives you some helpful ideas and motivates you to come and visit this food and photography mecca.


Get off the Narita Express at Shibuya. If you exit at the Hachiko Gate, you’ll find yourself caught in the midst of an intersection on steroids. The sheer volume of people that use this crossing yet religiously follow the zebra lines makes for a great introduction to Japan. It’s crowded, but orderly. Most tourists go to the second floor of the adjacent Starbucks for a higher view - however the overpass connecting Shibuya Station’s Tokyu Mall to Mark City offers a similar but less crowded view.

Shibuya intersection crossing japan pedestrians
Shibuya crossing - crowded but orderly
Shibuya intersection japanese person what's your dream sign
"What's your dream?"
Spend hours shopping in Shibuya, and if you like – continue the shopping spree through the skyscrapers of Shinjuku – only a station away from Shibuya on the Yamanote line. Shinjuku is a behemoth of shopping districts.

If you’re still in Shinjuku and looking for some personal space, head to one of Tokyo’s best parks, Shinjuku Gyoen. This 150 acres garden is one of the best places to view the cherry blossoms during hanami season.

Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen japanese gardens
Japanese Gardens
Shinjuku Tower tokyo japan flowers
Shinjuku Tower
Hamarikyu Gardens near Tsukiji tea house overlooking lake japan tokyo
Hamarikyu Gardens near Tsukiji boasts a beautiful tea house overlooking the lake
matcha green tea Hamarikyu Gardens near Tsukiji overlooking lake tokyo japan
Sip Matcha green tea while enjoying the view
Meiji Jingu Shrine

I recommend starting a fresh day of exploring at the Meiji Jingu shrine. If you want to do a longer walk through the gardens, take the entrance close to Sangubashi station. Alternatively, walk through Yoyogi Koen and end up at the Harajuku gate and enter Meiji Jingu from there.
Meiji Jingu Shrine tokyo japan
Noel and Ana at Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine tokyo japan
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Yoyogi Koen

saxophone player Yoyogi Koen tokyo japan
A saxophone player in Yoyogi Koen

Autumn in Yoyogi Koen leaves tokyo japan
Autumn in Yoyogi Koen

Hanami (Cherry Blossom season)

Cherry blossom season hanami tokyo japan
Cherry blossom season
Cherry blossom season over bridge tokyo japan
Cherry blossoms over bridge
The Ginza district is adjacent to Otematchi and Marunochi and you can either walk there or take a short subway ride to Ginza station. This place reminds me of Orchard Road in Singapore, with its proliferation of both high and main street flagship stores. Uniqlo’s 12 story flagship store is guaranteed to occupy you for at least an hour. Chou dori is closed to traffic on the weekends between April and September which makes for great people watching on a lazy Sunday / Saturday afternoon. Being so close to the salary man district, it is also the entertainment district for people after work. 
Chuo Dori - Ginza japan tokyo people japanese
Chuo Dori - Ginza
Chuo Dori - Ginza japan tokyo people japanese
Chuo Dori - Ginza
Chuo Dori - Ginza japan tokyo people japanese
Chuo Dori - Ginza

Marunochi tokyo japan
By no means is this an exhaustive list. To see my complete itinerary of a whirlwind tour of Tokyo, click here

xx Ana


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