I was riding the Narita Express heading to downtown Tokyo from Narita International Airport. I couldn’t help it but take some photos of the greenery scenes of Terazaki and the concrete jungle view of Edogawa and Koto while in the train sitting comfortably.
Before I left the United States, I already have a list of places to visit in Tokyo. I also made sure what train stations to ride and what train companies and lines to take. I did this because I only have a limited time to see the city and this was just a layover. I called this adventure, Transit Trip to Tokyo.
I have 8 hours to see Tokyo. This was my itinerary. From Narita International Airport, take the Narita Express and get to Shibuya Station and meet my friend, Chihiro, to visit Hachikō Monument and to see the Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing. After getting something to eat in Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya, I will then, go to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. After the garden, I will visit Anamoriinari Shrine and before going to the airport, to check Ota Tourist Center.
That was the plan but I hit a big speed bump right after I got out of the train. I got lost. My friend told me to meet her in Hachikō Exit but instead, I went to the South Exit and I didn’t have any means of communicating with her. I tried to ask some locals but they don’t speak the language. It took me about 30 mins to find my way back to the train station entrance and when I got there, I met a security guard who showed me the right path to the Hachikō Exit. I was already shaking if my friend was still waiting for me since it has been almost an hour of waiting. When I got out, she found me and I felt relief. I needed few minutes to calm myself and when I was good to go, we decided to go to Hachikō Monument which was just few steps from the exit. Hachikō Monument is very famous around the world. It is a statue that commemorates the loyalty and fidelity of the dog named Hachikō . Hachikō was a pet and would meet with his owner in the Shibuya Station every day after work. When his owner died, he continued to wait for his owner in the station until his last breath waiting for his owner to return. When I was there, the queue was long. I didn’t have time to follow the queue since I still have other places to see. So, I just took a peek and then, moved to the Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing.
It was already 4PM and it was getting darker. I got a lot of photos while in Shibuya Crossing. It was lively, busy, fun and even amidst the chaotic people walking everywhere, it was still great. Shibuya Crossing was considered the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. A traveler can really say that he has been to Tokyo if he take a photo when in Shibuya.
After that scary, energy-draining incident of getting lost in translation, Chihiro and I decided to go for dinner. We already planned to dine in Ichiran Ramen.
Ichiran Ramen is popular in Japan according to my friend. It has one of the best the ramens in town. When we got there, we still have to be in queue. Ordering was thru a vending machine and when a seat is available, they will call you. The Ichiran Ramen experience was differently odd but in a good way. Diners won’t be able to see the people making and delivering your bowl of ramen. The restaurant has been called for people who want to dine alone or anti-social beings. The set-up was a cubicle just for one diner and was separated by a divider which you can also fold if you want to talk to your seatmate. The concept of not seeing the waiter or cook or the staff was unique. They just emphasized to ramen lovers to enjoy their ramen and there shouldn’t be anything in between your bowl of ramen and you. It was cool and the ramen tasted very good.
My belly was full after that Ichiran Ramen experience. It was affordable and definitely, travelers should try when in Shibuya or Japan. We went back to the streets. It was already dark. I thought the gardens and shrine will be closed by then. It was around 5:10PM. My friend recommended to see Meiji Jingu Shrine. We walked for about 20 mins but to our surprise, the shrine was already closed. They closed early due to renovation. She brought me to Takeshita Street.
Takeshita Street is a popular pedestrian street that features trendy independent and chain shops, along with eateries. It is in Harajuku and is known for wacky, youth-driven shops selling colorful and crazy clothes and accessories. It is crowded but a mecca for youth fashion in Harajuku style.
It was already 6PM and I’m due to head back to the airport to continue my journey home. We went to Harajuku Station and got a ticket for me to go to Haneda International Airport.
My transit trip to Tokyo was indeed short. I missed a lot of places that I planned to visit but it was OK since I got to see other locations while my friend was touring me around. I would definitely love to come back to Japan. This time, it would be more of temples and shrines and of course, the mountains and nature.
Check my vlog entry for my Transit Trip to Tokyo by checking my YouTube channel: