Sunday, July 19, 2015

TRAVEL | tokyo photo diary

Tokyo in 2015 seems so different from Tokyo in { 2013 }.

It was an unpopular opinion, but I wasn't that impressed the capitol of Japan on my last visit to the city. Hm, maybe 'impressed' isn't the right word, but I just didn't like it as much as I had expected to? Maybe it was because the first time I spent so much of my energy jumping from one end of the city to the other searching for those famous Tokyo landmarks. And from what I learned from my trip to { Rome } : tourist attractions are never fun.

This time I took on Tokyo with a whole other mindset: plan nothing. I still had my bookmarks from my previous trip saved in my google maps with some new locations added in throughout the years, but that was about it. No schedule, no sights, and guess what?

I love Tokyo now.

Not to say a schedule of sorts was the root of all my problems. And while I did enjoy my free time wandering about the city I think the thing that really topped off this fantastic weeks were the people I spent my days with in Tokyo. Not only did I get to catch up with old friends from the states, but I also discovered that two of my classmates from middle school were living and working in Tokyo. There were also fellow SCAD folks in the city as well.

The most miraculous part was that none of the meetings were pre-planned—I had no idea they were all going to be there, and vice versa. I guess these are the perks of being an international kid.

This time I stayed in Asakusa again. I couldn't find a hostel I liked more than Khaosan Kabuki on Hostelworld and jumped at the chance to stay there again. Even though I'm not a morning person, my favorite time of day in Asakusa is in the early mornings. It's one of the major tourist destinations away from the city center due to the famous Sensō-ji temple and the Kaminarimon gate. Therefore, this place is usually swarming with people by the time 11am rolls around. But if you're able to wake up early enough to experience Asakusa in the morning, I would highly recommend it because the little streets and tiny shops will charm the socks off of you.

I'm conflicted between my loyalty to Hong Kong's trademark pineapple bun but I have to admit that this melon pan from { Kagetsudō } is pretty damn delicious. Light and fluffy on the inside with a crunchy, sugary, cookie top.

One of my favourite things to do in Tokyo--or in general--is to check out local coffee shops. Not suprisingly, Tokyo's coffee game is on point. There were a few scattered around the city center that I told myself I had to visit. This method of travel took me all around city and off the beaten path. I strolled through countless residential streets on the hunt for a good cuppa, and yes, while some walks were long, I got to visit some neighbourhoods I wouldn't have gone to otherwise

I wish I had been better prepared for Yoyogi Park. It was a beautiful afternoon and every one had picnic gear all packed and ready. Too bad I didn't have a blanket, water, and snacks with me or else I would've spent all afternoon lounging on the grass.

Best part to this story is that Tokyo wasn't even supposed to happen. I had originally booked a flight to Seoul--for the same week—but due to the MERS virus my parents persuaded me to cancel the trip. With no more trip to Korea and so much free time left I decided to book a flight to Tokyo on a whim. At first I was unsure about how it would go but now I have to say it was one of the best decisions of the year!

Lastly, I'd like to give a shoutout to the staff at Khaosan Kabuki Hostel. They are truly some of the nicest people I've ever met. They made Tokyo feel like home and I'm definitely hoping to go back again soon.

photo 18 + 19 by { Tina Leung }

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