Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Taken from the Annual Edogawa Fireworks Display (August 2, 2008)

Let me be the first one to greet you a very very happy new year! Have a very blessed and peaceful 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Happy birthday to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Guide To Tokyo

As you may know by now, Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world. The energy of this city is unbelievable and everyone is up and about 24/7. In spite of these, it still remains as one of the most orderly and safest cities in the world. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to live in Tokyo for 6 months. During this time, I was able to explore the city and appreciate its unique charm. To help you plan your vacation, I listed some of the must-see places in Tokyo.

1) Harajuku/Omotesando/Downtown Shibuya
These areas are three of the most popular shopping districts in Tokyo. Harajuku offers cheap and trendy clothes and mostly caters to teenagers. In fact, the famous Takeshita Street in Harajuku is said to have the most concentration of teenage girls in all of Japan. Nearby Omotesando, on the other hand, offers high end luxury brands. Name it, Omotesando has it. When you go shopping, don't forget to check out the side streets of Harajuku and Omotesando. There are many hidden gems there. Lastly, Shibuya offers hip and trendy clothes and is just 5-10 minutes away from Omotesando by foot. It is also famous for its restaurants and nightlife.

Aside from shopping, Harajuku is also home to one of the most famous shinto shrines in Tokyo - the Meiji Shrine. It is a quiet sanctuary compared to the hustle and bustle of nearby Harajuku and Omotesando.

JR Harajuku Station (taken on February 16, 2008)

Takeshita Street (taken on February 16, 2008)

a) Harajuku and Omotesando: JR Yamanote Line Harajuku Station, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Meiji-jingu Mae Station, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon/Ginza/Chiyoda Line Omotesando Station
b) Shibuya: JR Shibuya Station, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon/Ginza/Fukutoshin Line Shibuya Station, Tokyu Toyoko/Den-en-toshi Line Shibuya Station

2) Shinjuku
Shinjuku is the home to some of the highest buildings and offices in Tokyo. Aside from this, it is also a popular shopping spot. But unlike Harajuku/Omotesando/Shibuya, Shinjuku caters to the older age group and has a large concentration of department stores. Other than shopping, Shinjuku is also famous for its nightlife especially the infamous red-light district Kabuki-cho.

Shinjuku (taken on December 23, 2007)

JR Shinjuku Station, Odakyu Line Shinjuku Station, Keio Shinjuku Station, Toei Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Station

3) Akihabara

Home of the "otaku" culture, Akihabara is the place to go to find cheap electronics, games, gadgets, etc. On sundays, parts of Akihabara are closed to traffic to accommodate the large number of shoppers. The best time to shop is during holidays such as the golden week (May 3-5) and new years day since most shops go on sale. Make sure to catch the best deals.

Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Akihabara Station, JR Akihabara Station, Tsukuba Express Akihabara Station

4) Ginza/Tsukiji/Odaiba

Ginza is a high-end shopping district located in eastern Tokyo packed with shops and department stores. Just like Akihabara, parts of Ginza are closed to traffic on Sundays because of the influx of shoppers. A few minutes away from Ginza is Tsukiji, home of the world famous Tsukiji Market. 5-10 minutes away from Ginza is Odaiba, an artificial island famous for its great views of the city. This place also houses the futuristic Fuji TV office, a large ferris wheel and some good restaurants and nightlife.

Ginza Clock Tower (taken on January 31, 2008)

Odaiba View (taken on February 10, 2008)
Odaiba Ferris Wheel (taken on February 10, 2008)

a) Ginza: JR Yurakucho Station, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho/Ginza Line Ginza Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Higashi Ginza Station
b) Tsukiji: Toei Oedo Line Tsukuji Ichiba Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Tsukiji/Higashi Ginza Station, Toei Asakusa Line Higashi Ginza Station
c) Odaiba: Yurikamome Line, Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit

5) Tokyo Tower/Roppongi

The landmark of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower, is a 333m high tower and is a great place to view Tokyo's cityscape. For more information, you can check out my post on Tokyo's night views. A few minutes away by foot from Tokyo Tower is the ultimate nightlife district of Tokyo, Roppongi. This place is lined with bars and restaurants which is packed with both locals and foreigners alike. Roppongi is also home to high-end malls such as Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown.

Odaiba Ferris Wheel (taken on January 20, 2008)

Roppongi Hills (taken on July 26, 2008)

a) Tokyo Tower: Toei Oedo Line Akabanebashi Station, Toei Mita Line Onarimon Station, Toei Asakusa Line Daimon Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Kamiyachou Station, JR Yamate Line Hamamatsuchou Station
b) Roppongi: Toei Oedo Line Roppongi Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Roppongi Station

6) Asakusa

Asakusa is one of the older districts of Tokyo. It is home to the famous Sensoji temple - Tokyo's largest Buddhist temple. Aside from this, Asakusa is also known for cheap and delicious food.

Sensoji Temple (taken on February 10, 2008)

Sensoji Temple Pagoda (taken on February 10, 2008)

Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station, Toei Asakusa Line Asakusa Station, Tokyo Metro, Tobu Isesaki Line Asakusa Station

7) Marunouchi Area

The Marunouchi Area is filled with offices, restaurants and some shopping areas. But the main attractions of this area are the Imperial Palace, Diet Building and the Tokyo Station. To fully appreciate the beauty of Tokyo, you can ride an open bus that departs from Marunouchi for 1200 yen. There are several tours available depending on your taste.

Imperial Palace (taken on July 20, 2008)

By the Imperial Palace (taken on July 20, 2008)

Tokyo Station (taken on July 20, 2008)

JR Tokyo Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line Tokyo Station

8) Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea

The Tokyo Disney Resort consists of two separate theme parks - Disney Land and Disney Sea. If you want to explore both, you have to allot 2 days minimum. Disneyland caters more to the kids while Disney Sea is more for the adults. Check out the official site of Tokyo Disney Land for more information.

Disney Resorts Entrance (taken on May 5, 2008)

Disney Sea (taken by my friend Winai on May 5, 2008)

Disney Sea Map (taken on May 5, 2008)

JR Keiyo Line/Musashino Line Maihama Station