Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tokyo: Marunouchi and Shinjuku – old royalty and youthful cosplay and characters

Imperial Palace, Tokyo
Quite coincidentally, our next places continue the theme of contrast in Tokyo.

The first is the tradition and formality of the Imperial Palace in Marunouchi. Once the site of an Edo Castle belonging to the Tokagawa Family, it became the home of the Emperor when he moved here from Kyoto when the Shogunate was overthrown on 1868. The Imperial Palace was built in 1888, and remains the home of the Emperor.

Imperial Palace, Tokyo

As such, the palace itself is not able to be visited. There is a tour available, but only of the inner gardens, you still don’t get to go inside any buildings, so we didn’t bother. We stuck to wandering around the extensive East Park Gardens.
Imperial Palace, Tokyo
Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Yoyogi Park, Tokyo
 For our next area today, we move on to Shinjuku. We took a walk through Yoyogi Park, where it seemed half the city was out enjoying the sunshine.

There were dog walkers, bunch of (some not so happy) expat kids being made to run circuits etc, and plenty of people having picnics.

Butler, Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

One particular group caught our eye, as they had a butler. He was dressed in a suit and bowler hat, and was kept busy serving them food and drinks. That's not something you see in London.

Takeshita Dori, Tokyo

From the park, we headed out to Takeshita Dori, known for its comic and cosplay shops. The street was packed with young people looking for a new outfit or some other merchandise.

Takeshita Dori, Tokyo

We didn't need any fancy dress, but we did find a good place to eat, with tasty gyoza and ramen noodles.

Nearby, we spotted an interestingly named shop - see the photo - and a guy with a pram full of Persian cats. When I say full, I do mean full, I counted at least eight, but there may have been more - there was so much fur that it was hard to tell where one ended and another started!


It seemed cute, and certainly attracted a lot of attention but, whilst I know Persians can be pretty lazy, given how docile they were, I suspect that the cats must be drugged, which meant that we didn't feel we could encourage it by joining in.

Character Street, Tokyo Station

Our last stop in this post was back near Marunouchi, and to Tokyo Station. It may seem a strange destination, but it does attract thousands of people for two main draws - Ramen Street and Tokyo Character Street.

Character Street, Tokyo Station
Ramen Street, as you might expect, has ramen noodle restaurants, including some of the best ones in Tokyo. People queue for ages to get in to some of these places.

Not being particular connoisseurs of ramen, we were happy to settle for one that was clearly still very popular, but had a shorter queue.

KitKats, Tokyo Station

If you feel the need for dessert, you can always pop into one of the sweet shops, that sell all kinds of Japanese sweet treats.

Alternatively, you could head to the shop that sells just about any flavour of KitKat you could imagine, including Matcha (green tea), strawberry cheesecake and wasabi.

Gudetama, Character Street, Tokyo Station
And then there is Tokyo Character Street, which has 26 shops all dedicated to a particular character. This is the place to come for all of your merchandise for anime characters, Hello Kitty, Snoopy, Miffy, or a host of others.

One that particularly caught my eye was a character shaped as a fried egg; his name is Gudetama, and he is a very lazy egg, that does as little as he possibly can manage.

Character Street, Tokyo Station

Character Street, Tokyo Station

No comments:

Post a Comment

We like to hear from you too, so please leave us a message here. We are also happy to answer any questions if we can help. Comments are moderated so will not appear straight away and there could be some delay in replying if we are travelling.