After going to Tokyo Disney on Thursday, Aly was nice enough to suggest that I go explore Tokyo by myself on Friday instead of going to Legoland. I jumped at the idea and I chose a few places and hand-drew directions. It didn’t hit me until recently that I was wandering through a city of 13 million people (38 million in the metro area), without a data plan or a smartphone or a real map, without any real knowledge of where I was or where I was going. Pretty crazy.
I went on the metro to one place and was barely able to get on the train as it was packed so so so tight. I couldn’t even imagine the number of people outside the doors being able to fit inside and yet we all did. Interestingly enough, there were 4 cars at the end of the train which were for women only during rush hours (aka all the time). I got off at the wrong stop and then asked someone where to go and then I went somewhere else and then I got off the metro and onto the street. I honestly had no idea where I was going so I just wandered down the streets in the general direction where I thought the garden should be. My hand-drawn map wasn’t as reliable as I wanted it to be. After 8 blocks and 10-15 minutes of walking, I found the National Garden.
The first stop on my list was to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I was missing nature and was hoping for some cherry blossoms. As it was only March, they weren’t out in full force yet but I did get some photos of some lovely buds.
After wandering thoroughly through the garden for a while, I stopped by a small shop and got a Japanese tea cakes. Those are always really cheap (30-100 yen) and really yummy. After exiting on the other side of the garden, I walked another 5 blocks until I got to a metro stop which wasn’t the right one so I had to walk a bit further. What’s most frustrating about the Tokyo metro system is that the metro lines are owned by 3+ different companies. So, if I buy an “all-day pass” or even a ticket it only applies to parts of the metro. I was trying to transfer from one station to another and I couldn’t because even though they were in the same station, I couldn’t use the ticket.
Anywho, next up the Meiji Shrine.