I know what you're thinking. "Why would someone do a tour of a city that they had lived in for 6 years?" Well after being away from my beloved Tokyo for a year, you can't blame me for feeling the need to channel my inner tourist and roam around the city. I'm ashamed to say that I never explored Tokyo well enough when I still resided here. It's one of the things that I regret not doing, and it made me realize that it is true when they say that you never really know what you have until you lose it.
One of my best friends, Kayo, tagged along as she's pretty much in the same situation that I am in — finished her freshman year abroad and is back to Tokyo for the summer. Both of our Tokyo temptation were finally satisfied today, and our first stop was at...
This section of Tokyo's Minato ward is popular for its night club scene, much of which caters to foreigners. Many foreign embassies (such as the American embassy and the Philippine embassy to name a few) are located in Roppongi as well.
Roppongi Hills! It's like a city within a city. The building complex features business offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, an art museum, observatory, and more.
Kayo and I got our usual Starbucks drinks because we were dying in the blistering heat.
This spider-looking bronze sculpture called Maman was made by French artist Louise Bourgeois. There are 7 of these in the world, and can be found in Bilboa, St. Peterburg, Korea, Havana, and Ottawa.
Imagine if it was alive. That guy would be dead by now.
Now this is something that you don't see everyday. Dozens of Doraemon's lined up in front of the Mori Tower!
Doraemon is a famous manga and anime series among Japanese children. He is a blue robotic cat from the 22nd century.
Doreamon's original paint color was yellow. After getting his ears gnawed off by a robot mouse, he developed a phobia of mice and slipped into depression on top of a tower, where he drank a potion labelled "sadness", which augmented his depression to the point where, as he wept, his yellow paint washed off.
Time for an OOTD shot!
Zara botanical print sweatshirt, H&M emerald green shorts, GU off-white slip-on sneakers
Our next stop was the original inspiration behind this Tokyo tour that Kayo and I had planned to do. She hasn't been there for a couple of years now, and as for me, it was my first time seeing it up close and going inside.
Hint: It's red and white, built in 1958, and stands 333 metres (1,093 feet) tall.
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー)
The Eiffel-inspired tower acts as a support structure for an antenna for broadcasting signals for Japanese media outlets such as NHK, TBS, and Fuji TV. In 2012, a taller digital broadcasting tower known as Tokyo Skytree was built. Now Tokyo has two coexisting towers.
Reached the top of the tower...
...and was also greeted by a speaking robot.
The city of Tokyo.
There seemed to be a mini-temple inside the Tokyo Tower.
Bird's eye view.
...and Shibuya, my two favorite hangout places in Tokyo.
The tower is perfect for couples on dates.
It's a shame we didn't get to see the sunset because it was too cloudy.
But nonetheless, we still had the city lights to look forward to.
This right here is apparently a 'reflection' of the Tokyo Tower when seen from above. I do somewhat see the resemblance.
The taller tower, Tokyo Skytree, is still visible even from afar.
Odaiba's humongous ferris wheel and Rainbow Bridge.
A fireworks show was being held somewhere in Tokyo while Kayo and I were up the tower.
The inside of Tokyo Tower was lit up in small blue lights to give off that space/Milky Way feeling.
It's been 55 years in the making.
Goodnight Tokyo Tower.
Odaiba is a popular shopping and entertainment district in a large manmade island located in Tokyo Bay. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1850s, dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area.
The twin-deck Rainbow Bridge. I remember going over this bridge when my dad used to drive me and my sister around when we were little.
Another perfect spot for dates. Just look at that view.
Joypolis by Sega! I have only been here once when I was kid but I still remember the rides they had that time (and how I was not allowed to go on them because I was still too small).
Passed by Fuji TV as well.
Daikanransha (大観覧車) is a 115 metres (377 feet) tall ferris wheel located in Palette Town. At night, the wheel is brightly lit up by 120,000 neon tubes that are programmed to display multiple patterns of colors.
The last but definitely not the least:
It is the center of Tokyo's shitamachi (low city), where you can see a glimpse of the atmosphere of Tokyo's past decades.
Kaminarimon (雷門) or "Thunder Gate" is an entrance gate that features a much-photographed giant lantern and statues of guardian gods Raijin (God of Thunder) and Fujin (God of Wind).
The Nakamise shopping arcade leading up to the temple starts right after the gate. Kayo and I purposely chose Asakusa to be our last stop for the day because we wanted to see the arcade at its empty state and the temples lit up.
If you go straight down the arcade, it will lead you to...
...Senso-ji. It is Tokyo's oldest temple. I featured Senso-ji in the quick illustration art that I did for my Missing Tokyo post that I wrote a few months back when I was, well, missing Tokyo.
Just look at those intricate details.
Behind the Hozomon is a pair of giant straw sandals hanging on the wall. Oh, and you can see Tokyo Skytree from here!
Past the Hozomon is the Hondo, or the main hall.
This is where they pray.
View of the back of Hozomon from Hondo. You can see the giant sandals clearly from here.
The temples are only lit up until 11pm, so Kayo and I left right after this shot was taken. We both didn't have anything for dinner as we got too caught up in our tour that we forgot to feed ourselves, so you can only imagine how starved we were at this point. We went to the nearest Yoshinoya we could find, and saw each other off at the station afterwards.
Japan has been my source of energy ever since I came back last May. Regardless of whether it's a revisit to old places that my friends and I used to hang out at or a trip to new places that I've never been to before, either way I feel like my batteries are being recharged. It's also bizarre how much I am able to do in a day when I'm in Tokyo. Kayo and I started this Tokyo tour at 5 in the afternoon and still we made it to 4 different stops around the city. And mind you, these places were not close from each other at all.
There's always something to do in this city. And that's why I love it.