I recently had someone ask me what they should do for one day in Tokyo. They had a 24 hour stop over and wanted to check it out. My brain malfunctioned a little bit. 24 hours in Tokyo!?!? How? What? Impossible? Nothing! Can’t! Overwhelming! I managed to get my brain back together and recommend a couple spots and of course ramen/soba/katsu anywhere/everywhere, but it made me think about how incomprehensibly vast Tokyo is. We’ve had the opportunity to spend a couple weeks there and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
On the first day of our visit to Japan a couple years ago, we went up to the observation deck of a tall building in Shinjuku and looked over the city. It went on forever, depth and breadth. Literally as far as the eye can see, and dense. Last night I decided to look up the size of Tokyo in relativity to other cities to see if I could get some context to explain this massiveness. I figured it would be up there, maybe in the top 5 biggest cities, along with some Indian and Chinese cities. Nope, it is number 1 by a LONG SHOT. Now to be fair there are different ways of measuring size and inaccurate methods of measurement, but it’s safe to say that the feeling that we’ll never be able to see all there is to see in Tokyo is very very justified. Guys, there’s more people in the metropolitan area of Tokyo than there is in all of Canada. There’s nothing quite like it.
You wouldn’t know how busy it is from these next few photos though. Turns out we Canadians have a knack for finding quiet spots in busy places, and the Japanese are experts at creating peaceful oases to be found. We checked out Blue Bottle coffee, a hip coffee spot out of San Francisco, and then head over to the National Art Center. The art center is a place I’d seen on Instagram and couldn’t resist visiting due to the incredible architecture. You don’t even need to see any of the exhibitions to appreciate the beauty, though if you aren’t there with a toddler you should probably do that too.
Later that day (is that why Sloane looks so tired in all these photos?) Colin went to meet up with his cousin in Akihabara for some super special ramen, and Sloane and I braved the Tokyo metro for the first time on our own! Felt pretty rockstar to finally master what every Japanese woman does no problem. We met up to check out another unique Japanese speciality, an owl cafe. The owner of this cafe is a friend of Colin’s cousin, and Colin actually helped with some of the English translation for the cafe guidebook, so we also wanted to see what it was all about. I’ll be honest, my feelings on this are pretty mixed. As you can see, the owls are beautiful and it was a privilege to get to be so close to them, but the wild animal in captivity thing is tricky.
One day in Tokyo, one thousand photos. To be continued!