Japan · Travel Tales

Tokyo: From Akihabara to Roppongi, with the Imperial Palace and Ginza in between

Tokyo Day 2 Notes

  • around 8:30 AM
    • go to Ueno Sta.
    • visit Ueno Zoo (admission: ¥300)
    • alternative: Tokyo National Museum (admission: ¥300); temples (free)
  • around 11:00 AM
    • from Ueno Sta., take JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara (¥140)
    • go crazy shopping and hunting for anime/manga-related stuff
  • around 1:00 PM
    • from Akihabara Sta., take JR Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Sta. (¥160)
    • walk to the Sakurada-mon gate of Imperial Palace East Gardens (open to public)
    • have take-out lunch/snacks and take pictures
  • around 3:00 PM
    • walk back to Yurakucho Sta., then walk to the opposite direction going to Ginza
    • visit Kabukiza Theater (or just hang out in the basement, which is full of stores)
    • visit the many other stores and buildings in Ginza
  • around 5:00 PM
    • from Ginza, take the Hibiya Line to Roppongi Sta. (¥170)
    • have dinner in one of the buildings close by
  • 8:00 PM (or anytime between 10:00 AM to 10:30 PM)
    • go to Mori Tower
    • go to the Mori Tower Observation Deck (52nd floor of Mori Tower; entrance: ¥1500)
Edison and Angel at the Akihabara Station
Edison and Angel at the Akihabara Station

Akihabara is an otaku paradise. I haven’t been an otaku in ages (cue anime/J-pop music of the late 90s), but all the feels were felt once we stepped out of Akihabara Station.

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Akihabara
Evangelion!
Evangelion!

On the other hand, we made a beeline to…erm, a five-floor sex store for research purposes only. There were floors that were off-limits to us ladies, so Edison went ahead to have a look at the even weirder stuff.

We did buy some cute trinkets and stationery at a store nearby. I was able to score a cheap scarf hanger; I bought it especially because, like many things in Japan, I’d never seen one before. 😀

Obligatory train station photoshoot
Obligatory train station photoshoot

After Akihabara, we took the train again to the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda ward. It was such a pleasant walk going there.

On our way to the Imperial Palace
On our way to the Imperial Palace
Look at how clean the streets are!
Look at how clean the streets are!

Going there, we came across stalls in the middle of a park where we brought out our snacks bought a day earlier at Don Quijote in Asakusa. Pigeons came to partake of our bread crumbs. Meanwhile, I included a bar of heavenly Häagen Dazs ice cream in my meal — not very cheap, but cheap if I compared it to Häagen Dazs in the Philippines.

You’d need reservations to enter the grounds of the Imperial Palace — and reservations are difficult to come by — so we just walked around the vast East Gardens and gazed at the greenery along with the few tourists that were there that day.

Imperial Palace East Gardens
Imperial Palace East Gardens

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Afterward, we took a long walk to Ginza. The walk brought us to wide boulevards approaching Tokyo Station. Going there, we had to cross a bridge over a river (with an actual swan, wow — the little things amazed me here).

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What I really found lovely was how natural elements were always part of urban planning in Tokyo.
They were sketching the Tokyo Station :)
They were sketching the Tokyo Station 🙂
Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station

We walked along narrower streets, stopping by the Yurakucho Concourse, where we snacked on yakitori and beer in one of the hole-in-the-wall shops there. I have to say, this is one of my most favorite parts of the trip — it was unexpected, there were very few tourists, and it felt very…normal. We spent some quiet time here to take a breather and just talk.

Yurakucho Concourse
Yurakucho Concourse
At the Yurakucho concourse amidst old movie posters
At the Yurakucho concourse amidst old movie posters

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We walked some more, weaving our way through office buildings, until we reached high-end Ginza. I have very few pictures of Ginza, actually — I think we were too busy gaping at buildings with high-end brand names. Somehow we found ourselves in a basement where stalls sold traditional snacks, as though in a trade center. It turned out that we were in the basement of the Kabukiza theater!

We took the subway again to Roppongi Hills. For a long while, we rested our feet in the garden of one of the buildings. Then we went to a Fuji camera museum, had curry dinner, and shopped a bit in Uniqlo (where there was a sale!).

Roppongi Hills
Roppongi Hills

Then, as night fell, we went to the observation deck on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower.

Tokyo skyline at night. Taken at the Mori Tower Observation Deck at Roppongi Hills
Tokyo skyline at night. Taken at the Mori Tower Observation Deck at Roppongi Hills

And that gorgeous picture up there basically summed up our long, amazing day.

Thanks to Edison and Mommy Ai for the itinerary above!

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