During the nearly 15 day February vacation, my friends and I decided to venture outside of Nagoya. Instead of going to 北海道 (Hokkaido) to see the famous さっぽろ雪まつり (Sapporo Snow Festival), we went to 東京 (Tokyo). By bus, it took us about 6 hours to get there from Nagoya. We rented out a small apartment and spent nearly every day somewhere new.
Our first day was spent in 六本木 (Roppongi) and 池袋 (Ikebukuro). In 六本木, we spent time in Roppongi Hills window shopping (everything was a bit too expensive). Afterwards, we walked 15 minutes to get to 東京タワー/Tokyo Tower. From the observation decks, we could see 東京 from all directions and even see 東京スカイツリー (Tokyo Skytree) in the distance. After taking some pictures of the view, we headed to 池袋. I wasn’t expecting much, but when we arrived, I was surprised by how crowded the area was. It was almost equivalent to being in 秋葉原 (Akihabara); there was loud music and bright flashing lights coming from every store. We first headed to Sunshine City and spent some time shopping in Sunshine 60. Within Sunshine 60, there was a cute Valentines event going on where everyone was writing love letters. The Japanese on the red heart-shaped balloons in the pictures below say “If you don’t say it, it would be good if you write it”. We spent the rest of the time exploring some of the game centers and taking プリクラ (purikura).
The next day took us to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine), 秋葉原 (Akihabara), 浅草寺 (Sensouji Temple) in 浅草 (Asakusa) and 東京スカイツリー. Despite how controversial 靖国神社 is to other East Asians, I held no such discontent while visiting the shrine. With an open mind, it was a very calming and peaceful experience. After visiting the shrine, I met up with a Japanese friend of mine in 秋葉原. We ate お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki) for lunch and spent the rest of the time taking プリクラ, while one of the other friends reveled in everything アニメ related. After parting ways with my Japanese friend, we quickly headed over to 浅草. 仲見世通り (Nakamise street) main street leading up to the 浅草寺 and full of very interesting souvenir shops that sell everything from real 刀 to food. I definitely recommend coming to 浅草, as it is a very lively and traditional part of 東京 where you can find some pretty cool souvenirs for family and friends. It is one of my favorite places in 東京. After 浅草寺, we walked about 20-25 minutes to 東京スカイツリー. We didn’t go up to the observation deck because we went to 東京タワー the day before, but spent the rest of our time checking out the huge shopping center around the 東京スカイツリー.
These first couple of days were exceptionally exhausting, but I still have 3 more days to tell you about. Stay tuned!
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<p>Hi, my name is Ashley Bell and I am a Junior Political Science major at Santa Clara University. I'll be spending my spring semester in Nagoya, Japan and am very excited to share my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy seeing Japan through my eyes!</p>