Tokyo (Shinjuku)

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November 8th 2019
Published: February 17th 2020
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Our last day in Tokyo we visited Meiji-jingu Shrine, Tokyo’s grandest Shintō shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. Constructed in 1920, the shrine was destroyed in WWII air raids and rebuilt in 1958. There is an iris garden in the area as well, designed by the Meiji emperor himself to please the empress, which is supposed to be lovely in June. Despite the lack of antiquity this shrine has lots of atmosphere and many visitors, and we were fortunate to be visiting at the same time as a lovely chrysanthemum exhibition, which gave me a new appreciation for the flower. The sprawling forested grounds and the forested path leading to the shrine is a big draw after the hustle and bustle in this part of Tokyo, which admittedly was not our favorite. Clement was on the lookout for tanukis to no avail. Maybe next time!

Also, if you're interested in tea after visiting the shrine you can visit the Shinjuku Gyoen Rakuutie Tea House nearby.

We also had to make a visit to the famous Shibuya Crossing, Japan's (and possibly the world's) busiest intersection.

Our final evening in Tokyo was spent exploring the food and drinking spots of Golden Gai in Shinjuku. There's so many cute choices here - many bars have space for only a few people at a time - and you probably can't go wrong anywhere that will accept you (some places are locals only). I'd heard good things about totobar Shinjuku, with sake and seasonal seafood, but it opened late the night we were there and so we ended up at another lovely little spot. Watch out for steep cover charges if you're considering bar hopping, and don't be the loud drunken tourist embarrassing your fellow travelers in these narrow lanes.

For our brief return to the Japanese capital we changed lodgings to 9 Hours Shinjuku North ( since neither of us had stayed in a capsule hotel before. The obvious downside was that we had to sleep on different sex-segregated floors and couldn't share a pod, making the night more expensive than it would have been otherwise. The 9 Hours chain is relatively new and the pods are extremely comfortable and geared more towards young travelers, rather than the Japanese businessmen for whom this sort of sleeping arrangement was designed. The sex-segregated showers and toilets are on a separate
Ramen Nagi Ramen Nagi Ramen Nagi

Ultra rich ramen and a potato beer in the Golden Gai district of Shinjuku. Delicious!
floor, pods are comfortable and non-claustrophobic, and you can meet up with your fellow travelers on the main floor which also has great views of Shinjuku. Recommended for a single nights rest and female travelers concerned about safety.

Additional photos below
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Hachikō StatueHachikō Statue
Hachikō Statue

Hachikō was a Japanese Akita dog remembered for his loyalty to his owner for whom he continued to wait for over nine years following his death.
9 Hours Shinjuku North9 Hours Shinjuku North
9 Hours Shinjuku North

My sleeping capsule, surprisingly comfortable.

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