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Published: November 20th 2011
Our first impressions of Japan? Wow! After flying in from Delhi, it's like night and day. We're not trying to be disrespectful to India, but Delhi and Varanasi are two of the dirtiest and noisiest places we've been to. Our impressions are only enhanced by the fact that Tokyo is amazingly spotless. Coming into town on the train from Narita airport we couldn't help but notice that there was not a single piece of trash along the railway tracks...not on the streets, not anywhere! Walking around town was even more of an eye-opener. We could actually walk...on wide sidewalks...without looking at our feet the whole time. And wait...it's eerily quiet too. Sure there's plenty of traffic on the roads, but in the three days we spent in Tokyo we only once heard a horn. Traffic obeys all street signs and lights, and they even stop for pedestrians (who never j-walk even if there is no traffic). This is all just a little too creepy for a huge metropolitan city of 8 million people. We're loving it. Obviously the streets are crowded at times and at rush hour the trains are packed like sardines, but not once have we ever been pushed
nor have we had to push our way through a crowd. It all just works. It's not only a city planning miracle, we also have to take our hats off to the Japanese people who are proud of where they live and have the respect to keep things tidy and orderly. Also they have really cool toilets here.
Anyways, on to how we spent our time here in Tokyo. Three days is barely enough to scratch the surface of things to see and do. On our first afternoon while waiting to check into our hotel we inadvertently stumbled upon the Senso-ji temple which is apparently Tokyo's oldest and most impressive temple. We were probably still a little too tired from our flights to fully appreciate it, but we had an enjoyable afternoon wandering the shopping streets surrounding the temple. Ramen noodles for dinner completed day one. The next morning we went straight to the Sony building in the Ginza district where we could play with all the latest toys in their massive 6-floor showroom. In the afternoon we made our way to Shinjuku where we went up to the 45th floor viewing decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
to get an appreciation for the scale of the city. That evening we ate the most amazing sushi ever. On day three we were up bright and early at 3:30am so that we could get in line to be in the group of 120 people lucky enough to see the tuna auctions at the Tsukiji fish market. These are some seriously huge fish. One tuna we saw went for the equivalent of $9000 US. The rest of the fish market was fun, but they restricted tourists from entering the whole-seller area until after 9:00am when the action was winding down. Still one of the highlights for sure. In the evening it was off to Shibuya crossing, one of the most famous intersections in Tokyo.
Next stop: Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji!
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