After spending three nights in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, we switched to a different place to stay and went to a hotel in the Taito – But I’ll call it Asakusa since I feel like more people know about Asakusa (even though its just a really small area) and it’s super close to where we were staying – area. We stayed here for another three nights before changing places again. We of course made the most out of the three days we had again. Keep on reading to find out how we spent our time!
If you also want to know what I recommend you to do when you’re in Shinjuku, definitely read this blogpost.
Arriving in Asakusa
We got to the hotel at around 1500, right after visiting the pokémon center, which I write about in my travel diary about our time in Shinjuku. This means we had half a day, two full days and a morning on Asakusa. Same as in Shinjuku. Nice hotel, nice room, just a bit small but we knew that in advance. We checked in, settled down in our room and chilled for a bit because we finally had wifi again. We then went out to have dinner at a place called Denny’s. I’ve heard of Danny, but never Denny, so that was a first haha. We had some simple meals and then went ‘home’ to relax a little more and get some sleep.
First full day
The next morning we woke up at 9, like every morning. Had our simple breakfast, got ready and went out for the day. Today’s schedule: visiting Ueno Zoo and the Botanical garden next to it. Both would take up a lot of time so we didn’t plan anything else. I do feel like I have to mention the fact that I’m not a fan of zoos at all because I don’t think animals should be locked up in a tiny cage, completely out of their natural habitat. It was more than 30 degrees celcius the day we were at the zoo, incredibly hot. The animals were hot too, most of them were just laying around looking like they were dying. They didn’t have any way to cool down, like water or ice or something. Some didn’t even have any shade. It was so sad to see.
We went to the zoo by metro. It wasn’t hard to find the entrance, just had to walk up the stairs next to the station and there was a map that showed us where to go. About a 7 minute walk. The entrance fee was only 600 yen per person, so in euros that’s about 6, a little less. Definitely very cheap. There were two parts of the zoo, we entered the west one first. That’s where all of the smaller animals were, like birds, monkeys, frogs, mice, alligators, that kind of thing. Some were quite funny to see. Especially the frogs that were all sitting on the glass window lol.
We finished this part of the zoo quite quickly and walked over to the other side. There was also the option of going there by monorail, but it was only like 3 minutes away and the monorail cost money, plus there was a huge line. Not worth it to us.
As it got later in the day it also got busier. Also because it was on a weekend. There was even a line to see the pandas. A 60 minute line! Who stands in line for 60 minutes just to see some panda bears? I mean, they are the national animal and all, I get that, but still. They don’t even do anything lol. We obviously did not stand I that line and thus didn’t get to see the panda bears. Which was totally okay. – no monorail, no panda bears, how boring are we lol – We did see some elephants, hippos, zebras, giraffes and more. All dieing of heat. Poor things. We also had a quick and small lunch at the park. We didn’t know exactly what we ordered, it just said rice flour balls with sugar. We thought there would be more to it but nope, just plain sweet balls. Lol. They did have a panda bear stamp on them, so at least we got to see some panda bears.
When we were done at the zoo we walked back to the entrance we came from and walked through the tiny street with lots of food stalls, leading up to a temple, that was located right next to the zoo. Fun to see. They sold quite weird food. We were not brave enough to try any of it. The temple and statues around it were pretty though.
After this we walked back to the station, bought a crepe to share along the way, and took the metro to the botanical garden. Finding the garden was not a problem at all. Finding the entrance however, was a real problem and took about half an hour. It’s a huge garden, completely surrounded by a wall and it only has one entrance that’s meant for the general public. We walked back and forth for a bit and finally found a sign with an arrow on it. Decided to head in that direction and voila, we finally found the entrance. Immidiately we concluded the park was going to be worth it.
And it was. Definitely. Would love to go there again. It’s designed completely in Japanese style with different trees and multiple bridges and cute tiny pathways. We expected to see lots of flowers too, but there were none. Turtles however, those we did see. And a big fish. There was an island in the middle of the small lake that was called turtle island because it had the shape of a turtle so we figured that’s where the turtles lived. – how many times can I say turtle in a sentence –. I took loads of pictures, there were lots of photogenic areas. I wish I had brought my DSLR camera with me but oh well, what can you do.We also got stung by an army of mosquitos while in the garden, which sucked a lot.
Close to the botanical garden was a huge shoppingmall. We went here after the walk through the garden to find some dinner. We shared an egg-on-rice dish and sort of an oven dish with broccoli and rice and cheese. Both were extremely creamy and fatty, but super delish!
After this we walked around the mall for a bit using the free wifi and then we went back to the hotel room. Did the same thing we did every night basically.
Second full day
Last full day in Asakusa today! We had planned to go to Tokyo skytree, but since we were not going to go up, we figured why even bother going there just to see it. We just looked at it from a distance today while doing other fun things 🙂
We went to Nakamise Street first. Well, we tried to but ended up at orange street first. We also planned on visiting that street so it wasn’t a problem at all. Orange street was not really that special though, but there were lots of shops around there. Nakamise Street was much more interesting, but also more busy. It’s a street that leads to a huge temple that has a couple other temples close to it. There is a humongous red lantern at the other side of the street and the street itself is filled with cute little shops that sell food and all kinds of souvenirs. The same goes for all of the streets surrounding this main one though.
We walked up to the huge temple, rinsed ourselves with incense, and walked in along with like 30 other people at once. Looked around for a bit and then went to see the other temples and the small garden in which they were located that also had lots of statues in it. Very pretty. We planned on renting a kimono before visiting the temples and garden actually, but it was so incredibly expensive to rent one that we decided not to.
We had some street food while walking through the area. Later on the day we also had a pink banana on a stick. Because we had this street food, we had lunch quite late, which meant we had to stand in line to be seated. When you’re hungry everything always just takes way too long lol. After lunch we went into the electronics store and bought a memory card for my phone because I was taking so many pictures and filming so much videos my phones memory wasn’t big enough. Thought a new memory card would be handy. Couldn’t really figure out how it worked though so didn’t really help at all lol. I’m such an idiot. We then went back to the hotel, which only took half an hour.
We had dinner at Dennys again. We actually wanted to have tapas for dinner but either the place was closed or didn’t exist anymore because when we arrived at its location, the one Google maps told us it was supposed to be, there was no tapas restaurant. We didn’t know any other place in the area so ended up at Denny’s. When back at the hotel we started packing up our stuff again. My sister had this huge stuffed animal, a panda bear, that I won for her at the arcade in Shinjuku, and in order to take it home in her suitcase along with everything else she realized she would have to put it in the airtight plastic bag, so she did that already. It looked so funny, a completely flat stuffed panda bear, hilarious!
The next day we had to check out of the hotel again. We did that of course and then went on our way to the city center of Asakusa. With our suitcases and all lol. We still had the entire day to spend in Tokyo, since our night bus to Osaka was scheduled to leave at ten to ten in the evening. Lots of time to kill before that.
In the city center we first went to a bunny cafe. When we got there it turned out the place was closed for the day, so that sucks. We decided to sit down in another cafe instead. One of which the employee spoke incredibly good English. We then saw a few Gachapon shops and arcades and had lunch at a small, simple restaurant where you had to order at a machine again. This was just because we couldn’t find the sushi place we were looking for lol.
After lunch we walked to the Imperial Palace. I was really looking forward to seeing it and walking through the gardens, but the entire thing was closed down, even the gardens! Who would be so cruel to decide on doing that? It was terrible. We walked all the way there for nothing. I was so sad. We just walked to Tokyo station instead to check out character street, which we planned on doing anyway.
We walked around here for a bit more. We saw the food market in the basement. There was one shop that sold tiny candy with tiny shapes in it. On the other side of it you could watch the employees make it. First they stretched the stuff, then they rolled different colors of it into rolls, places them on top of each other and then multiple layers of white around the thing, followed by a layer of stripes. We could not figure out what kind of shape they were making but luckily there was a Japanese girl standing next to us that actually studies in The Netherlands so she understood what we were saying. How amazing is that! She explained to us they were making the shape of a grape. We would never have figured that out if it wasn’t for her lol. I was thinking it looked like a poodle 😂
We also had dinner in the station at a cute Thai restaurant. Since we didn’t get to visit the imperial palace, we had a lot of spare time left at the end of the day after dinner. We just sat at a bench at the station, watching everyone go by for a couple of hours. I think after about three hours there it was finally time for us to get to the bus. The bus ride was terrible. We were pretty tired so we thought we would sleep well, but unfortunately we didn’t.
And that is the end of our time in Tokio, the bus took us to Osaka, where we spent a few more days before going home again. I’m going to write a travel diary about that too, so stay tuned! 🙂
If you liked this blogpost and would like more visuals, check out the youtube video that goes along with it: Traveling Japan part 2