Ten Days in Tokyo

Ten Days in Tokyo

10 days in Tokyo and Hakone Japan - vintage film camera shops, japanese fashion, birthday karaoke, 4AM fish market wanderings, and all of the weird food and ramen we could ever want
March 21, 2019, 11:27 a.m.

Tokyo holds a special place in my heart. Tokyo is the first of my travels after I decided to completely reinvent my life. I left for Tokyo 1 week after I left my engineering career behind and pursued a new life as a photographer. Tokyo represents me deciding that I no longer wanted to stay in one place - it was a release of all the trapped feelings  from the life I had been pursuing. 

I had a fascination with Tokyo as a photographer, but also because I had a friend who had long been into Japanese fashion. We threw around the idea of visiting Tokyo in the past, but never commited with any serious intent. I came across an abrupt, cheap flight, and the decision was made to finally scratch that itch. We would be spending 10 days in Tokyo. I packed my cameras, a few rolls of film (I had just started shooting 35mm film prior to this trip), and a small amount of clothes to fit into a small hiking pack. 

Tokyo bound boeing 787 flight travel chicago

boeing 787 interior window black and white plane flight flying

We arrived in Tokyo after midnight, and this is when I felt the immediate magic that is Tokyo and what will ultimately keep me coming back to this city. Even at 2 in the morning, the city is alive. People are always out and about. There is always an energy. The streets are narrow, sometimes dark and lit only by a neon sign, but you always felt safe. Everyone was just wandering about, grabbing late night food, and going about their business. For a city that is so densely packed, with so many people, I have yet to feel as safe in a foreign land as I did in Tokyo. 

tokyo crosswalk city black and white night japan

I'm not much for travel writing and prefer to let the images do the talking, so I will just list my highlights:

  • Tsujiki Fish Market (since closed :/ ) - We arrived at 4AM with the intention of going to the famed Tuna fish auction. We wandered, aimlessly, ended up in areas where we weren't allowed, and were greeted with plenty of "what are you doing in here" looks. Ultimately, we never found the auction, and by 4:30AM the word is that it's too late. We waited in line for sushi for 3 hours at the most hyped stall in the entire market, and it was truly amazing. The mackerel was so good. Overall, I just enjoyed the energy of the fish market. You are constantly dodging carts, working people and other tourists, but it just felt like a qunitessential Japanese experience. 
  • Food - Just try as much food as you can. I fell in love with Ramen after this trip. There are so many michelin guide rated ramen restaurants in Tokyo. I ate so many foods that I'd never had before, and there wasn't a thing I didn't enjoy.
  • Hakone - We did a short day-and-a-half trip to Hakone to see Mt Fuji and visit an Onsen with an epic view. Unforunately, I don't have too many pictures from this part of the trip because I had a brief scare of loosing my passport. Take my word that the view from the onsen was unreal. Check it out for yourself! <Hotel Green Plaza Hakone>. We did a bit of hiking and wandering, and after I found my passport, we ate what was probably the best meal of my life at the Nobu created <Itoh Dining>
  • Hostels in Each of The Districts - We didn't plan any of this trip, and I am glad we didn't. I cannot recommend staying in hostels in each major district enough. Maybe spend 2 days in each. Stay in different areas and get a feel for the city. Plus, you have a better chance of meeting interesting people. 
  • Vintage Camera Shops - Tokyo is film camera central. I was just beginning to get into film cameras during my trip to Tokyo. I think I visited every major camera shop and was in awe of the sheer volume and rarity of the film cameras you can find in Tokyo. Be aware that they do command a premium, compared to buying them in the US. Check out the Japan Camera Hunter's recommendations for camera shops throughout Tokyo's districts. <Shinjuku District Camera Shops>
  • Karaoke on my Birthday - I spent my birthday in Tokyo!  It was epic. We met two british girls outside of a Karaoke bar and another british guy at a bar, and we had ourselves an evening singing away to some karaoke - a classic Tokyo experience. 

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