Going underground

Today I purchased a day ticket for the Tokyo Metro and set off exploring, armed only with my iPhone subway map. I started off in the Sony Building, mainly slobbering over the 70″ Bravia (a snip at ¥4 million) and the stunningly slim XEL-1 OLED unit. After that I had a shoe shine outside Yūrakuchō station before jumping back on the tube and heading towards Tokyo.

After taking some photographs in Wadakura Fountain Park, I walked along past Nijibashi Bridge and aimed for Tokyo Tower. I’ve noticed that it’s quite tricky when you’re trying to find a particular tall building or structure in the immediate vicinity and you’re surrounded by other tall buildings or structures. I can testify to the fact that the area around Otago Green Hills boasts a couple of shrines and a Buddhist Temple that are worth a gander. I also chanced upon the NHK Broadcast Museum and enjoyed most of it despite there being next-to-nothing translated into English. Yes, I do realise that I am in Japan but I guess my expectations had been raised by the Edo-Tokyo Musuem yesterday. I say that I “enjoyed most of it” because for some reason that I couldn’t fathom, they were showing the ‘highlights’ of Argentina vs. England from the 1998 World Cup. I felt obliged to I had to watch it for some masochistic reason.

Eventually I found Tokyo Tower and purchased a ticket for the main observation deck – a mere 150 meters up. Allegedly, you can see Mount Fuji, 97km from there on a clear day but I’m not sure if there is such a thing with the pollution haze. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the tower and it has been the tallest self-supporting steel structure in the world for all of this time. It’s also the only place in Tokyo that I’ve found that sells postcards.

Once I descended and found a nearby (not necessarily the nearest) Metro station, I made my way to Yoyogi and Shinjuku for a wander. I was aiming to be at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office buildings a little before dusk in order to catch the city in day and night. As it was, I arrived a little early. The North observatory is open until 2300 and in a little under a minute in the elevator, I was on floor 45 and 202 meters high. I had some time to waste so I had a good look around the toy and souvenir shops while watching the cityscape graduate from light to dark. It really is a beautiful sight and once night falls the cafe becomes a piano bar to add to the atmosphere.

I started off for home via the bright lights and shops of Ginza for something to eat before boarding the final subway train of the day. I couldn’t believe how busy it was. It was well past 2100 and yet the carriages were packed full enough to rival anything I’ve seen when I’ve had the occasional misfortune to experience rush hour on the London Underground.

Related Posts: