Crashing Japan
One Week in Tokyo

by Bamboo Dong, Sep 30th 2007

Eager to experience the convenience of pre-planned, anime-centric tour to Japan, I decided to tag along on Destination Japan's Tokyo Summer Maximum trip. Promising the chance to fight with real ninja weapons and the opportunity to check out the Tokyo Game Show, the tour also satisfies my two biggest criteria: budget, and the fact that it'll get me back to the States before school starts. Over the course of this week, I'll be updating every day with my experiences, plenty of photos, and other items of interest. For those eager to plan their own trips to Japan, I'll do my best to provide relevant travel tips, as well as a variety of anime and culture-related articles.

I hope you'll enjoy the return of Crashing Japan as much I will!

General

Getting to Japan
Whether you decide to plan your own trip to Japan, or let a tour guide do all the scheduling for you, going to Japan doesn't just have to be a dream. Here's some information on the different tour packages out there, as well as some places to go if you're looking to design your own vacation.

Running Expense Tally
"How much money should I bring with me when I go to Japan?" I can't answer that for you, but I can tell you how much I'm spending.

Day 1 & 2

Travel tip: Cash vs. Credit
Spoiler alert: cash.

Shinjuku and the Lights of Kabukicho
Shinjuku may be the home of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, but stray a few blocks away, and you'll be in the middle of the red-light district, one of the most visually stunning places in Tokyo.

Tour Experience: Flying into Narita
The flight is finally over, but the trip is just beginning.

Day 3

Tokyo Tower in Anime
As long as Japan continues to produce anime, we will continue to see character stare wistfully from the observation deck... before some kind of alien invasion destroys this famous structure in an explosion of steel.

Religion in Japanese Pop Culture
Buddhism and Shintoism factor heavily into anime, from the festivals, to even the shrine maidens that can kill monsters with their bare hands.

Tour Experience: Tokyo Tower, Asakusa, Meiji Shrine, and Ninjas
First full day, and I'm in bliss.

Day 4

Akihabara Shopping Guide
It would take days to explore all the shops in Akiba, but here's some of the biggest ones to get you started on your way to shopping glory.

Shibuya
The fashion capital of Tokyo, this is the place to go to check out the hottest shops and plenty of gyarus.

Tour Experience: Shibuya, Harajuku, Akihabara
From expensive purses, to used comic books, to some of the most delicious crepes ever, this whirlwind tour of Tokyo's hottest areas was an unforgettable experience.

Day 5

Tsukiji Fish Market
It's a common opinion that Tokyo has the best sushi in the world, made from the freshest and only the best ingredients. This is where every great meal starts.

Ghibli Museum
Perfect for all ages, Studio Ghibli's museum brings the magic of animation to life.

World's Best Sushi
If you eat in one place in Tokyo, eat here.

Tour Experience: Free Day
With so many options of what I could do on my free day, I decided to eat the best sushi in the world (see above), stare at tuna, chuckle at Totoros, and play with cats.

Day 6

Tokyo Game Show Gallery
61,000 words on one of the biggest video game tradeshows in the world.

Tour Experience: Tokyo Game Show, Yakitori, and Ganguro Girls
Fighting the crowds at Makuhari Messe was brutal, but rewarding myself with yakitori at the end of the day was well worth it.

Day 7

Fast Food
Shrimp burger? Curry? Ramen? Hungry yet?

Tour Experience: Last Day
After spending some time at Harajuku's famous Jingu Bridge, I flew home that night, only to reappear at LAX 6 hours earlier.


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