Kyoto at Night

After seeing temples and shrines all day around Kyoto, I checked out Gion, which is Kyoto’s most famous Geisha district. I didn’t actually go to any restaurants or teahouses with geisha (or geiko in the local dialect) though.
The downtown areas of Kyoto aren’t busy like Shibuya or Shinjuku, with Kyoto being the sixth most populated city in Japan. Still, there are people everywhere even during a weeknight.
Wonder Tower in Kyoto

Kyoto Marui Building

Kyoto shop at night

Udon Noodles in Kyoto

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Best Ramen in Kyoto

While I stayed in Kyoto, my hostel had some recommendations for what to do, where to eat, and other recommendations for things in Kyoto. Their number 1 restaurant in Kyoto was a place called Daiichiasahi Ramen. The ramen was delicious and they have English menus available, and the place is so tiny you might even strike up a conversation with a local if you know some Japanese or they know English.

K's House Hostel Recommends

Here are the rest of the recommendations from K’s House Hostel in Kyoto.

Shibuya at Night

I have gone through quite a bit about one of the most popular districts in Tokyo, Shibuya. From wandering Center Gai to the Shibuya shopping experience and Yoyogi Park, you can easily spend a full day there and feel like you have a lot more to see and do still. But one of the most spectacular sights you can see while in Tokyo is Shibuya at night. Tokyo is famous for its neon glow in the evening and Shibuya is one of the areas where this is most impressive.

Shibuya Crossing in evening

This is one of my favorite views in Shibuya. The 109 building is very iconic.

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Shibuya Photo Tour

One of the areas of Tokyo I was most excited to visit during my trip was Shibuya. Shibuya is known as the fashion and shopping district of Tokyo, and is also a popular nightlife spot. The area around Shibuya station is often what people think of when they think of Tokyo, with its scramble crossing and large TV screens and numerous other advertisements. It has even been likened to Times Square in New York City.

Advertisements on Shibuya Skyscrapers

Advertisements on Shibuya Skyscrapers

Both of these ads were all over Tokyo. I probably saw more pictures of Tommy Lee Jones than I have the rest of my life.
Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station
This statue is of a dog called Hachiko. The story behind it says that the dog waited loyally outside this entrance of Shibuya Station every day for his master, and for years after his masters death. Today it is a very popular meeting place, and the station entrance nearby has been named after Hachiko.

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Tokyo Arrival

About two weeks ago, I stepped off United flight 891 and into Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. It was the first time I had been outside of the United States. To many, Japan would seem like a shocking country to visit for a first trip abroad. Though there is nothing wrong with going somewhere more familiar like Europe, I was ready for something very different. It was also the place I wanted to visit most in the world. So for me, it was the perfect first international destination.

Taito, Tokyo, Japan at night

I arrived at the airport around 4:30pm. There are several things I would recommend travelers to Japan do when they first arrive. The first thing to do when you get to the airport is to exchange currency. Japan is a very cash based society, much more so than then United States, and so you should plan to bring most of how much you plan to spend in cash. I paid for my hotel with my Visa, but everything else in Japan I paid in yen.

The next stop at the airport is the JR East office. JR stands for Japan Railway and JR East is the branch that serves Tokyo. There are two things to do here, and one of them requires planning in advance. If you plan to go to an area of Japan far from Tokyo, like Kyoto or Osaka, you should get a JR Pass. At least a couple weeks before you arrive in Japan, you should purchase a JR Pass. You will get a voucher in the mail, which you need to bring to Japan and exchange for your actual rail pass. You can purchase a rail pass for 7, 14, or 21 days, and you have to choose the date to start using it when you redeem your voucher. If you’re not sure when you want to start using it, you don’t have to exchange it at the airport and can do it at many JR stations. Continue reading Tokyo Arrival