I had expected some fairly significant culture shock arriving into Tokyo, in my mind’s eye I had envisaged a city operating on a rush hour schedule, full on, all the time. Yet my first impression isn’t overwhelming, I think the Sunday morning arrival was beneficial, there was no rush hour to contend with. Despite the red eye flight reaching the hotel was very simple, most of the signs have English rather than just Kanji, the data only sim cards collected at the airport making navigating simple, surprisingly arriving in Tokyo was no more complicated than visiting any new place.
I was surprised how European old Tokyo station appeared, there were hints of Japanese design near the roof, surrounded by cookie cutter city scape it’s not recognisably Japanese until you take a glance through the shop windows, this is the heart of the down town area heavy with businesses, 5 star hotels and close to the imperial palace. I was in the area to do some fairly mundane stuff, exchanging the Japan rail pass and booking as much transportation as I can. It took a while to work out the complexities of Tokyo station within my sleep deprived mind, forays above ground and around the area helped.
The Tokyo I expected was on the other side of the station, complete with billboards and signs tacked onto 80’s looking buildings, and some quintessential hole in the wall restaurants under the railway arches, sadly not open. At street level it’s pretty quiet, it’s not till you delve into the subterranean shopping complex that it become busy. There is quite a bit down here, a complete shopping complex with a food “alley” along with some nice looking restaurants too, very busy too. Overall my first impressions are excellent, I think I’m going to have a good time here.