Our Ryokan and staying in Asakusa

Marisa Thorne in Japan

Upon leaving our hotel we had to go back to Narita airport, which also doubles as a train station, which would take us to Asakusa, our home for the next few days. I was feeling slightly weary about using the trains out there as I heard it was quite complicated, but it really is ok (there are a few English signposts about). We also had to get our 'Suica' cards which is exactly like an oyster card, we ended up getting ours from an information point as the machines confused us too much. So please dont be scared of asking for help from someone, the Japanese are so friendly and there customer service is the best on any level.

So a 40min train ride and we were in Tokyo station.... which was huge! We learnt a few days in our trip that most underground stations are massive, they are all a few stories underground, most come with a shopping centre or two attached to it (including restaurants) and if you need to change lines anywhere, its up to a 10min walk, allowing for human traffic as well. TOP TIP: If you are travelling to more than one place via public transport, I would recommend ditching the suitcase and taking a 65 litre backpack or something similar. I really regret bringing a chunky suitcase with me.

We settled into our Ryokan (with complimentary kimonos) and a went off to find some food and explore Asakusa. We were located right in the hustle and bustle of town, with markets, restaurants, and arcades everywhere. We were also a short distance from another temple too which we had a look around and I got my first fortune, a fun little ritual I liked to do. After we had finished looking around, we went further into town and came across some arcades.

The gaming industry is obviously huge in Japan and I'm afraid I'm not a gaming expert, but I can definitely appreciate them and I love love LOVE my little 3DS :) Every main road in Asakusa was filled with arcades, but not like the naff ones at the seaside in the UK. Tall, loud, bright,multi story buildings! The ground floor level was your usual pick and grab machines where you could win cuddly toys, but the higher you go, the more adult games there. It definitely had a slight Vegas gambling feel to it on the top floor, so we didn't spend too long looking around. We also couldn't take pictures in the building, I imagine its treated the same way as filming in the cinema which was a shame as there were some really cool looking games being played. Some of which wont be released in the UK because we just aren't the target market for it, but I would definitely give Street Fighter or Pocken a go ;) Another major recommendation is to go into a photobooth, they are just nuts!  You get to choose all different backgrounds and motifs, not to mention they edit and super impose your eyes and face shape, but they are a lot of fun and a good souvenir. We did about 3, and I still wanted to go into more!

After the arcades we thought it a fun spontaneous idea to go into a maid cafe, we had spotted a maid handing out flyers and thought it could be a laugh, but I honestly didn't enjoy that much. I found it super cringey and the whole act/ gimmick annoying. It was also unclear of the service charge we had to pay (due to the language barrier and the girls act of being a bit ditzy) as you have to pay to get in and you have to buy a drink to. There's lots of maid cafes dotted around and maybe we went to one on a quiet night, so I'm not gonna say 'Stay away from them', but for me it definitely didn't live upto the hype. But still, a fun first night in Tokyo.

Photos and edits by Jon Barker


Post a Comment