Monday, 26 June 2017

A TRIP TO TOKYO WITH MY DAUGHTER

Traditional Japanese umbrella
I just recently came back from our trip to Tokyo.  It was my second trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.  I was there in 2010 with my husband and we had marvellous time.  This time I went with my 16 year old daughter, Georgia and let me tell you it almost killed me.  The difference between travelling with another sensible adult and a teenage girls is like between day and night.  In addition that her energy level is much higher then mine and are points of interest generally are totally polar, she is a true blue vegan and I am not so as you can see we were different on almost every level.
Glitzy Ginza



Saturday shopping around Ginza
The main reason for this trip was to take her to DisneyLand which I promise I would do because I think that every child should visit this magic place but for us living in Australia, LA is too far to travel just to visit a amusement park so we decided to go locally, for us it is and settled for Tokyo.  Besides, they also have DisneySea which would be an icing on the cake.
Ginza by night
I must give her a credit, she did a good job researching the place and we did come up with the itinerary that looked quite innocent on paper but when the time came to put it into practise, I feared that I overestimated my level of patience and underestimated her determination to explore this mega city in under a week.
Designer shops of Ginza
We stayed at Daiichi Hotel that was 10 minutes of walking distance to glamorous and glitzy Ginza, most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, restaurants, galleries and a myriad of other seemingly expensive enterprises.  While I was admiring the window displays of Valentino, Gucci and the likes, my daughter spotted a Uniqlo store and rushed right in.  It occupied 12 levels and she was determined to check out all of them at once.  It took me half an hour to convince her that we will come back here later on.
Window display at one of myriads of Ginza fashion shops

Window display at one of myriads of Ginza fashion shops

Window display at one of myriads of Ginza fashion shops

Window display at Fendi, Ginza

Window display at Fendi, Ginza

Window display at Fendi, Ginza

Flagship Uniqlo shop in Ginza
The following day we went to an area call Shibuya or how they called them, city wards, centre for youth fashion and culture and obviously high on the radar for my 16 year old girl.  A prominent landmark of Shibuya is the pedestrian crossing called scramble outside Shibuya trains station which is on the list of 10 top things to do in Tokyo.  This area is always packed with hundreds and hundreds of people and when the lights turn red simultaneously, this multitude of people is on the move to make it to the other side.  You really have to be on your toes if you don't want to be left behind.  The best vantage point to watch this phenomenon is from the second floor of Starbucks.
Famous Shibuya crossing

Famous Shibuya crossing

Famous Shibuya crossing at night
And of course what teenager would miss a trip to Harajuki, the epicentre of teenage fashion culture and its focal point, Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens.  
Takeshita Street
We spend good couple of hours walking up and down this street, popping in and out of the stores that attracted our attention and where I bought socks that I fashioned on Instagram.  
This colourful character we found Takeshita Street

This colourful character we found Takeshita Street

Waling along Takeshita Street
I found Japanese fashion is very fast forward, people dressed very differently to our tastes but look very stylish and trendy.  They love their jeans very wide from the hips and frayed at the bottom.  They paired them either with Adidas sneakers or open tow shoes on a very thick platform and they like to wear the lace socks with them and that's where I picked up this trend.  In fact they wear socks with almost every kind of footwear and I saw young men doing it too.
Wearing lacy socks with my open tow sandals, Japanese style

Wearing lacy socks with my open tow sandals, Japanese style

Street fashion

Street fashion

Street fashion

Street fashion

Street fashion
One day, while Georgia went inside the shop to check out the latest fashion, I took a seat outside, got my camera out and started aimlessly taking photos of random people walking by.  When I looked at the roll lately, I was fascinated to see how fashionable most of them look.
Street fashion

Street fashion
We were curious to see the other side of Tokyo, its peaceful beautifully designed parks where you can find respite from the hustle and bustle of the city with the ponds fulled with red and white Koi and its graceful shrines and temples and where you can find inner piece and recharge your body and mind for the next adventure.
We found some respite inside this beautiful park

We found some respite inside this beautiful park
The one area that was on my daughter's list was Asakusa, one of Tokyo's district where you can feel the atmosphere of the old Tokyo and its main attraction, Sensoji, an ancient Buddhist temple known worldwide for the giant red paper lantern.  Its Tokyo's oldest temple and most significant.  The road to the temple is closed for traffic and both sides of it lined up with many shops selling souvenirs to tourists, traditional Japanese fans, jewellery and kimono and local sweets.  From my first trip I totally got hooked up on backed buns filled with red or black bean paste.  I must've eaten hundreds of them then and this time there was no exception.  
In Asakusa in front of of Sensoji Temple

Asakusa Shrine



In Asakusa in from of Sensoji Temple

Taking photo with traditionally dresses young women
However, let's not forget the main purpose of this trip, a visit to both DisneyLand and DisneySea.  We allocated one day for each and they were absolutely full on.  
In DisneySea along the Vinice canal

In DisneySea over the Venice canal

In DisneySea over the Venice canal
After two very busy days we both agreed that we preferred DisneySea over DisneyLand. It was less commercial, different sets where the action was taking place looked so natural that when I saw a gondola pushed along the canal by the sailor wearing black uniform with red and white striped bandana around his neck, for a split second I thought that I was back in Venice.  
Entrance to Tokyo DinseyLand
The were more exciting rides, less merchandises and the night light show was sublime.  Japanese people love Disney parks.  Almost every one of them that we saw, children and adults alike, were making an effort to get into the groove of the world of fantasy.  Some were wearing heats resembling a Disney character, some donned Micky Mouse ears on Minni's bows, some couple were wearing matching t-shirts depicting a Disney character or a theme or else.  
I too decided to get into the mood and tried on Micky Mouse inspired sunglasses while my daughter purchased Micky Mouse coned hat head gear.

Although it was the time for school holidays, the parks were very busy with students coming to the parks after school and we spent a lot of time queuing for every ride.  These two days spent in the parks were probably the most intense and tiresome of them all.


As I said earlier, travelling with a teenage girl was quite challenging and we had a couple of rough moments when I was ready to pack my bags and run to the taxi stand to be taken to the airport but in the end, once the dust had settled, we were left with lovely memories of our sweet time together which we will cherish forever.
A TRIP TO TOKYO WITH MY DAUGHTER