Tokyo – Japan

Owl cafe - Tokyo

After 2 weeks destroying ourselves in the Japanese snow it was time to head back to Tokyo before catching the plane home to London. Tokyo is one of my favourite cities I have ever been to, insanely busy and huge but also highly organised and endearing. The people in Tokyo always seemed polite and interested to see these crazy Westerners who had come to find snow! Numerous people came up to us in the street just to say hello and ask us where we are from, without being over bearing or annoying.

One of the places we tried to visit was an owl cafe, it was a way out of the centre of the city, around half an hour on the metro but we arrived but it was already fully booked for the day so we weren’t able to go in. I did manage this photograph in the entrance.

Taxi at Shin Okubo

Taxi at Shin Okubo

We were staying in Shin Okubo in very basic accommodation, a room with 6 mats on the floor for 7 people… But we weren’t planning on dong much sleeping in our three days so it suited us fine. Our first day we were met with rain and a biting wind, I was glad I had kept my snowboard jacket on still.

Imperial Palace - Tokyo

Imperial Palace – Tokyo

Having only seen the manic neon streets of Tokyo last year it was refreshing to and walk around the outside of the Imperial Palace where there was a lot more space and tranquility, despite being able to see tower blocks just a few hundred meters away.

Cityscape from the Imprtial Palace gardens - Tokyo

Cityscape from the Imprtial Palace gardens – Tokyo

Tower blocks from the Imperial Palace - Tokyo

Tower blocks from the Imperial Palace – Tokyo

Resting up

Resting up

Shinjuku station - Tokyo

Shinjuku station – Tokyo

Shinjuku station was according to Wikipedia ‘used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007, making it, by far, the world’s busiest transport hub’. It is easy to believe it too, there are around 200 exits and you can walk for miles in circle underground if you are not careful. Even above ground you can walk for 15 minutes and still re-enter the station from another point. Unlike London’s underground system the hallways are wide and large, but no less bust. The London underground scowl seems less prominent here, but it is just as busy. Something I noticed and I think it says a lot about the cultural differences in the countries is that the ticket turnstiles in Japan are open by default, only closing if your ticket is invalid. Quite the opposite from London’s closed default.

Shinjuku - Tokyo

Shinjuku – Tokyo

Tokyo lights

Tokyo lights


The robot show was one of the highlights of Tokyo from the previous year, I didn’t actually make it to the show this year but this is a snap from last year. The show is something that could surely only exist in Japan! 8 foot high robots, scantily clad women dancing in intensely choreographed shows held in a tiny basement in the center of Tokyo. Truly mind blowing and likely unlike anything you have ever experienced before.

Shibuya Crossing at street level - Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing at street level – Tokyo

Shibuya crossing is one of those places you have to visit when in Tokyo. Made famous in numerous films, most notably Lost in Translation, it is a truly awesome spectacle. Watching thousands of people stop and start in perfect unison according to a set of traffic lights is really captivating. Sitting there with a coffee time seems to pass without you noticing, waiting for the lights to send the next wave of people across, then finally  as the lights change back watching the last few people race across as the cars start again.

This is a time lapse I shot of the process in action, some from ground level and some from Starbuck above. Shooting in the night made me really long for my Canon 5d Mk III which I had left at home in favor of the lighter weight 60D.

Shibuya Crossing at night from Starbucks - Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing at night from Starbucks – Tokyo

After a couple of hours sleep it was time for the long flight back to London. Japan – It was a blast.

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