We arrived in Tokyo this morning at 08:00 and have time until 22:30. My nurse’s sister has lived in Tokyo for several years and offered to show me around. Of course, I couldn’t pass that up. Tokyo has 14 million inhabitants within its city limits, but the entire populated metropolitan area is home to around 40 million people. This makes Tokyo the largest city in the world. It takes more than a lifetime to get to know this city. We read about Japan, and Tokyo in particular, that young people are living more and more in isolation, the extreme form being the so-called otaku, who hardly ever leave the house. In any case, being single is becoming an increasingly normal way of life. The desire for a permanent relationship with a partner, let alone starting a family, is becoming the exception. It is therefore not surprising that the birth rate is breaking new negative records every year.
From the terminal, I first took the shuttle bus to Tokyo Teleport Station. I was expected there. We then travelled to the famous Shibuya Crossing, also known as the “Scramble Crossing”.
A scramble crossing is a special type of pedestrian crossing that can be found in some large cities, particularly in Japan. At a scramble crossing, pedestrians have the option of walking in all directions, including diagonally across the crossing, and the special feature of a scramble crossing is that all vehicles stop at certain times and pedestrians can use the entire crossing without having to pay attention to vehicle traffic. One traffic light lights up for pedestrians, while all traffic lights switch to red for vehicles. This allows pedestrians to cross the junction in any direction, including diagonal routes.
It was quite quiet today on a Saturday morning and hardly anything was happening. However, the pictures and video clips leave a different impression. For a European, it is almost unimaginable what it should look like in busy times.
From there, we walked to the Hachikō Memorial Statue, a popular meeting place with a bronze statue in honour of Hachikō, the Akita dog known for its loyalty. Anyone who has seen the film “Hachiko – A Beautiful Friendship” with Richard Gere will know its significance in Japan. Afterwards, it was time to eat, although I wasn’t very hungry in the heat and it was still quite early.
However, I was told that we would hardly have a chance to eat at the world-famous ramen place https://en.ichiran.com/ if we waited until lunchtime. The Japanese queue outside the restaurant and it can take an hour or more to get in. For around EUR 10, we really did get a delicious portion of ramen. Afterwards, we visited the Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu), which is surrounded by a large park with tall trees. You can walk for hours under the cool, tall green tree palisades, which is very pleasant in the hot weather. Then it was already enough and we started our return journey to the cruise terminal.
Farewell to Tokyo