Tokyo is not crowded, the downtowns are
One thing to keep in mind is this... it's not
that the ten million residents and the who knows how many commuters
and tourists are all cramped into a tiny city and step on each
others toes... Tokyo is HUGE. It engulfs districts of relaxed
suburbs, calm residential areas, sterile and futuristic business
centers, atmospheric nearly forgotten arcades, historic attractions,
peaceful shrines and temples nested in hills and alleys not far
from the center.
But... entertainment and shopping, tourist attractions
and the largest restaurant rows are mostly centered around the
largest train stations... yeah well this is another way to say
downtown... or rather downtowns of which numerous variations exist
in the city. There's many of them but even so, on a fine day,
or let's say Friday and Saturday in general... you probably won't
be the only one heading for the most convenient places to amuse
yourself. If you don't like sharing the same place with lots of
people... who are in fact curious of the same things as you are...
well... you can either go at a time when others won't or find
the same stuff elsewhere in the city. For saying that all leisure
is centered in downtown is not quite true. No, it's just more
convenient to go to a place where you can find it all in one.
A huge number of shops, restaurants and attractions are separate
from the centers although small businesses are in a declining
trend... and also, if you're willing to pay twice as much for
the same, you can always find unbearably tranquil places to shop
or eat anywhere in the world. Tokyo is no exception.
All in all, Tokyo can be as spacious as you want
it to be. There's a different downtown for each taste, class and
tolerance level, so if you're not up for Shinjuku you still might
fall in love with either Ginza, Ueno or Jiyuugaoka, if Shibuya
and Harajuku is too much for you head for Daikanyama or Shimokita...
If Ikebukuro isn't the place then Koenji might very well be...
It's all there you just need to know what you are looking for.
If you don't know what to expect...
Coming from a city or town that's unlike Tokyo
will leave you clueless for weeks. But it's not that much of an
enigma where to expect a crowd. If it's interesting... if it's
really interesting... many people will show up. Well... basically
that's it. The flow of information is pretty good, so it's quite
rare to find an event or place that's like a hidden gem that no
one knows about. In downtown Tokyo at least. You'll find this
to be completely different in any other locations that attract
a lot of people. For example if you go to Nikko or Kamakura, or
Kyoto, where on a fine day thousands of people might show up...
all you need to do is to get a tourist map at the station ( for
free ) and start exploring from the most remote place. You'll
be so alone with not following the guide that you'll be longing
to see others.
Seen it on TV
Hachiko crossing is probably what comes to mind
to anyone who has never been to Tokyo. Yes, Hachiko crossing...
the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Shibuya, the center of
Japanese entertainment... is crowded. For the sole reason that
it's right in the front of Shibuya station, where about a dozen
different lines cross each other, and connects this facility with
the northern area, giving home to all of the shopping, dining
and entertainment facilities. The fact that they all happen to
be on the other side of the street created this amazing place...
where you can, in ten minutes... experience in a glance as many
styles and personalities like nowhere else in Japan or the world.
Hachiko is a place to meet up, a transportation hub, somewhere
to hang around aimlessly, and the gate to Shibuya. This place
is so interesting it should drive people to Tokyo and not away.
The truth is... that since most people come and
go with exact places in mind, or in other words a certain goal,
and that these places are centered most of the time... if you
encounter a crowd, you can expect it to be quite orderly... meaning
that if you find your way through the first 100 meters and take
a different turn people will literally disappear. Five minutes
walk from the center of Shibuya and you'll be strolling by yourself.
Again, it's the places that attracted you along with all the others,
if you want to relax your eyes a bit all you need to do is step
out of the crowd of which you are already a part of.
Can't take it... too many people
This is probably something only people who stay
for a longer period will notice but, even if you're the type that
handles crowds easily, you'll experience breakdowns in your tolerance
from time to time. Being near to what's happening can be tiresome...
and for such events the ideal place to go is probably the nearest
cafe or park. Or better yet, arrange it that you could leave Tokyo
for a trip around the city, or jump on the first train to Nikko
and rest a little bit. But once you've been to Tokyo, eventually
you'll start to miss the opportunity to go downtown anytime you'd
Visa, border entry, what to bring and be prepared with
- Japanese maps,
Navi mobile navigation, easy orientation for travelers
stores, the resupply stations that sell everything
- Japanese Vending
machines, for drinks, tickets, cigarettes and more
- Japanese Food, and
all kinds of food in Japan, restaurants, fast food, cheap food...
- Tokyo - as we see it
- Budget Tokyo
apartment rental, accommodation, let go of the concern
- Tokyo Prices, the
real cost vs. western legends, how to make most of your budget
- Cheap Tokyo Stores, bargain
tips, where to find what, fashion to electronics
- Tokyo Cafe life, a
guide to Cafes serving as meeting points, hangouts and life-savers
- Tokyo Parks
and Gardens, well maintained icons of tranquility, tradition
or having fun
- The Tokyo crowd...
escaping from Tokyo to Tokyo, evading downtown rushhours