Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tokyo's Eiffel Tower

Although I'm not a big fan of tours, a city tour of Tokyo was a necessity if I was going to navigate the city alone for the week.  I didn't mind getting off and on a bus and feeling like a lost lamb being herded by a sheepdog.  I truly did get oriented.

The first stop was the observation deck of the Tokyo Tower, an Eiffel Tower replica, that the guidebooks all call "a tourist trap."  In 1958 when it opened as a broadcast tower, it was the tallest structure in Tokyo.  Not anymore.  There are now taller buildings where the views are even more spectacular, but they don't come with a walking talking tour guide who pointed out the various buildings and neighborhoods of this vast metropolis.

"We are very lucky today," she said.  "We can see Mt. Fuji.  That is very rare."  And, of course, all of us ran to the window and clicked away like the good little sheep we were.

Because this stop was followed by a bus tour on top of the city streets, Tokyo started to make sense.   There's a financial district, several fashion districts, the manga/anime district, the electronics district, the diplomatic district, etc. etc.  Each one has its own unique flavor and not all are ritz and glitz and neon.  I jotted down in my little notebook the areas I wanted to return to via subway.  I would return to each, but underground this time like a rat traveling through the sewers.

And so the Eiffel Tower of Tokyo, as corny as it was, provided me with my first glimpse of this vibrant city.  Skyscrapers glowing in sunlight.  Helicopter pads.  Rooftop gardens.  Skies of blue.  Tokyo Bay.  And snow-capped Fujisan.  Not a bad place to start.  Not a bad place at all.


  1. Marea, I have so enjoyed a tour of Tokyo through your eyes.I must admit I didn't know about Tokyo's Eiffel Tower but it does give great views and I see what you mean about getting your bearings. Those flowering cherries were so beautiful, your timing was perfect. The fashion is fascinating, will look forward to seeing your purchases. Japan is on my bucket list, is it really as expensive as I have read or can you do it at a reasonable price.
    Thankyou sharing your travels.

    1. Thank you, Jill. I bought the Tokyo Express package from Friendly Planet which was very reasonable, but far too short. Would like to go back to smaller towns and national parks next time. You just have to keep watching for these cheap airfare/hotel packages and then it is doable.

  2. I'm enjoying your tour of Tokyo. Thanks for all these photos. There's nothing like Harajuku on a Sunday afternoon - or any time for that matter. The tour was a great idea. There are so, so many neighbourhoods, all with their own unique character.