Last week we went to Tokyo for a second time.
The first time we were a bit in a rush to get the most out of the city, in three days. The second time, however we had time to discover a city where I’d love to live for a couple of years, full of happenings and events that I overlooked the first time I visited. A city whose vibrant atmosphere, funky people, eclectic neighboorhoods and huge neon-lights make you want to come back again and again and again.
There are a couple of things that I loved this time in Tokyo:
1. Relaxing at Cafe Ki
I found out about Ki Cafe from an article in Bored Panda where the place was featured among the 20 of the world’s best restaurant and bar interior designs. Ki means ‘tree’ in Japanese and the design of the place is built around the idea of a forest. But a very abstract, minimalist one.
The table legs go up to look like tree trunks and branches. The whole space is painted in white, which makes a beautiful contrast against the blackness of the branches. Their coffee is really good, I had a hazelnut latte. So are the cakes….but I’ll let the pictures talk.
2. Shimokitazawa neighbourhood
It is nicknamed ‘the younger cousin of Harajuku’ because of its equally funky atmosphere and small eclectic streets that you’d usually find in Harajuku. But if Harajuku has the popularity, Shimokita has the cool kids and the indie vibe. You can spend an entire afternoon here, wandering through the music shops that line the street, the popular eateries and vintage clothing stores.
3. Walking on Rainbow Bridge
Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge which spans Tokyo Bay offers a great view of the city, especially at night, with the dozens of lighted sky-scrapers. The walk is not long, around 1km and there are two routes: the South and the North route. We took the North route, with views on Tokyo harbour and Tokyo Tower. The South side offers views of Tokyo Bay and, if you’re lucky and it’s daytime, Mount Fuji.
To get on the bridge the easiest and nicest way is to take the Yurikamome line, a driverless elevated train that has some great views on Tokyo bay.
(Oh, and it seems that the rainbow colour lights are only during the Christmas period, and the bridge looks like that):
4. A stop at the Toilet Exhibition in Miraikan Museum
It’s been everywhere in the news lately, and words like looney and weird would often describe it. So, I had to go and see for myself.
The exhibition is clearly targeted to kids , trying to teach them about the human waste and its impact on the environment. I found it creative and funny, mostly the part where you get flushed down a huge porcelain toilet, wearing …a poop hat :).
In case you forgot the different shapes the human feces can have, here’s a reminder:):
The exhibition features also different toilets around the globe and from the Japanese Edo period, as well as some innovative systems, like the pants that collect the urine:
If you had enough of the scatological atmosphere, go on the 5th floor of the museum and have a chat with the lifelike robot Otonaroid or listen to the news read by Kodomoroid. It’s a bit spooky, but amazing in the same time!
5. The Art Aquarium Exhibition by the artist Hidetomo Kimura
The Art Aquarium exhibition is a stunning form of art, combining about 5,000 goldfish in aquariums with colourful lightning, music, futuristic designs and traditional Japanese motifs (lanterns, folding screens, kimonos).
It’s really one of the most fantastic things I’ve seen so far, so anyone who’s in Tokyo shouldn’t miss it. The exhibition is open to public until 23 September 2014.