We signed up for the Night Out Tokyo Tour with The Backstreet Guides, who had stellar reviews on TripAdvisor. They limit their tours to a maximum of ten people, and we had just five on our tour. If you go with them, be prepared to get a lot of walking in, but it really was a great way to see the city. We had a main guide, Rie, and Yuriko, who was in training and made notes during the whole tour. Both were very friendly and informative.
As I said in my last post, we toured the Meiji Shrine to start. After that, we headed over to Takeshita Street in Harajuku, where there were plenty of different fashion choices to discreetly gawk at.
The big thing in Harajuku is apparently crepes, usually filled with ice cream. There were many different crepe shops, all of them bustling with customers.
We walked from Harajuku to Shibuya and passed a lot of interesting sights. This is a sign for a males-only hair salon. Apparently tiny women are banned from entering.
Like Seoul, Tokyo has lots of art all over the city. I liked this on a wall we passed:
We went to dinner (yakitori) on the early side. Our guide explained that because smoking is still allowed in restaurants and bars in Tokyo, eating early is a way to avoid having dinner in a thoroughly smoky environment. When the waiter poured our sake, he purposefully made the glasses overflow into a saucer beneath the glass. We hadn’t seen this before or since, but it was nice to get a little extra sake! We were told to sip from the glass to get the level down, then eventually pour the excess in the saucer into the glass.
We were served an appetizer and several chicken skewers, along with one skewer of mushrooms. Everything tasted great.
Then it was back to the bustling streets and nightlife and walk, walk walk until I thought I just might lose my feet by the end. We went down huge streets and tiny alleys, by modern loud shops and tiny traditional restaurants with four seats at a bar. One area had a huge collection of tiny theme bars – some with just enough space for a handful of people, some that were members-only. We experienced the “Shibuya Scramble,” the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing (3rd picture below). From Shibuya, we went to the Shinjuku area and walked around the Kabukicho and Golden Gai areas.
From Shinjuku, we took the subway to our last destination, Roppongi, where we walked around the Mori Tower, got some great views of the city, and gratefully said goodnight to our guide and limped home to nurse our aching feet and backs! I jest; it was exhausting, but it really was a great tour and a fun way to take in a lot of Tokyo at night.