PSA – Panty Sniffers of Akihabara
You’ve heard about Japanese blokes who buy used Women’s pants and sniff them right? Well Akihabara is where that kind of thing goes on (not representative of the whole of Japan I promise!) I know what to do with my undies next time I’m running low on $$ on the road and can’t be bothered with washing… What’s the going rate for a thong around here?
It’s a little eccentric, but this place is a real eye-opener, and makes for a pretty awesome day observing the weird and wonderful. It’s a big district, so take a free area map from Akihabara station to help you find your way around.
From picking up the latest games console or sourcing a really peculiar new invention, dubbed “Denki” or “Electric Town”, Akihabara is your place for that.
So what else does Akihabara have to offer the curious wanderer?
Almost every other store here sells Anime and Manga (oh psshh don’t act surprised!), and I’m not talking about a small comic book store – I’m talking 10 to 15 floor department stores filled with Manga and organised by category. There’s something for everyone here – Women’s Manga, Superhero themed Manga… even Naughty Manga!
You can also head over to the “Anime Centre” to view the original artwork of your favourites.
Sex sells I suppose.. You can find a bunch of fetish stores here, adult video stores and stores like this one… where you pick the girl you want and then you get her tatty old pants. Classy.
The historic district of Tokyo and home to Tokyo tower. Sensō-ji temple is here and I suppose visually it’s o-k, but ridiculously overcrowded by tourists and street vendors selling various tourist tat.
When I say busy – I mean, most tourist attractions are busy but here it’s going to take you a good 15-20 minutes to make the short walk from the street entrance to the Temple as you must first wade through a pack of tourists trudging slower than a herd of walking dead zombies who haven’t eaten in three weeks while they gaze upon the tourist tat.
If you have a lot of time in Tokyo, you may as well pay it a visit, but if not, Meiji-Jingu is a lot less crowded, and more beautiful…
This is a beautiful Shinto shrine in a woodland setting, dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Admission is free, though there is a small entrance fee if you wish to explore the gardens (take a left on the main promenade before passing through the main Shrine gate).
The gardens make for a lovely walk on a Sunny day as you take a seat on the edge of the pond and admire the view.
Parks & Recreation
Tokyo is filled with beautiful parks and greenery.
Next to the Meiji shrine, you have Yoyogi Park – not the prettiest of them all but it often hosts a lot of free outdoor events and festivals so check the schedule during your trip – my friend and I stumbled across a great festival of foods from the Kyushu region.
Ueno park is pretty much Tokyo’s answer to Central Park (but with a few pagodas and shrines thrown in for good measure!) – a vast space which offers a nice escape from the “Big City” vibes of Tokyo.
You know that crazy crossing you always see on TV shows and commercials about Japan with people crossing the road diagonally, sideways, and every which way? That’s Shibuya – kind of Tokyo’s Times Square.
Check out Shibuya 109 department store for the latest Japanese fashions – colossal platform heels and crazy Harajuku style.
Home of eccentric Fashion and quirky boutiques – Welcome to Harajuku!
“Lolita” and “Punk” are major fashion trends here and just walking the streets and observing the outfits is entertainment in itself!
There are also a ton of “Kawaii” stores selling great gifts, and 100 yen department stores (it’s amazing what you can find in these! Some of them are multi-storey!)
The sumo district of Tokyo – on disembarking the Subway here you will see a distinct change in architecture, to that of a more historic Tokyo.
Restaurants here sell a unique cuisine – Chanko Nabe (stew served to Sumo wrestlers), and Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlets) being just a couple of those unique to the area.
The Ryogoku Kokugikan is the Sumo Arena; In Sumo season you can catch a match here.
My friend and I saw a queue, joined it and ended up watching a Japanese wrestling match- not quite Sumo but still fun to watch and to see the Kukugikan in action!
Have you ever been one of only two Women watching wrestling and drinking Asahi Dry with an arena filled with 10,000 angry Japanese guys? I have!
There were some hunky American wrestlers in short tight pants there too which is always appreciated.
For a fee, you can visit one of the Sumo “stables” in Ryogoku early in the Morning (around 6am) and watch them train.
This is discetionary really, dependent on the stables. The owners don’t typically speak English so your best bet is to have your host or hotel call the stable for you and try to organise a time for you to watch.
Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikkebukuro are the “hip” places to be for young Tokyoites.
Lots of shopping, department stores and World restaurants.
Planning a trip to Tokyo? Any questions or recommendations?