Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 10 Train trip to Tokyo

At the end of my residency, i'm suppose to make artwork(s) and do a presentation about it. Back before i travel to Japan, i already have an idea about what i am going to make for my presentation. So, what kind of project that i'm going to make? Well, i will tell you more about it later just to keep you guys guessing :) Rather then immediately start doing my project, i wanted to gather more ideas and references as possible. Since i still have few days to explore, i decided to go to Tokyo for 3 or 4 days. Not only just to get inspirations, but i'm also curious about why this Super Metropolitan City always attracts so many people from all over the world to come there.

To travel from Fukuoka to Tokyo, you can take night bus, value airplane or Shinkansen or also known as Bullet Train. Well, luckily i still have enough budget from my own savings to spare for transportation, so i decided to try the Shinkansen train. The good thing about the Shinkansen, you can get more time to enjoy japan's beautiful scenes and also have enough rest while on the way to Tokyo. Another good thing is, it takes you directly to Tokyo station, so it saves me a lot of time to pass customs and extra road trip, so in case you take flight to Narita Airport you need to take a bus to get to Tokyo station which is quite far from the city and can cost you another extra yen.

So i got up very early in the morning to catch the first train from JR Ikisan station near studio Kura, towards Hakata station at the city. It took around 6 hours from Fukuoka to Tokyo with Shinkansen, that's why i didn't want to waste any time. When i arrived at Hakata station in Fukuoka city, i went to the JR tickets counter to get the Shinkansen non-reserved ticket which cost me around 22.120 yen (one way trip). If you are planning to travel with Shinkansen on weekends, it's recommended to get the reserved seat which cost you 900 yen extra.

Nozomi N700 Train

A short stop at Shin-Osaka

At first, it was a bit confusing like which train to take since there are many train platforms, after observe and ask people around, i found out that you just need to know the timing, the name of the train, the train final destination, and platform number. The Shinkansen trains are quite frequent, where most of the gap between each train is usually around 30 minutes. Inside the train, they have 2 rows on the left and 3 rows on the right. When you get to the train, make sure you always keep the ticket with you because the train officer will ask for it later. The train was super quiet and super fast with very little turbulence. The seats were comfortably spacious and have power plug connection as well, however wifi connection is only available in some city areas.

Inside Shinkansen

Tasty Bento for lunch

Oh yes and another tip, always get your self a bento box meal and drinks at the station before you get in the train, because it is cheaper compare with the food that they have on the Shinkansen. It feels so good to have lunch while enjoying Japan's beautiful landscapes in front of you.

Then the awaited announcement has finally come, i have finally reach Tokyo Station!

As i get off the Shinkansen platform and made my way down to Tokyo station, i noticed that the station is very big and crowded. Passengers passing by in fast pace and endlessly, since there are many platforms here, it might be confusing for the first timer visitor (especially if you are solo traveler like me). I looked for the information inside the station, they have english speaker which is helpful and you can ask anything regarding getting around in Tokyo, it's good idea to ask them for Tokyo map and subway map. In Tokyo, there are multiple operators run competing lines. Japan Rail (JR) controls two of the most useful lines, the above ground Yamanote (loop) and Chūō (central) lines. The colour-coded tangle of subway lines – 13 in all – are run by one of two operators, Tokyo Metro or Toei. There are also a some private lines as well operating on the stations. What this means is that you may find yourself having to exit the ticket gates from one line and enter the gates for a different line when transferring.

Sometimes too much information can be confusing as well

Before went hotel to check in, i made my second stop in Tokyo at Ueno. Since it was 1.45 PM, i still have time to travel around for a while. Inside Ueno complex you can find Ueno park, a zoo and also several famous museums.

In front of The National Museum of Western Art

Ticket for the regular exhibition
Raphael special exhibition on the museum
 The place was quite crowded with visitors from tourists and students.
As i walk around the area, there is a museum called Tokyo National Museum of Western Art. The museum has collections of paintings and sculpture of some of the world well known western artists such as Auguste Rodin, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Goya, Picasso, and many more. I was curious to see the original artworks in person, so i got my self a ticket to see them!

Paintings collection from 14th - 16th century

The Thinker, August Rodin

The Main Building of the Tokyo National Museum of Western Art was designed by the one of the most famous architect, Le Corbusier. This building said to be the only representative example of his work that you can find in Asia.

Paintings dated from 17th century

After done with the Exhibition, i walked around the Ueno Park to explore more. Here there are some museums and they have a zoo and park as well. Was surprised to find not many people were at the Park, turns out that most people usually comes to the park when Sakura trees starts to blossom. I noticed the time was getting late, so i rushed my self back to the Ueno station and head to Minami-Senju station to check in to my hotel. The hotel New Azuma, was quite close from Ueno which is only around 3 stops away.

A Shrine inside the Ueno complex

Ueno Park
Crowded trains are common sights in Tokyo, you might be pushed inside by the officer!

The hotel that i stayed
Small comfy room :)
The hotel was at the Taito-ku area, took about 500 meters to reach to the hotel from Minami-senju station. The room was a single room with 3 tatami beds and has flat TV (which i never use), bathroom is shared with other guests, you can laundry your clothes and it has good wifi which makes this hotel quite affordable and efficient.

After checked in and put my stuff, i still got some energy to walk and explore the city. I got up back to the train and as i looked up for the station names, i decided to stop by at Ginza. This place said to be one of the most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district in Tokyo. One square meter of land in the district's center is worth over ten million yen, making it one of the most expensive real estate in Japan. Here you can find most of famous branded shops along the district. Unfortunately, when i reached there it was almost 9 PM and most of the shops are starting to close, so after walked around the area, i got my self a dinner then headed back to the hotel again. After looked up on internet for next destinations for tomorrow, it's time to rest my tired legs. Oyasumi Tokyo!

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