We could have flown back to Central Asia to carry on where we left off but we both decided we would like a change. We were planning on going to Japan at some stage, why not now? We would be there for autumn and the weather should be good. We boxed up the bikes and flew to Tokyo with Turkish Airlines. We had booked an Airbnb with Matthew in Tokyo and were planning on staying a few days before heading up to Hokkaido. Tokyo was wonderful, but humid with temperatures in the high 30s. It is a huge city of over 13 million people connected by an excellent network of trains with tens of different subway lines often run by different companies. It is made up of 23 separate municipalities and each is a city unto itself.
We spent 5 days exploring it and touched only a small part. It is so diverse ranging from state of the art high rise buildings and malls to quiet parks, beaches, and amusement parks. It is all very clean with no litter and feels very safe. It is generally much quieter than most cities apart from a few districts like Shibuya, an area full of clothes shops where the piped music really does your head in.
It is a great city to cycle round with the municipalities only separated by a km or so. We posted our bikes on to Hokkaido so ended up booking on a cycling tour for 1 day. There are plenty of cycle lanes and if the roads are busy everyone cycles on the pavements.
The architecture is fantastic and despite the variety of buildings doesn’t seem to jar. Some of the buildings are connected by walkways above the roads which makes for a much more relaxing experience away from the traffic. There are whole blocks full of restaurants ,which can make deciding where to eat more difficult faced with so much choice. You can find Ramen (noodle bars) everywhere, you pay at a machine outside and hand the tickets over to collect your delicious ramen.