Last night in Seoul, South Korea, I went to sleep at a hotel at Gimpo Airport. It turned out to be a very convenient decision because my flight to Tokyo was at dawn.
On the day of the flight, I left the hotel when it was still night and crossed walking with my suitcase to the airport. At 9 am. I was landing at Haneda airport on the outskirts of Tokyo.
It's very convenient before traveling to make certain arrangements to have some things solved beforehand, such as, for example, hired a bus service that transported me from the airport to the door of my hotel in Shinjuku. Also, I had bought online a SIM card that was sent to my hotel for my cell phone, that way I would have access to the internet, maps and communication.
As my room would just be ready at 2 pm, after leaving my suitcase, I went to explore Tokyo.
The first impression was the huge amount of people walking on the streets, with traffic lights that allow the crossing of pedestrians in all possible directions, horizontal, vertical and diagonal.
The first place that I wanted to find was a vegan restaurant. Luckily, I managed to find it on a third floor, entering through a door and a tiny staircase. There I was attended by two very nice young Japanese ladies. I was lucky that they still had food left, vegan restaurants usually open only for breakfast and lunch and, since they don't prepare a lot of food when they run out they usually close.
From the window on the third floor of the restaurant, I could listen to music and celebrations in the street. It was an exhibition in the nearby park. So after a delicious lunch and good company, I set out to visit Gyoen Park.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is the largest park in Shibuya and Shinjuku, in Tokyo and was founded in the Edo period. It houses more than 20,000 trees on its 58 hectares. It consists of a beautiful lake and countless paths that form a maze between exotic plants, bamboo, orchids…. The day I went to visit the park there was an exhibition of chrysanthemums in all possible varieties and sizes. Even some plants had a metal structure that allowed all the chrysanthemum flowers to be exposed and visible.
I slowly walked back to my hotel for a different street, so I could see other places in Tokyo. In the middle of huge buildings, I found a shop where they sold the Rugby Championship shirts that had already finished in Tokyo.
That afternoon we meet for the first time in a hotel all those we were attending to the course of Indigo Shibori. It happens to be a group of ladies, mostly from England and a British man. After the presentations, we went for a walk on the pedestrian streets of Shinjuku to a tiny restaurant in the basement of a building for dinner.
Shinjuku is the largest commercial and administrative area of Tokyo, with a large population, but above all, the most striking is the number of night neon lights, so many and so powerful that it seems to be daylight. In its pedestrian streets, there are large pachinko centers, a kind of slot machine game, where music, noise, and lights are maddening.
A large train and subway station is located in Shinjuku, which connect the city in different directions.
That was my first day in Tokyo. A vibrant, bright and very interesting city.