08 October 2007

Tokyo districts: Roppongi, Harajuku, Akihabara and The Ginza

If you're just tuning in, this is my second dispatch from The Land of the Rising Sun. Please read the first entery "Please to Welcome you Japan."

Our trip has three acts: 1) Tokyo, 2) Kyoto Hiroshima, and Okayama, 3) back to Tokyo. We've finished our first leg in Tokyo and managed to cover four major districts: Roppongi, Harajuku, Akihabara and The Ginza. Sounds like a roster of Wu-Tang producers, I know.


Roppongi supposedly has great nightlife. I dunno. I think the guidebooks should say, "Roppongi has great nightlife...if you are male." I didn't see a lot of girls there (except on flyers). Farther up is Roppongi Hills which has some swanky hotels and shops: that's where I took this photo of Tokyo Tower. I went to the arcade later on, it was kind of like the one in Lost in Translation (but not).


Harajuku is the famed cutting-edge fashion district of Tokyo. This is a photo of the entranace to Takeshita street. If you go straight out from the subway exit, you hit Takeshita. It's a jam-packed street with boutique shops ranging from gothic to hip-hop. Periodically there's a street vendor selling crepes. If you exit toward the right, it takes you to Omotesando: the high-fashion avenue. All the big designers are here, along with a lot of up-and-coming ones.


Akihabara has the Western nickname "Electric Town" but "Geektopia" would be more accurate. There are dozens upon dozens of electronics vendors. The main streets have five and six-storey buildings where you can buy TVs, iPods, PDAs, etc. There are also a couple of buildings that specialize in manga and anime collectors items. On the side streets, alleys really, there are 8ft x 8ft stalls that sell one specific electronic components. There is a stall just for fuses. There is another stall just for AC adaptors. The stall next to it is just voltage meters. It's bizarre.

The Ginza

The Ginza is described in guidebooks as "similar to New York's Park Avenue." I wouldn't say that's accurate, it's more like 5th Avenue. There are lots of shops from well-known designers (Gucci, Dior, Prada, etc). There is also a big Sony building (which is where we spent most of our time). There are four floors of the latest and greatest Sony products (TVs, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, etc). Some of the items are not available yet in the states, but most are. This is going to sound really stupid, but, I was kind of underwhelmed by The Ginza because, well, we have all those stores at South Coast Plaza.

No comments: