The first stop on our tour of Japan was the country’s capital Tokyo. We stayed for a total of 5 nights, but still only managed to see a small fraction of what the city has to offer. When I visited Las Vegas last year, I got a bit disappointed. TV had told me the city was an overwhelming spectacle of huge casinos and neon lights, but in reality it’s only The Strip that can be described like that. For Tokyo, on the other hand, the image I had of the city in my head was accurate: An endless sea of people, lights and buildings.

If you are going to visit a single Asian city in your life, make it Tokyo. It’s got everything you’ll want and then some, from the buzzing of crowded streets at night to the quiet of a landscape garden or a Buddhist temple. Combine that with a great public transportation system that just works and the general kindness and quiet and relaxed manner of the Japanese and you’re in for a truly unforgettable trip.

Looking for a cab? Not a problem.
Looking for a cab? Not a problem.

An Italian couple, taking pictures as they moved. They didn’t speak a word Japanese or English, but still somehow managed to talk their way into not being allowed into the Imperial East Gardens.
An Italian couple, taking pictures as they moved. They didn’t speak a word Japanese or English, but still somehow managed to talk their way into not being allowed into the Imperial East Gardens.

The crossing in front of Shibyua Station, supposedly the world’s busiest crossing
The crossing in front of Shibyua Station, supposedly the world’s busiest crossing

Shibuya.
Shibuya.

Cook your own food.
Cook your own food.

Tokyo by night, as seen from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Tokyo by night, as seen from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Another view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Another view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

And barbecue your own food.
And barbecue your own food.

This is what happens when you’re not used to a 24 hour clock.
This is what happens when you’re not used to a 24 hour clock.

Hama Rikyu, a large landscape garden in central Tokyo.
Hama Rikyu, a large landscape garden in central Tokyo.

Hama Rikyu.
Hama Rikyu.

The Tsukiji fish market.
The Tsukiji fish market.

The fish market has a lot of small restaurants where you can get food prepared with VERY fresh ingredients.
The fish market has a lot of small restaurants where you can get food prepared with VERY fresh ingredients.

More from the Tsukiji fish market.
More from the Tsukiji fish market.

The JR Yamanote Line, not always crowded.
The JR Yamanote Line, not always crowded.

The Japanese frown upon a lot of things, smoking on the streets one of them. Hence this enclosure for smokers. A brilliant idea.
The Japanese frown upon a lot of things, smoking on the streets one of them. Hence this enclosure for smokers. A brilliant idea.

The Imperial Palace.
The Imperial Palace.

It’s 35+ degrees centigrade, and the humidity is close to 100%. But these guys are still jogging. Stupid or impressive, I’m not sure.
It’s 35+ degrees centigrade, and the humidity is close to 100%. But these guys are still jogging. Stupid or impressive, I’m not sure.

Wedding photos.
Wedding photos.

Akihabara, district for electronic goods.
Akihabara, district for electronic goods.

Akihabara had a lot of arcade halls, where you can, among other things, play this drumming game. Exciting!
Akihabara had a lot of arcade halls, where you can, among other things, play this drumming game. Exciting!

On the streets of Akihabara.
On the streets of Akihabara.

All you can drink in 90 minutes? Since this place was still open for business, I’m assuming they haven’t had any Irish customers yet.
All you can drink in 90 minutes? Since this place was still open for business, I’m assuming they haven’t had any Irish customers yet.

More barbecuing your own food.
More barbecuing your own food.

It’s still 35+ degrees centigrade, and this is not a job you want.
It’s still 35+ degrees centigrade, and this is not a job you want.

Shopping stalls in Asakusa.
Shopping stalls in Asakusa.

The Sensoji Tempe.
The Sensoji Tempe.

Omamori ties at the Sensoji Temple.
Omamori ties at the Sensoji Temple.

The Japanese are very polity and calm, and the same goes for their ambulances.
The Japanese are very polity and calm, and the same goes for their ambulances.

The Tokyo Sky tree.
The Tokyo Sky tree.

View straight down from the Tokyo Sky Tree.
View straight down from the Tokyo Sky Tree.

Another view from the Tokyo Sky Tree.
Another view from the Tokyo Sky Tree.

We visited Japan during the final stages of the parliamentary election and this guy had made a wax statue of himself.
We visited Japan during the final stages of the parliamentary election and this guy had made a wax statue of himself.

The Shinkansen. This is how you build and operate a proper super express trains service.
The Shinkansen. This is how you build and operate a proper super express trains service.

Ah, the Japanese and their crazy English t-shirts.
Ah, the Japanese and their crazy English t-shirts.

Ginza by night.
Ginza by night.