Small in Japan

Adventures in Far East Asia


Day 1 Part 1
Day 3 Part 1
Day 5 Part 1
Day 7 Part 1
Day 1 Part 2
Day 3 Part 2
Day 5 Part 2
Day 7 Part 2
Day 2 Part 1
Day 4 Part 1
Day 6 Part 1
Day 8 Part 1
Day 2 Part 2
Day 4 Part 2
Day 6 Part 2

Day 2 Part 2

Finding Tokyo Tower

After our first visit to Akihabara, Sven revealed that he was very bored. He had rather explored the rest of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower, which he tried to find the night before. But he was not successful; in the darkness, the tower got out of sight. I personally have some experience in tower finding, as I spent a week in Paris. We tried to get to the Eiffel Tower just walking more or less straight at it, and it still took us about two hours! So, the Tokyo Tower is pretty similar to it, and I expected at least an hour's walk. Also, I expected us to end up like the typical Japanese person, sitting totally exhausted in public:

a tired man they see no longer cares

Our starting point was this spider-esque construction pretty close to Roppongi. After Sven's personal souvenir photo, we tried to make out where we should head to the tower. From this quite elevated point, we could see for miles. And in the distance, there was this red and white steel skeleton. We knew roughly where to go, and we justed marched on.

starting point 1

starting point 2

First, we had to go down rom this bridge-like construction to make it to the streets again. But that was easier said than done: It took us - no kidding - about 15 minutes to go down a gazillion different stairs. We passed modern architecture, a TV station building (actually we went right through it) and some very off-limit-looking areas. At one point, I was shooshed away by a security guard in front of a hotel or something. I was walking right in front of the entrance on the driveway for limousines. Maybe he was worried that I would get hit by a car going 10 km/h. Whatever...

obscurity and TV

At ground level, it was much harder to see Tokyo Tower. Actually, it was impossible to see it. We could only have a wild guess. While we thought we were going in the right direction, we could have a look at the streets. Once again, everything was clean, although this part of town did not seem the richest. Ther were no people hanging around, actually there were only very few people compared to the busier parts of the city. And to this point, we haven't been to the really busy areas. Anyway, we wandered up- and downhill, as you can see in the pictures. And every then and now, we could have a short glimpse at the Tokyo Tower. We came closer!

streets and tower

After little more than an hour, we finally arrived at the tower. It was very clear to me from the beginning that I would never go up there. For 2 reasons: number one: I am afraid of heights, and secondly I didn't go up the Eiffel Tower with my wife, so there was a moral obligation to stay on the ground. How could I explain to her that I didn't go up with HER, but in Japan I had no problem with that. Oliver still went, and I stayed down with Sven. We looked around and found something interesting:

banana baumkuchen

Maybe it's just me, but I did noct expect to read "Baumkuchen" in Japan. It is well-known that there are some German words that made it into other languages like Bratwurst, Sauerkraut Schnitzel - but Baumkuchen? Is this a German invention? I would have guessed that it was of French or Italian origin, like most sweet bakery stuff. But, hat the heck? Oh, and a few words about bananas: I don't know why, but Japanese people, or at least the bakeries, are mad about bananas. In Germany, you would have to go on long, maybe fruitless (haha) searches to find banana cake. This kind of food does not exist here, if I'm not mistaken. That's what makes Banana Baumkuchen even more surreal. Too bad I didn't have a taste. Maybe someone who visits Tokyo might be able to send me some? Back to topic, now: the Tower. Oliver had a great overview, I got some pics from him. This is the best, I think:


Mission accomplished, you would think. The first part, yes - we found the tower, we took photos of it. But here comes the tricky part: Finding our way back to our hotels. Earlier that day, we bought subway tickets that allowed us to use certain lines as much as we liked on that day. But sadly, none of these lines had a station nearby. Instead of just buying another ticket, we tried to walk to the next station that would let us in. What appeared as a walk of 30 minutes tops became an odyssey of about 3 hours. We constantly went into the wrong direction; Sven then decided to use his compass to find the right way. It was a really exhausting march, but it brought some benefits: we could take some really nice photos of Tokyo in the evening, albeit not in the finest districts.

Tokyo night