Crowded and somewhat pricey (but not to where either was bothersome to me, I encountered several lines at lunches but they were always orderly and they moved quite fast with good service at the end; food was great; food and ground transportation were not unreasonably priced, in restaurants I frequented and using the metro/subway system). Hotel room would have been quite pricey had I been on my own, but it was discounted heavily (~40%) for the conference I attended.
Clean (city in general, subways, even public restrooms!)
Polite (people are very friendly, helpful, and unusually quiet for the most part)
Safe (did not feel threatened or at risk anywhere I went)
Beautiful (but visited almost no completely natural places)
Striking (business-related and religiously inspired architecture is impressive and pleasant to look at)
Technology (it is everywhere, from complex multi-tiered bridges to hotel-room electronics and even toilets with a bum-wash cycle and a bidet function for the ladies)
Food (wonderful and easy to order everywhere I went, even as a vegetarian! Hotel breakfast was incredibly generous and always looked like a breakfast/lunch combination)
I’d love to come back for an extended visit and see more that the city has to offer, and especially to see more of the countryside. Would love to visit older and more traditional Japanese cities like Kyoto. Next time!
But in four days I did get to see quite a bit. The first day consisted of an all-day bus trip to Tokai to see the Japanese equivalent of a nuclear energy national laboratory. On the way up and back on the expressway we saw rolling hills with valleys devoted to small villages and agriculture. Many rivers also. Took photos on the way up, it was too rain-dark on the way back to bother with photos from a fast-moving bus.
With one afternoon and one morning free, I did get to see a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine, some more traditional parts of Tokyo, and some ultramodern parts of the city as well.
Picture pages of these excursions follow. Of course.
One thing I did not see was this scene, I have copied it from a subway advertisement and filed it away as a future destination:
[Please note that the theme for these pages is cherry blossoms, for which Tokyo is deservedly famous, but not at the time of year that I visited, which was the transition time from Summer to Fall]
Follow these links to see some small part of what I got to see during my week in Tokyo:
[One part you will not see because my pictures did not come out well is an excellent night-time harbor dinner cruise arranged by our hosts from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan. Only a couple of photos are legible:
I belive the constant vibration of the ship caused blurring like this:
On to my (daylight) Tokyo side trips:
My immediate surroundings (hotel and meeting place)
A metro ride
A ride on the world's tallest ferris wheel with some decent city views
Deep into the city with a view of its tallest building and a park
A Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine complex
On the road to Tokai
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