An easy and relatively quick ride on the Shinkansen back from Kyoto to Tokyo, we checked into our hotel and found ourselves presented with a pretty amazing view of the city, right from our room.
And it got me to thinking… this looks a lot like SimCity up here.
I was actually hilariously bad at that game. My cities would go bankrupt shortly after my first power plant blew up. I had to cheat in enough money to build my city up to a freakishly enourmous size, and then start blowing things up, summoning meteor strikes and tornadoes and UFO attacks.
I could never figure out how to use the fire stations effectively, so all my SimCities (usually called Duckburg or Nickville or something else really uncreative) were slowly, painfully flattened.
Leave it to a ten-year-old me to turn a very serious city simulation into a Godzilla movie.
The truth is, Tokyo is that freakishly enormous city. I think SimCity used the word Megalopolis… sounds made up to me. Fortunately the Japanese have seen fit to put themselves in charge, rather than me, so no UFO attacks.
And no tornadoes.
For a city that is so expansive – the greater Tokyo area is home to almost 38 million people – there are plenty of opportunities to go high. Opportunities like our hotel.
Or the Tokyo Skytree. This was amazingly difficult to get to and packed with tourists (like us!) but good for more views during the day.
Even at this height, even with the haze, the city stretches on well past the horizon.
However, we didn’t let that deter us from playing Japanese landmark bingo. Here’s a cemetery (I think):
Or how about a train and a pagoda?
Or how about finding our hotel?
The Skytree itself was also cool to look at, even if you don’t fancy heights.
I thought the Skytree was interesting, but a very complicated trip by JR and private subway to get to, and really crowded. A good stop, maybe if you’re already in the area.
However, I think the best views were definitely at sunrise, from our hotel.
Tokyo is such an impossibly large city, it gets overwhelming fast. Without a good plan, a visit can easily descend into a back-and-forth of “well, what do you want to do?” And then you might end up just hiding in the hotel, taking pictures.