Japan and Tokyo have been in my bucket list for a long time. The country appears quite often in my dream, those shiny smiles of Japanese people, the Wagu beef, Sappor, Asahi beer, sake, salmon, sashimi, sushi, udon, ramen, tempura. My gratitude to ChangeMakersXchange – you made this happen:
Tokyo – happier and easier traveling with Triip’s local experts
My first destination in Japan is Hiroshima, then Tsuwano, then Kyoto, and Tokyo is the last destination during my 12 days Japan trip. Since Triip.me has not had any Triip creators/local experts in Hiroshima, Tsuwano and Kyoto yet; it took me a lot of time and many mobile apps to travel myself, to understand history of the city or places I visited as well as cultural symbols, the streets and food. I had to use Wikitriip most of the time; hence, my phone power bank was so important, since the battery was running out so fast. And I felt something still missing here, I had not understood enough about Japanese culture and locals until I booked the Triip of our local experts in Tokyo. I booked 3 different triips – the first one is Marc’s – a Spanish English teacher from Barcelona, living in Tokyo for 3 years and a half; the second is Katsuhiko’s – a Japanese man who is deeply in love with film old cameras, he loves to take travelers to places where Japanese locals relax, not touristy place; and the third one is Binh’s – a Vietnamese who is living in Tokyo and working for the biggest travel company in Japan: JTB.
I started the day by taking Marc’s triip Akihabara- Asakusa and Sky tree, as Marc’s described: “On this trip within 4 hours you will see the world-wide famous Japanese culture of: pop art (manga, video games, cosplay…), history and religion (Sensoji Temple) and the latest state-of-the-art architecture and design (SkyTree).” I lived it up that 4-hour with Marc. He did not know the fact that I am from Triip.me. Since I am his first customer, he was very careful to explain about Japanese pop art from the view of an expat living here. For the first time since my 12-day trip in Japan, I did not use any app or spend too much time researching on my phone but by local wisdom did I learn that there is a cute girl band with 48 members in Tokyo. What’s more surprising is to learn about Marc – our proud local expert: “Hello! I’m Marc. I’m Spanish, 34 years old and living in Tokyo for a few years now. I have a university degree on tourism and traveling is my passion. I want to show you the best of Tokyo culture and sites. Let’s enjoy together!”
Ah, I almost forgot, on the way to Sky Tree, we visited the Cat Cafe in Tokyo. What a great experience!
We finished Marc’s triip at the Green tea cafe shop, Sky Tree. Then I started my next triip with Katsuhiko – “I have a number of experiences taking international friends over a short trip in and around Tokyo. I would like to share the experiences with those who are looking for fun time walking around the areas locals go. I also practice photography using both film and digital cameras on both streets and landscapes. So if you are into the cameras, I can take you to spots to take great shots.” – This is what Katsuhiko introduce on his triip’s profile, and I was so curious about his triip that I booked it. “Bitter Sweet Downtown Tokyo”
The first destination we visited was Kiyosumi Teien Japanese garden
Built by a feudal lord, this beautiful Japanese garden dated back to sometime in 16th century. Yataro Iwasaki, a founder of Mitsubishi group bought this garden, refurbished it and donated it to Tokyo city in the early 1930’s.
The garden has a large Koi pond in the middle, it is unique in a way that you can get very close to the water at a number of places in the path, you can even touch the Koi fish approaching for food. If you are lucky, you can spot a few turtles doing a stretch under the sun, which is very funny to look at. Above all, I was lucky enough to see the turtles stretch his body under the sun 🙂
Then we visited Fukagawa Edo Museum. On the way there, we watched some sumos on the street :). It was an interesting experience.
Fukagawa Edo Museum displays life-sized recreations of its neighborhood from 17th century Edo period.
Built by carpenters around the town using real materials, the townscape is done painstakingly. The best part is that you can actually go inside the houses and sit down on tatami mats to experience how cozy the living those small structures are.
We also visited Japanese Sweet shop, to enjoy some handmade Japanese mochi – sweet and bitter – of course: coffee. Katsu took me to an authentic coffee shop owning by a special Japanese who collected all kinds of coffee around the world: Thailand, Myanmar, Peru, Dominican Republic… except Vietnam. 🙁 I told him, next time I come back, I would bring the best Vietnamese Coffee for him.
Katsu also introduced me some other places, since I had another triip at 5:00 pm, I had to say good bye to him. Hopefully, I can come back soon one day to take his triip and discover Japan old Camera shop. Katsu is very careful, he gave me a Fuji film camera as a gift – so I could take photos myself during his triip. How nice and friendly he is!
In my last triip, I met Binh – a Vietnamese working at JTB. I did not know that Binh had known me and Hai before I met him, Binh is also from Da Nang – what a small world! :-). So I spent the last couple of hours enjoying Tokyo Shinjuku area as well as some shopping for my kids at home, with Binh’s help. And yes, I was so hungry for skipping lunch for Marc and Katsu’s triip, Binh took me to a Vietnamese restaurant in Shinjuku. 🙂 Please don’t laugh at me, I enjoyed most of Japanese cuisine, and wherever I go, I also want to taste how different Vietnamese cuisine is. Binh gave me a really good insight of how young Japanese people live and work, and how old company is doing here. Everything is so convenient, developed, technology, high-tech in Japan – on the other hand, life of salary man is so stressful. You can read more about Binh’s triip here.
I had a wonderful day with our Triip Creators 🙂 and I feel so lucky when working at Triip.me :):):)
Not only in Tokyo, Japan or in Vietnam, we have our local experts in 93 countries and YES, more cities, countries and especially our local experts to visit :).
Check it out: www.triip.me