Christmas in Japan wasn’t very Christmassy at all. It’s not really surprising – it holds no relevance to their culture beyond its commercial value and a heightened desire for KFC. A morning to trip to Harajuku resulted in a few scattered sightings of the doll-like girls who pioneered the style that led to international recognition of the area as a fashion hot spot. It’s nothing like it was at its height by all accounts but that didn’t seem to stop half of the population of Japan converging on the famous but tiny street that morning. The crush got so bad that I lost a lens cap before diving into a shop to wait for it to subside.
It wasn’t too long before the Japanese police were on the scene and in their own typical and magnificent style had the whole place running smoothly in minutes.
After surviving Harajuku we returned to base for some Skype calls to family before heading to the hostel bar for a rendezvous with friends and a bite to eat. We’d bumped into Matt [Travel Photographer & Lonely Planet Contributor] and Tilly [Exquisite Music Taste] earlier in the day at Yoyogi park and plotted to make an evening of it. We also bumped into Nina and Leila down in the Harajuku crush whom we knew from our time in Kyoto and they took over the bar music system for the evening, while Shaun & Christine also wandered in after a meal. It all made for a great way to spend the evening of Christmas day.
The evening drew to a close with a failed attempt at finding a Kareoke bar, a 7-eleven tour on the long walk home [they do great chicken!] and a late night Skype to my Mum and Bro back enjoying Christmas Dinner in the UK.
On Boxing day we transferred to another hostel in the morning and tied up the accommodation for our imminent arrival in Hong Kong. We found an Indian buffet for lunch – a welcome digression from the nonetheless very good local cuisine and in the afternoon found an observatory atop the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building where we were treated to spectacular sunset and evening panoramas of Tokyo’s amazing metropolis – even Fuji-san reigned on the horizon.
It felt like a fitting end to a wonderful journey through an incredible country. It may be expensive – and to any would-be visitors I’d advise being prepared for that – but you get what you pay for.