layover: 24 hours in tokyo

From Australia, it’s a long way to Europe (or anywhere, really) so each time I travel I try to incorporate a stopover in a different city. Japan Airlines flies from Melbourne, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Cairns to Tokyo and passengers can then connect through to Europe. It’s not the most common connection from Australia to Europe (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or Dubai would probably be the most popular) but it’s a really interesting option for something different. Flights don’t connect efficiently though which usually means a mandatory stopover, but the plus side to this is that, if you book the quickest connection, JAL will usually provide you with accommodation for the night. If you’re up for an adventure though, bypass the airport accommodation and head into the city for a 24-hour Tokyo jaunt.

shinjuku at night

shinjuku at night

night life

Tokyo possesses some wonderful night life, whether it be hole in the wall bars, karaoke clubs or Ministry of Sound-style super clubs. Shinjuku is where I based myself since that’s where our hotel was, but Roppongi and Shibuya have a great atmosphere as well.

a view from the top

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku provides a wonderful view over the whole city. It’s worth it to gain an appreciation for Tokyo’s mix of old and new – this concrete jungle has beautiful green gardens scattered throughout. Unless you happen to be in Tokyo on a super clear day though, don’t expect amazing views of Mt Fuji – smog usually makes it pretty hard to see.

something fishy

Stay out late enough and you can head straight to the fish markets before dawn. “The Fish Markets?” you ask. Yes, the fish markets. I guarantee you will never see anything else like it. You need to be there early enough (say, about 4am) but it’s worth it to see the major players of the sushi world bidding tens of thousands of dollars for the best fish (especially tuna). It’s madness… like watching the finale of The Block, only better (and stinkier). So these are the three things I would do on a one-night layover. There’s so much to do in Tokyo if you have the time (Studio Ghibli, Disney, shrines galore, Harajuku etc etc) but for one night, immerse yourself in the crazy. Also, check out my friend’s page over at kittenishgirl, she’s a Tokyo fiend!

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6 thoughts on “layover: 24 hours in tokyo

  1. I was reading this post thinking how great it was and then you mentioned me at the end, aw! 🙂 *hugs* Tokyo is definitely a great place to stopover and flights from there to Europe are only 10 hours which is so much more doable sometimes, especially after a long stopover when you’re all fresh and buzzing from the city. Xo

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  2. Aloha Amelia and Kittenishgirl,
    An 8 to 10 hour flight to Tokyo – out on the town until after 4am – followed by a 10 hour flight to Europe — Young ladies I do admire your stamina. Go for it!
    A Hui Hou, Wayne

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    • Haha Wayne I must admit that right now I don’t think I could do it again, but think of it this way – if you tire yourself out enough, you’ll sleep well on the plane. This flight will have you arriving into London at about 6am and so the more you sleep on the plane, the better you fight the jetlag!

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  3. Pingback: 24 hours in Tokyo | The Beautiful Traveller

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