Best Areas to Visit on Your First Trip to Tokyo!

JLD01801If your the type to make a list of top places to visit, Japan should be at the top of your list. Japan is one of our favorite places we’ve ever traveled to and can’t wait to go back. It’s absolutely beautiful, clean, safe, friendly and has so many cool things to do.

Tokyo, Japans capital, is a mixture of ultramodern and traditional with skyscrapers right next to historic temples. For being ranked the most populous metropolitan area in the world we found Tokyo so easy to get around and surprisingly clean with and endless amount of things to do. So here’s a list of our favorite places we visited and favorite things to do in the city!

SHINKJUKU 

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Shinjuku is a major nightlife area in Tokyo where you’ll easily be entertained just walking around. It’s also where you’ll find the famous Robot Restaurant, arcades, VR Zone and many Purikura photobooths to make all your Korean beauty dreams come true. Shinjuku is also where you’ll find Golden Gai, a area of narrow and winding alleys with tiny taverns that only seat about 5 people at a time. So if you want to go to the coolest area for bar hopping Golden Gai in Shinjuku will not disappoint.

SHIBUYA

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Shibuya is a great location for some of the best higher end shopping and home to the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing where some 10 lanes of traffic and 5 major walkways that as many as 2,500 pedestrians at rush hour can cross all at once all without crashing into each other. It is completely mesmerizing to watch and even more exciting to actually walk it! You can head right over the the local Starbucks in that area to get a bit of a higher up view but the best (and free) viewing spot is the rooftop of the department store Mag’s Park.

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From here you can take an easy walk to Yoyogi Park that’s home to the beautiful Meji Shrine. Once your in the park you’ll have a hard time believing your in one of the most populated cities in the world. It’s like a huge forest in the middle of the city and you can barely even hear the sounds of the street on the outside. We absolutely loved taking a break from the August sun and busy streets to take a walk in such a scenic and peaceful park.

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HARAJUKU

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Harajuku is the trendy hub for colorful street art and the fashion scene in Tokyo. This is the area that you’ll want to do your vintage shopping while keeping an eye out for the Harajuku girls completely decked out in crazy and yet cutest outfits you’ve ever seen. The main street to walk and shop is Takeshita St. but if you want the true and more real Harajuku scene then find your way to Cat St. and Brahms path. There you’ll find a more chill vibe with some of my favorite vintage shops I’ve ever been to.

While in the Harajuku District make sure to find your way to the Tokyo Plaza Omotesando. Go all he way to the top where you’ll find a sweet little cafe with a great view of the city and sweet vibes.

ASAKUSA 

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Asakusa was one of our favorite areas to explore after having been in the busier areas of Tokyo. It has an older and more traditional feel to the streets. Asakusa is also home to one of our favorite temples in Tokyo called the Sensoji Temple. You’ll know when you’re getting closer to the temple as the street take on a more traditional look and street signs start pointing you in the direction the market leading up to the Temple where you can buy trinkets and souvenirs.

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AKIHABARA

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Akihabara is where you’ll find all the tech and anime shops. While neither Jason nor I are big gamers and anime lovers Akihabara is still one of the most interesting places to walk around and just observe the craziness of the area. You’ll find bazaar themed cafes on every corner including Maide cafe’s where you have to say things like “meow meow” while wearing bunny ears to get the attention of your waitress. Honestly, if you come across one of these and you really want a memorable and hilarious experience just say yes and go right in. You will NEVER forget it!

This tech and anime hub has more than enough things to do to keep you busy but one of my all time favorite things we did while there was visit one of the Forest of Owls Cafes where you can pet, interact and even hold the cutest rescued owls and other exotic birds!

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These were just a few of our favorite memories while visiting Japan and there are so many other areas we can’t wait to explore on our next trip there (we loved it so much we’re already scheming on when to go back). Until then, I hope this helps anyone who is looking for different areas to visit in Tokyo since it’s such a HUGE city!

If you’ve been there comment below and tell us your favorite spots to visit! We love hearing from you ❤

~ Shields

What to Expect on Your First Trip to India

Before Jason and I go to another country we get obsessed with doing as much research on the area as we can. We watch videos and documentaries, read books and blog posts and talk with anyone who’s been to where we’re going as if we’re stalking the country. I always feel like we get more out of our time when we understand the layout better, have an idea of the things we know we want to see and experience and know a bit about the culture. So, when we officially decided to go to India, the stalking began. Every single thing we read and watched always said first and foremost there’s nothing that can prepare you for your first time in India. A lot of people even commented on wishing they could go back and experience their first time again because of how shocking and transformative it is. After being in India for one day I already knew what everyone was talking about. The version of me sitting in my living room thinking “Ok, so nothing prepares you for it. I’m prepared to not be prepared. Be open minded and take it all in.” compared to the version of me actually in India seeing what everyone was talking about for myself, I thought, “Good lord, I really had no idea.” Describing India with words, pictures and even videos still falls short of what it actually feels like to be in it.

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Even though I’ve probably already convinced you there’s nothing that can prepare you for your first time to India, I still think getting as much knowledge and advice as you can is still the best way to go. I’ve put together a short list of things to expect and tips for your first time in India.

1. WILD ANIMALS EVERYWHERE
Wild animals roam the cities and towns and are, for the most part, pretty harmless as long as you respect their space. Dogs, cows, monkeys, the tiniest and cutest chipmunks you’ll ever see are free to explore. Just make sure to watch where you step 😉

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2. AMAZING FOOD
Hopefully, if you’re going to India that means you like Indian food. We had good luck using the zomato app to find the higher rated places to go which really helped in finding the best food. It’s just like any other place where finding the hotspots to eat are so worth the extra time to look it up. Don’t forget about the amazing street food! Just make sure whatever you eat has been cooked and not washed in anything but clean water. It’s typically best to only eat fruits with peels and veggies that are cooked when eating street food. My absolute favorite street food was a dessert called Jalebis, a deep fried batter in a coil shape that’s dipped in a sweet syrup.

3. INTERESTING SMELLS
There are some really great smells like the food and incense along with some really bad smells. Make sure to bring something like tiger balm to put under your nose if you have a weak stomach.

4. DIRT
There is dirt everywhere. Your shoes will get pretty dirty, so make sure to wear something comfortable that you don’t mind getting really worn in or even throwing them out at the end of the trip.

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5. INCREDIBLE ARCHITECTURE
India has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Hitting some of the tourist spots like Tombs, Temples and Palaces is a touristy thing you won’t regret.

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6. LIVING CONDITIONS
Expect to see extreme contrast in living conditions. You will find some of the poorest living conditions right next to a contrasting scene of wealth and you will see more poverty than anything.

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7. POLUTION
Especially in larger cities like Delhi, expect to see a haze in the sky, and breathing will feel a little difficult at times. This also means some pretty gnarly boogers. Bringing a pollution mask for the larger cities is definitely a good idea.

8. PICTURES
Indian people love to take pictures and to be in pictures. If you happen to stand out as a tourist with light skin and hair expect for people to want to take pictures of you and with you. Remember that it’s ok to politely decline if the pictures start to become too much and take away from you experience.

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9. CHAOTIC DRIVING
Driving will seem like absolute chaos in India, so whether you take a cab, tuk tuk or Uber the best thing you can do is relax and trust your driver. They know how to maneuver through the streets and the chaos system they have seems to work.

10. BARTERING
Be prepared to barter for most things. Indian people actually love it when you barter with them, so don’t be shy when bartering for a tuk tuk ride or when shopping.

 

All in all, India is an absolutely stunning country with such a rich culture and beautiful people. My main advice is to go to India with an open mind and a soft heart and let it reveal itself to you and you will be changed forever. Good luck and safe travels!

~ Shields

Welcome to Jay + Shields

 

 

Hello and Welcome to Jay + Shields!

If you’re reading this you probably follow Jason and I on social media so you probably know that we are a married couple from Nashville, TN who have grown an affinity for travel. Jason is a professional photographer and director and I have no problem being shy in front of a camera so naturally we love to capture our adventures and share them along the way. We love to create, learn as much as possible and share what inspires us in hope to inspire others.

It’s not all about the pictures though. There’s been a question lingering in my mind for a while now, what impact do I wish to have on the world before my time is up? To be pure light and love is the most common answer that pops into my mind. I’ve discovered through our travels my heart expands and my source of light grows brighter. I’ve become perceptually more elastic and empathetic while the illusion of separation and borders has started to evaporate. We are all connected in our humanity. Mark Twain said it best in The Innocents Abroad – “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”. I hope through this blog we will inspire others to go beyond their comfort zones and see what the world has to offer for themselves.

After a long time of lingering in my usual state over analyzing everything including how I want to do this blog I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no idea what I’m doing as far as blogging goes but I’m going to figure it out as I go. I want this space to be a creative outlet for me and a place where anyone who’s interested can keep up with us as we adventure into new and foreign lands. While a big part of this blog will be about our travels it will also be a place for updates on things we’re working on, things we’re excited about, maybe thoughts on something that inspires us. Who knows… this online world is our oyster, right?

If you have anything you’d like to hear about specifically please do not hesitate to comment on here. I’d love to hear from you! I hope you enjoy keeping up with us as we make our way through life. Stay tuned for a ton of unseen (and some already seen) pictures, videos, thoughts and more!

Cheers!

– Shields