101 Kms from Utsunomiya
After a day in ancient Japan, catapult your way back into the 21st Century by starting your second day in the district of Shibuya dodging humans at the world’s busiest crossroad, Shibuya Crossing. If it's too early for such physical contact find a spot to sit or stand and watch as the traffic lights go red and hundreds of busy commuters bolt across in every direction. You can even get a cool birds eye view of the scramble from the Shibuya Hikarie, located just East of Shibuya metro station.
98 Kms from Utsunomiya
Shinjuku Neon Lights are one of the must-experience things to do when you are visiting Tokyo, Japan. The incredible district is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo and it is also a major commercial and administrative center, housing the busiest train station in the world which is the Shinjuku Station. Can you imagine two million people use the station daily and at least 12 different lines pass through here. One could easily get lost inside the station. Anyone and everyone that visits Tokyo will at least make a stop at this unique part of Japan and as for me, my last visit here was back in 1990. You can only imagine how it was back then. On my last visit here in February 2011, it seemed like nothing had changed. Below are pictures I took while I explored this place on foot. Please click on the pictures to see in full size. Walking around at night is probably the best way to experience Shinjuku, especially along the main roads at Kabukicho where you can get a good view of the neon lights that tantalize your eyes. Every nook and cranny was almost covered with all sorts of neon. Even walking pass lanes, you could see lights leading all the way deep into the lanes.Overall, if you like the vibrant nightlife, Shinjuku is one of the places worth exploring as they offer all kinds of shopping and entertainment. Luxury brand stores are also found around here. There are some excellent places with great Japanese food while specialty coffee cafes can be seen here too. Be careful of street promoters that approach and offer you good deals to special clubs and bars as once you are committed, you would most likely end up paying exorbitant prices. Note that various subway lines stop here but the train service stops at midnight so if you plan to stay late, you need to take a taxi back. Some of the best clubs in Tokyo are found here too.
295 Kms from Utsunomiya
Culture and saké: Takayama (2 days) Kampai! Takayama is home to dozens of saké breweries, and is the place to sink down jugs and jugs of this rice-based beverage. If you don’t like the taste that much, try and start with some warm saké after a day of exploring — nice, right? To fill up the day before boozing hour, visit the morning markets, explore the old town on foot, and snap pics of the traditional wooden houses and old-school shops. Or maybe spend an afternoon hanging out in a cafe, sipping on tea and writing postcards while listening to jazz records. Oh, and make sure you hop on the train back to Tokyo during daylight hours: the ride is stunning.