Tokyo Station: Finding Trail to JR Expressway Bus Stop

Preparing to leave Harajuku Station.

A little past two in the afternoon. I started leaving Meiji Jingū via Harajuku Station. I retraced Yamanote Line, turning south through Shinagawa District, then back to north. It covered a distance of fifteen kilometers and costed 200 Yen.

I arrived at Tokyo Station a little past three-thirty in the afternoon and was dropped off at platform number four near Marunouchi North Exit. Maranuochi itself is a business district located in west of Tokyo Station.

I continued down an underground passage and kept looking for directions to get out at exit gate located closest to JR Expressway Bus Stop. Since morning, I have decided to use bus to movimg from downtown to Narita International Airport.

Once down the stairs then I was faced with a long corridor. Right on the wall in front of the last step was a wide yellow signboard. The sign directed me to exit at Yaesu South Exit. That was the closest exit from the JR Expressway Bus Stop. Do you know about Yaesu?….In the opposite direction of Maranuochi then Yaeshu is an area located at east of Tokyo Station.

Location directions in the corridors of Tokyo Station.
Those who don’t want to bring a backpack, please rent a locker.
This is rental locker at Tokyo Station.
Where are you currently?
Automatic ticketing vending machine.

The commercial side of this station is so dominant. Along the underground passage, the station sell locker facilities to passengers. These storage facilities are known as Coin Lockers. This locker type has a rental price which varies from 600 to 1,000 Yen per day.

Along the corridors of Tokyo Station was so crowded. I kept stepping and starting to get disoriented. Unknowingly, I have arrived at Shinkansen Transfer North Gate. Until finally a station staff helped to direct me to the nearest exit. For his services, I finally managed to get out at Yaesu Central Exit.

Yups….Arrived at Yaesu Central Exit.

The time lag for my flight schedule was still long. I also didn’t want to be at the airport too long. So I decided to take a seat in the courtyard of Tokyo Station. I continued to observe the activities of Tokyo residents who seemed very busy. While enjoying the busyness, I consistently opened the skin of guazi and chewed it seed by seed. And because I couldn’t find a trash can, I threw the peel of guazi on the roots of ornamental plants. I didn’t think that an officer to notice my bad behavior. I responded quickly, before he came to me, I showed him the half-filled guazi packaging. Miraculously, he just smiled and nodded. In fact, if he reprimanded me, then I was ready to take that organic trash again.

Guazi skin problem is over….

I got up from my seat and headed for JR Expressway Bus Stop. Arriving at the location, I immediately entered a long queue at the number seven bus platform. Exactly at four o’clock in the afternoon, I boarded JR Bus Kanto which was typical white with blue color.

I handed over 1,000 Yen to the driver, who was very well-groomed and in a tie. After he gave me a receipt, I took the back seat.

Located at JR Expressway Bus Stop.
Let’s got in!

I was getting ready to head to Narita International Airport Terminal 1.

Writing Prayers and Wishes in Meiji Jingū

Get ready for second day of adventure in Tokyo @ Nakano Station platform.

The tragedy of losing my wallet at Nakano Station made me gulp in fear, it turned out that there was still a coward side behind my courage to explore the world. I calmed down for a moment by sipping drinking water from free water station at one of Nakano Station platforms.

The silver and yellow colored commuter of Chūō Line arrived, I took a step into a middle carriage and sat at long bench on left. I deliberately chose to sit right above a console grill heater. That was my habit while riding Japann’s trains which was slipping into the winter.

I continued to follow the Chūō Line towards east and then turned into south after changing to Yamanote Line at Shinjuku Station. Within twenty minutes, I arrived at Harajuku Station after traveling for about seven kilometers. I only had to pay 170 Yen for this trip.

Crossing the long corridor of Harajuku Station, I came out from West Exit directly opposite Meiji Jingū First Torii Gate on the right. But gosh……

Now that I’ve lost my right glove, how could I resist cold air if my equipment disappeared? I retraced my path when I exited the station platform and finally I found one of those gloves in the middle of corridor after automatic fare collection gates. I didn’t know why?, since this morning, I’ve been stuck losing things even though it were found again. Could this be the start of all surprising things ahead of my adventure?

Alright…Focused back to my steps…..

Now I was posing in front of Meiji Shrine gate. The Torii was so distinctive, the inspiration for a famous automotive company logo in “the Land of Samurai”. I walked through smooth gravel as the entrance to the temple. The path had a width of one meter on left side, combined with a one meter wide paving block path bordered by rope for exit route on the right. Meanwhile, in some parts, the path was bordered by bamboo fences which were neatly arranged as high as the waist of an adult.

In front of the gates of Meiji-jingumae Station “Harajuku” (Chiyoda Line) as part of Tokyo Metro Subway Network. But I didn’t take the Tokyo Metro.
In front of the Meiji Jingū Torii.
Sake drums (kazaridaru).
Wooden wine drums.

Meanwhile, an old officer removed leaves from road using a backpack-leaf blower. Leaves just needed to be pushed aside to road side and allowed to become natural compost, so environmentally friendly.

Within four hundred meters, on the right, I was blown away by neat arrangement of kazaridaru dedicated to Meiji-tennō and Shōken-kōgō. While right on the left side was an arrangement of wine drums made of wood.

Arriving at the main Torii of shrine, every visitor must wash their hands at Temizuya with water using a long-stemmed dipper. This ritual of self-washing or misogi aimed to purify the body and mind before standing in front of a deity to pray.

Temizuya (shinto shrine pavilion for purification) in Meiji Jingū.
In the middle of temple.

For a moment I stopped after passing through main gate, I was amazed by the size of the Meiji Jingū . This was a shrine dedicated to the spirit of Meiji-tennō , the ancient ruler of Japan.

Meanwhile in some parts of the temple was being renovated. Workers in white carpenter uniforms, complete with various carpentry equipments on their waists and wearing safety helmets, were seen standing on the step ladder, busy making repairs.

While at the end of the shrine, tourists could be seen queuing up at a shop which sells ema and omamori boards. The shop seemed to be guarded by beautiful women dressed in white and red kimonos, they looked polite and graceful to serve the visitors.

While I was busy writing a prayer on a piece of paper, then I put it in a box. While some tourists wrote prayers and hopes on the ema board they bought, then hang it on the spot provided.

The carpenters were on duty.
Shops selling omamori were amulets that were believed by the Japanese to bring good luck and safety.
What was I praying about?
An ema board, a small wooden plaque decorated with handwritten art which expressed hope.

It didn’t feel like an hour and a half walked until I finally finished exploring all parts of the temple. This was my last destination in Tokyo, because I would soon be heading to Narita International Airport to catch Peach Aviation flight number MM6320 which would depart at 21:35 hours.

I finally decided to head straight to Harajuku Station and rushed to Tokyo Station, because I was planning to take JR Bus Kanto to the airport.

Let’s go……..

Get ready at Harajuku Station….To Tokyo Station.

Meeting Lonely on Takeshita Street

Takeshita Exit in Harajuku Station.

I shuffled away from Kanda River, cut a bend in Chuo-dori Avenue, and turned right across Maidreamin, speeding down the six-meter-wide street to quickly arrive at Akihabara Station’s Electronic Town South Exit.

See you soon Akiba….

For a moment I took a deep breath inside station building, letting my palms and face slightly warm. I let steady stream of passengers in front of me pull over against a wall.

I had been hiding in station for ten minutes and my body was starting to warm up. The time was already 18:30 hours. I rushed to platform and prepared to follow Yamanote Line train around Tokyo. This circle line would head south for eleven kilometers, entering Shinagawa District, but only crossing it, then bend to northwest for seven kilometers and stopped in Shibuya District.

There were Meiji Jingu Shrine and Yoyogi Park in the area. But no, it was late, I would visit one of its venues tomorrow. Now I was heading to Takeshita Street, which is a three hundred and fifty meter long alley that is a mirror for young Japanese with a variety of unique and interesting clothes. Along this road also tourists pampered with culinary spots and fashion outlets.

Thirty-five minutes since I left Akihabara Station, I was standing at Harajuku Station’s Takeshita Exit now. And right across the street is a gate with a nameboard titled Takeshita Street with a large LCD clock underneath.

“It’s getting quiet,” I thought. I had even been an hour late since Takeshita Street started closing down. But that was okay…. I’d better get into the rest of crowd and enjoyed what was left in that five meter wide alley.

Santa Monica Crepes outlet.
Who wants to eat those famous crepes?
Takeshita Street east gate.

I passed a large McDonald’s outlet where the diners had already started to leave their table and headed out. I continued to fight against the flow of visitors who had already left Takeshita Street. There was only a little crowd I found at Santa Monica Crepes outlet. Some tourists and local residents were still queuing to get the most famous culinary along Takeshita Street. Do you want to know the price of Crepes there? Seem from sample Crepes on display, the price ranges from 400-670 Yen per piece. Did I buy it????.

I continued down the alley, past the “Sanrio Vivitix Harajuku” knick-knacks outlets, “PINK-latte Harajuku” and “WEGO” fashion outlets, I even found a “Premium King” afternoon thrift shop on one side of the alley. I took steps to east gate of Takeshita Street which was directly adjacent to Meiji-dori Avenue.

Not long, I only visited Takeshita Street for half an hour because most of stall owners had already started to pack up their goods and were about to close their shop’s rolling door. then I stepped along the alley for west gate of Takeshita Street.

Heading to west gate of Takeshita Street.
One of simple platforms at Harajuku Station.
Obedient to queue, clean and dispose trash in its place.

This time I intend to return to Yadoya Guesthouse. It was been almost forty hours I haven’t properly slept. Tokyo’s air was already frozen and my body was also asking for rest. Better to just finished first day of exploration in Tokyo. I would immediately head to Nakano to take a warm bath and sleep.

Enjoying Akihabara from Kanda River

Electronic Town South Exit

Electronic Town South Exit

Dinner was finished. I hurriedly left Ameyoko Market and walked back to Ueno Station’s Hirokoji Exit. My steps were getting faster and easier because Tokunai Pass was still active in my hand. I seem to have a power to go in and out of each station since that afternoon.

It was a few minutes before 6pm, when Yamanote Line picked me up at a platform at Ueno Station. I boarded a very crowded carriage and mingled with city workers. The conditions in carriages were similar to Jakarta Commuter Line carriages in my hometown, crammed and tightly packed.

This time I would move south, two kilometers to visit the leading electronics center in Tokyo, namely Akihabara area, Japanese people usually call it Akiba.

Less than ten minutes, I arrived. Visiting Akiba meaned I was officially leaving Taitō Special City District and entering another district, namely Chiyoda. A district which is famous for existence of Imperial Palace is none other than the residence of Emperor of Japan.

I stepped out of Akihabara Station via Electronic Town South Exit. Coming out of the gate, I instantly stood on a street wich wasn’t wide, only about six meters and was immediately intimidated by tall building belonging to LABI Akihabara which was clearly displayed offering duty-free electronic goods.

It was next door to Akihabara Radio Kaikan, a ten-story commercial building to the right which left only a narrow alleyway. Meanwhile, warnings against smoking were issued at every pole in the form of a No Smoking Sign which was easily found everywhere. Then at the end of the road, a voice came out from Maidreamin Akihabara’s outside speaker.

Left: Akihabara Radio Kaikan Building.
The Sky Hop Bus costs 2,000 Yen.
Above that was Sobu Line train.
Maidreamin Akihabara, a famous maid cafe in Japan whose waiters wear maid costumes.

I continued eastward until I came to main street, Chuo-dori Avenue and I could tell that the temperature was getting colder when I arrived at a bank of Kanda River. I decided to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Akiba from the top of river, because I wasn’t really interested in entering various electronics shops in every inch of Akiba. How would I be interested if to buy a small electronic item like a stopcontact adapter, You have to spend up to 1,000 Yen.

On the streets of Akiba, local residents went back and forth so fast, they seemed to be chasing time to return to their respective homes after working all day or some night employees who still looked fresh and fit to meet their work time in their respective offices.

Not even an hour I was in Akiba, cold temperature made me give up and decided to withdraw sooner. I rushed to Electronic Town South Exit of Akihabara Station.

As the night progresses, my adventure would be more difficult because I had to fight the winter temperatures in Japan. But I will try my best to hold it in, because I didn’t want to just let go of my exploration time there.

I would now move back to Shibuya District.

Dinner at Ameya Yokocho, Taitō

Shibuya Station Platform.

I was standing again at train platform, in Shibuya Station, in Yamanote Line, on 3:48 p.m. The sun had retreated on city skyline and made the temperature degraded to a point of 3 Celsius Degree. Then the air which was nearing to freezing easily penetrated thick black gloves on my palms. But it would be a shameful precedent if I had to give up and chose to curling up in Yadoya Guesthouse bunk bed.

I had already prepared myself to explore Taitō Special City District. Twelve kilometers northeast of Shibuya Special District, thirty minutes away in distance.

Ameya Yokocho was the main reason for my stop over to Ueno Station. It was a one-stop shop, cheap and all discounted. It was said that if wanted to get a cheap dinner, so travelers flocked to that ex-black market which had existed since World War II.

I arrived at Ueno Station exactly on 5:35 pm. Taking Hirokoji Exit, the largest exit in south of station building. This exit has a large courtyard and directly faces Chuo-dori Avenue, opposite Ueno Marui Department Store (OIOI), a famous fashion center with nine-story in Taitō Special City District.

Darkness began to acquire the day when I started my steps towards Ameya Yokocho. More simply called Ameyoko or Ameyoko Market. I hadn’t yet imagined that this market was already starting to get crowded and smell of food was spreading. Made my stomach growl along the way.

I walked down the road under train overpass, heading south. The market distance is about two hundred meters, only five minutes from Hirokoji Exit.

I arrived at a t-junction which in a street stood Ameyoko Market gate. I faced two other streets in t-junction, both of which were part of market lane. But I thought wrong. It wasn’t sweet smell of food which I smelled, but rather fishy smell of sea fishes which firstly pierced deep into my nose. Of course I ignored it because my attention was drawn to the crowd over there.

Ameya Yokocho Gate.
Ameya Yokocho Gate.
Ameya Yokocho inside.

Not unexpectedly, there would be a number of typical Turkish restaurants and several kebab outlets there. I thought it won’t be difficult to find halal food for Muslim travelers here. Meanwhile, along the next street, several outlets selling marine fish were interspersed with fashion outlets, souvenirs, minimarkets, sport equipment and various other outlets.

I didn’t think that I would  prepare some budget to buy anything which was traded in this market, except for dinner. I kept combing every inch of Ameyoko Market until I was finally attracted to an image of a bowl of chicken ramen. Not about contents in the bowl, but the price listed below, it was just 399 Yen.

I didn’t understand about a menu name, but I had a strategy. I took my smartphone and took the picture. I rushed into the restaurant. I started to look around, the table design was elongated and circular in an oval in the middle with several tables on each side of wall which were already filled with local residents. They were so noisy in sipping noodles in their bowl. I went to the waitress and showed a picture on my smartphone. Then that waiter shouted into kitchen while mentioning the name of a menu which I showed then she pointed at an empty seat. I see, that was my dining table. I sat at a table against the wall and waited for the menu to be served.

One of restaurants in Ameya Yokocho.

Meanwhile, I started pouring a pitcher of water with ice cubes in it. I continued to pay attention to visitors behaviour in restaurant. Once they entered the room, they would remove their jackets on a hanger in the corner of room, then sat at dining table, ordered and quickly ate their food. Everything was in regularity.

Soon the waiter served a menu I ordered and I started to eating it. According to a reference I had read, Japanese people will slurp the noodles they order with a sound enough to be heard to showing that the noodles are delicious and as a respect gesture for the chef. So I had the same scene even though it was a bit of a hassle and made my noodle soup splattered onto the dining table. That wasn’t enough to embarrass me, because a water pitcher on my table was completely ran out, I didn’t know how many times I poured it in my small glass. A maidservant who had been watching me for a while covered her smile with her hand while intermittently whispering to other maidservants. She certainly knew that I was a traveler with have a different skin from japanese.

As a result, I paid for the food with a big smile on her, because she never closed his smile when she looked at me.

Hirokoji Exit in Ueno Station.
Ueno Station inside.
Ueno Station Platform.

I finished dinner on 5:45 p.m., and hurried out from Taitō Special City District.

Aura of Hachiko Statue, Five Times in Shibuya Crossing

Still remember?…..

When D.K’s black car was chasing Sean Boswell who was speeding in his red racing car and the racing group was led by Han Lue in front who was masculine swerving in his yellow racing car. In the chase, there was a moment when three race cars were forced to pass at an intersection which full of pedestrians. The scene was so thrilling but looked absolutely fantastic from top camera. Unmistakably, that was a piece of scene in the movie “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. And the intersection in question was known as the Shibuya Crossing.

Well, if this was a different story again…..

Have you ever watched a film based on a true story and tell of a dog named Hachi and his master Parker Wilson, played by veteran actor Richard Gere?.

Being tell In the film, Hachi was so loyal and always took Wilson to station every day to go to teach and waited for his return in front of the same station in afternoon. Such was Hachi’s daily activities. Until one day, Wilson died on campus because of a heart attack and would never see Hachi again. But because of Hachi’s loyalty, Hachi until the end of its life still waiting for its master who never again came in front of the station. This legendary dog ​​was a true story of the origin of Hachiko Statue which was located near Shibuya Station and just a hundred meters south of Shibuya Crossing.

That afternoon the air was getting colder, slowly dropping from 4 Celsius degree, the time was 13:45 hours when I was already at the north entrance gate of Nakano Station. Not long, the Chuo-Sobu Line train arrived. In the late afternoon, passengers were still quiet, maybe it wasn’t time to go home from work. I took a seat on the left side of carriage and felt the warmth of air in the carriage. I only realized when I felt hot air gush from under the seat and hit my feet as I sat down. Apparently trains in Japan put a heating engine under the seat.

The inner side of Shibuya Station.
Shibuya Station Gate directly located opposite Hachiko Square.

Just five minutes towards southeast, I got off the Chuo-Sobu Line to change to Yamanote Line. Now the train was moving south for four kilometers and took ten minutes and was in increasingly congested passenger conditions. Yamanote Line is the busiest train line in downtown Tokyo.

I arrived at Shibuya Station on 14:00 hours and took directions to Hachiko Exit Gate at north of station building. When I stepped out of station gate, I was immediately greeted by appearance of Hachiko Square which was already full of visitors. Some sat on each side of the plaza and most surrounded the statue of loyal beast queuing for photos. There was nothing special about the statue, maybe it was Hachiko’s life story which made the statue feel alive and became a attention center.

I enjoyed soon the crowd at Hachiko Square. Because I couldn’t wait to feel the sensation of crossing at Shibuya Crossing. I stepped a hundred meters north and started to stand at that famous five junction. I could only smile to myself when I saw the behavior of some tourists when crossing. Some took pictures in the middle of intersection, some ran and climbed a signpole to take photos from a height, and some posted vlogs as long as the green light was still on. And when a sign sound “tut-tut-tut” loudly shouting after another as a sign that traffic light would turn red, then all tourists and local pedestrians rushed to walk to road edge and briefly left a silence moment, then followed by the sound of horns and the roar of car engines which scrambling across the intersection headed in all directions.

Chūken Hachikō, if it were still alive, t would be 97 years old.
Yuhuu….Shibuya Crossing.
Tsutaya is a well-known bookstore in Japan. I’m @ Shibuya Crossing.
An intersection which is said to be able to cross 50,000 pedestrians for 30 minutes.

I was who still couldn’t believe that I could be there, was infected by their acute strangeness. Since it was an intersection of five streets, it was even five times, I crossed back and forth from side to side at Shibuya Crossing. Oh my God, Was this an afternoon when made me going crazy from exposure to Tokyo life’s aroma?.

Stasiun Tokyo: Mencari Jejak Menuju JR Expressway Bus Stop

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Bersiap meninggalkan Stasiun Harajuku.

Lewat sedikit dari jam dua siang. Mulai kutinggalkan Meiji Jingū melalui Stasiun Harajuku. Aku kembali menelusuri Yamanote Line, memutar ke selatan melewati Distrik Shinagawa, lalu kembali ke utara. Menempuh jarak sejauh lima belas kilometer dan berbiaya 200 Yen (Rp. 27.000).

Aku tiba di Stasiun Tokyo lewat sedikit dari jam setengah tiga sore dan diturunkan di platform bernomor empat di dekat Marunouchi North Exit. Maranuochi sendiri adalah kawasan bisnis yang berlokasi di sebelah barat Stasiun Tokyo.

Aku terus menelusuri lorong bawah tanah dan terus mencari petunjuk untuk mengeluarkan diri di exit gate yang berlokasi paling dekat dengan JR Expressway Bus Stop. Aku memang sedari pagi telah memutuskan akan menggunakan operator bus tersebut untuk berpindah dari tengah kota ke Narita International Airport.

Begitu menuruni tangga maka aku dihadapkan pada sebuah koridor panjang. Tepat pada dinding di depan anak tangga terakhir tersebut terdapat papan petunjuk lebar berwana kuning. Papan itu mengarahkanku untuk keluar di Yaesu South Exit. Itulah gerbang keluar terdekat dari JR Expressway Bus Stop. Apakah kamu tahu tentang Yaesu?….Berlawanan arah dengan Maranuochi maka Yaeshu adalah kawasan yang terletak di sebelah timur Stasiun Tokyo.

Petunjuk lokasi di koridor Stasiun Tokyo.
Yang tak mau bawa backpack, silahkan sewa loker.
Ini dia loker sewa di Stasiun Tokyo.
Dimana posisimu saat ini?
Automatic ticketing vending machine.

Sisi komersil stasiun ini begitu dominan. Sepanjang lorong bawah tanah, dimanfaatkan pengelola stasiun untuk menjual fasilitas loker kepada para penumpang. Fasilitas penyimpanan ini terkenal dengan nama Coin Lockers. Loker jenis ini mempunyai harga sewa yang bervariasi, dari 600 Yen hingga 1.000 Yen (Rp. 80.000 – Rp. 135.000) per hari.

Sepanjang koridor Stasiun Tokyo itu begitu ramai. Aku terus merangsek dan mulai mengalami disorientasi arah. Secara tak sadar, aku telah tiba di gerbang Shinkansen Transfer North Gate. Hingga akhirnya seorang petugas stasiun membantu mengarahkanku untuk menuju gerbang keluar terdekat. Atas jasanya itu akhirnya aku berhasil keluar di Yaesu Central Exit.

Yups….Tiba di Yaesu Central Exit.

Jeda waktu menuju jadwal penerbangan masih lama. Aku juga tak mau terlalu lama berada di bandara. Maka kuputuskan untuk mengambil tempat duduk di halaman Stasiun Tokyo. Aku terus mengamati aktivitas warga Tokyo yang tampak sangat sibuk. Sembari menikmati kesibukan itu, aku secara konsisten membuka kulit kuaci dan mengunyahnya biji demi biji. Dan karena tak bisa kutemukan tempat sampah, maka kubuanglah kulit kuaci itu di atas akar tanaman hias. Tak kusangka seorang petugas memperhatikan kelakuan burukku itu. Aku berespon cepat, sebelum dia mendatangiku, aku menunjukkan kemasan kuaci yang masih berisi separuh itu kepadanya. Ajaibnya, dia hanya tersenyum dan mengangguk. Padahal jika dia menegurku, maka aku sudah bersiap diri mengambil lagi sampah kuaci itu.

Masalah kulit kuaci sudah usai….

Aku beranjak dari tempat duduk dan menuju JR Expressway Bus Stop. Sesampai di lokasi, aku langsung masuk ke antrian panjang di platform bus nomor tujuh. Tepat pukul empat sore, aku menaiki JR Bus Kanto yang khas berwarna putih dengan kelir biru itu.

Aku menyerahkan 1.000 Yen (Rp. 135.000) kepada pak sopir yang bepenampilan sangat rapi dan berdasi. Setelah dia memberikan selembar tanda bayar maka aku mengambil tempat duduk paling belakang.

Berada di JR Expressway Bus Stop.
Ayo naik!

Aku bersiap menuju Narita International Airport Terminal 1.   

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menulis Do’a dan Harapan di Meiji Jingū

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Besiap untuk petualangan hari kedua di Tokyo. @ platform Stasiun Nakano.

Tragedi kehilangan dompet di Stasiun Nakano membuatku menelan ludah ketakutan, ternyata masih tersisa sisi penakut dibalik keberanianku menjelajah dunia.  Aku sejenak menenangkan diri dengan menyeruput air minum dari free water station di salah satu platform Stasiun Nakano.

Komuter silver berkelir kuning penguasa Chūō Line itupun tiba, kuayunkan langkah memasuki gerbong tengah dan duduk di bangku panjang sisi kiri. Aku sengaja memilih duduk tepat di atas console grill pemanas. Itulah kebiasaanku selama menaiki kereta Negeri Matahari Terbit yang sedang tergelincir ke dalam musim dingin.

Aku terus mengikuti arus Chūō Line menuju timur lalu menukik ke selatan setelah berganti dengan kereta Yamanote Line di Stasiun Shinjuku. Dalam waktu dua puluh menit, aku tiba di Stasiun Harajuku setelah menempuh jarak sejauh tujuh kilometer. Untuk tarif sepanjang itu, aku hanya perlu membayar 170 Yen (Rp. 23.000).

Melintasi koridor panjang Stasiun Harajuku, aku keluar dari West Exit yang langsung berhadapan dengan Meiji Jingū First Torii Gate di sisi kanannya. Tetapi astaga……

Kini aku kehilangan gloves sebelah kanan, bagaimana aku mampu menahan beku jika perlengkapan itu raib?. Dengan terpaksa, aku kembali menelusuri jalurku ketika keluar dari platform stasiun dan akhirnya aku menemukan sebelah gloves itu di tengah koridor setelah automatic fare collection gates. Entah kenapa?, sedari pagi, aku terundung kehilangan barang walaupun kembali tertemukan. Mungkinkah ini permulaan dari segala hal mengejutkan di depan petualanganku?.

Baiklah…Fokus kembali ke langkahku…..

Kini aku sudah berpose di depan gerbang Kuil Meiji. Torii itu begitu khas, pengilham sebuah logo perusahaan otomotif kenamaan Negeri Para Samurai. Kutapaki gravel mulus sebagai jalur masuk menuju kuil. Jalur itu memiliki lebar sedasa meter di sisi kiri, dipadu jalur paving block selebar satu meter berpembatas tambang untuk jalur keluar di sebelah kanan. Sementara di beberapa bagian, jalur itu di batasi oleh pagar-pagar bambu yang tersusun rapi setinggi pinggang orang dewasa.

Di depan gerbang Stasiun Meiji-jingumae “Harajuku” (Chiyoda Line) sebagai bagian dari Tokyo Metro Subway Network. Tetapi aku tak menaiki Tokyo Metro itu….Alias nampang doang….Hohoho.
Di depan Meiji Jingū Torii.
Drum-drum Sake (kazaridaru).
Drum-drum anggur berbahan kayu.

Sementara seorang petugas tua, menyingkirkan dedauanan dari gravel menggunakan backpack leaf blower. Dedauan itu hanya perlu dipinggirkan ke sisi jalan dan dibiarkan menjadi kompos alami, begitu ramah lingkungan.

Dalam empat ratus meter, di sisi kanan, aku terpesona dengan susunan rapi kazaridaru yang didedikasikan untuk Meiji-tennō dan Shōken-kōgō. Sedangkan tepat di sisi kiri adalah susunan drum anggur terbuat dari kayu.

Sampai pada Torii utama kuil, setiap pengunjung wajib membersihkan tangan di Temizuya dengan air menggunakan gayung-gayung bertangkai panjang. Ritual membasuh diri atau misogi ini bertujuan untuk memurnikan tubuh dan pikiran sebelum berdiri di depan dewa untuk berdoa.

Temizuya (paviliun bersuci shinto untuk pemurnian) di Meiji Jingū.
Di tengah kuil.

Sejenak aku terhenti setelah melewati gerbang utama, aku terkagum-kagum karena luas dan besarnya Meiji Jingū . Inilah kuil yang dipersembahkan untuk menghormati roh Meiji-tennō , penguasa Jepang masa lalu.

Sementara itu di beberapa bagian kuil sedang dilakukan renovasi. Para pekerja berseragam carpenter warna putih, lengkap dengan berbagai peralatan pertukangan di pinggang serta mengenakan safety helmet tampak berdiri diatas step ladder, sibuk melakukan perbaikan.

Sementara di ujung kuil, tampak para turis mengantri pada sebuah toko yang menjual papan ema dan omamori. Toko itu tampak dijaga oleh wanita-wanita cantik berbaju kimono putih berpadu merah, mereka tampak sopan dan anggun melayani para pengunjung.

Sementara aku meyibukkan diri untuk menuliskan sebuah do’a pada selembar kertas, lalu kumasukkan ke dalam sebuah kotak. Sedangkan beberapa wisatawan menulis do’a dan harapan pada papan ema yang dibelinya, kemudian menggantungkannya pada spot yang telah disediakan.

Para carpenter sedang bertugas.
Toko penjual omamori yaitu jimat yang diyakini masyarakat Jepang dapat membawa keberuntungan dan keselamatan.
Aku berdo’a apa ya kira-kira?
Papan ema, plakat kayu kecil yang dihiasi dengan seni tulisan tangan yang mengungkapkan harapan

Tak terasa satu setengah jam berjalan hingga akhirnya aku selesai menelusuri seluruh bagian kuil. Inilah destinasi terakhirku di Tokyo, karena aku akan segera menuju Narita International Airport untuk mengejar penerbangan Peach Aviation bernomor MM6320 yang akan berangkat pada pukul 21:35.

Akhirnya kuputuskan untuk segera menuju ke Stasiun Harajuku dan bergegas menuju Stasiun Tokyo, karena aku berencana menggunakan JR Bus Kanto menuju bandara.


Bersiap diri di Stasiun Harajuku….Menuju Stasiun Tokyo.

Kisah Berikutnya—->

Menemui Sepi di Takeshita Street

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Takeshita Exit Stasiun Harajuku.

Aku beringsut-ingsut meninggalkan Kanda River, memotong sebuah tikungan Chuo-dori Avenue, dan berbelok ke kanan melintasi Maidreamin, melintas cepat di jalanan selebar enam meter untuk segera tiba di Electronic Town South Exit milik Stasiun Akihabara.

Sampai jumpa lagi Akiba….

Sejenak aku menarik nafas panjang di dalam bangunan stasiun, membiarkan telapak tangan dan mukaku sedikit menghangat. Aku membiarkan arus penumpang yang terus mengalir di depanku, menepi pada sebuah dinding.

Sepuluh menit sudah aku bersembunyi di dalam stasiun dan tubuhku mulai menghangat. Waktu sudah menunjukkan pukul 18:30. Aku bergegas menuju platform dan bersiap mengikuti kereta Yamanote Line melingkari Tokyo. Circle line ini akan menuju selatan sejauh sebelas kilometer, memasuki Distrik Shinagawa, tapi hanya melintasnya, untuk kemudian menekuk ke barat laut sejauh tujuh kilometer dan hinggap di Distrik Shibuya.

Ada Kuil Meiji Jingu dan Yoyogi Park di daerah itu. Tetapi tidak, ini sudah malam, aku akan mengunjungi salah satu venuenya esok hari. Kini aku menuju Takeshita Street, yaitu gang sepanjang tiga ratus lima puluh meter yang menjadi cermin muda-mudi Jepang dengan berbagai pakaian unik dan menarik. Sepanjang jalanan ini juga memanjakan wisatawan dengan spot-spot kuliner dan gerai-gerai fashion.

Tiga puluh lima menit semenjak aku meninggalkan Stasiun Akihabara, kini aku berdiri di Takeshita Exit milik Stasiun Harajuku. Dan tepat di seberang jalan adalah gerbang dengan nameboard bertajuk Takeshita Street dengan Jam LCD besar dibawahnya.

Sudah mulai sepi”, aku membatin. Aku bahkan telah telah terlambat satu jam semenjak Takeshita Street mulai menutup diri. Tapi tak mengapa….Lebih baik aku segera memasuki sisa keramaian dan menikmati apa yang tersisa di dalam gang selebar lima meter itu.

Gerai Santa Monica Crepes.
Hayuu….Siapa mau makan crepes yang terkenal ituh?
Gerbang timur Takeshita Street.

Aku melintas gerai besar Mc Donald’s yang pengunjung di dalamnya sudah mulai meninggalkan meja dan beranjak keluar. Aku terus melawan arus para pengunjung yang sudah beranjak meninggalkan Takeshita Street. Hanya ada sedikit keramaian yang kutemukan di gerai Santa Monica Crepes. Beberapa turis dan warga lokal tampak masih mengantri untuk mendapatkan kuliner paling terkenal di sepanjang Takeshita Street itu. Pengen tahu harga Crepes di sana? Terlihat dari sample Crepes yang dipajang, harganya berkisar antara 400-670 Yen per potong (itu sekitar  Rp. 55.000- 91.000). Apakah aku membelinya????.

Aku terus menyusuri gang itu, melewati gerai penjual pernak-pernik “Sanrio Vivitix Harajuku”, gerai fashion “PINK-latte Harajuku” dan “WEGO”, bahkan aku menemukan thrift sore “Premium King” di salah satu sisi gang. Aku menghabiskan langkah hingga ke gerbang timur Takeshita Street yang berbatasan langsung dengan Meiji-dori Avenue.

Tak lama, hanya setengah jam saja aku mengunjungi Takeshita Street karena sebagian besar pemilik gerai sudah mulai membereskan barang dagangan dan akan segera menarik rolling doornya. Aku kembali menyisir kembali sepanjang gang itu untuk menuju gerbang barat Takeshita Street.

Menuju gerbang barat Takeshita Street.
Salah satu platform sederhana di Stasiun Harajuku.
Taat mengantri, bersih dan membuang sampah pada tempatnya.

Kali ini aku berniat untuk pulang ke Yadoya Guesthouse. Sudah hampir empat puluh jam aku tak tidur dengan sempurna. Hawa Tokyo sudah beku dan badanku juga minta istirahat. Lebih baik kusudahkan saja eksplorasi hari pertama di Tokyo. Aku akan segera menuju Nakano untuk mandi air hangat dan tidur.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menikmati Akihabara dari Kanda River

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Electronic Town South Exit

Makan malah sudah selesai. Aku bergegas meninggalkan Ameyoko Market dan kembali berjalan kaki menuju Hirokoji Exit milikStasiun Ueno. Langkahku semakin cepat dan mudah karena Tokunai Pass masih aktif dalam genggaman. Aku bak punya kuasa untuk keluar masuk setiap stasiun sedari siang tadi.

Beberapa menit lagi menginjak pukul 18:00, ketika kereta Yamanote Line menjemputku di sebuah platform Stasiun Ueno. Aku menaiki kereta yang sangat padat dan berbaur dengan para pekerja kota. Keadaan dalam gerbong telah mirip dengan gerbong KRL Commuter Line Jabodetabek, berimpit dan berdesakan rapat.

Kali ini aku akan bergerak menuju selatan, sejauh dua kilometer untuk mengunjungi pusat elektronik terkemuka di kota Tokyo, yaitu kawasan Akihabara, orang Jepang lazim menyebutnya dengan panggilan Akiba.

Tak sampai sedasa menit, akupun tiba. Dengan mengunjungi Akiba berarti aku resmi meninggalkan Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō dan memasuki distrik yang lain, yaitu Chiyoda. Sebuah distrik yang tenar dengan keberadaan Imperial Palace yang tak lain adalahkediaman Kaisar Jepang.

Aku melangkah keluar meninggalkan Stasiun Akihabara melalui Electronic Town South Exit. Keluar dari gate itu, aku sekejap berdiri di sebuah jalanan yang tak begitu lebar, hanya berkisar enam meter dan langsung terintimidasi dengan bangunan tinggi milik LABI Akihabara yang terpampang jelas menawarkan barang-barang elektronik berstatus duty-free.

Gedung itu bersebelahan dengan Akihabara Radio Kaikan, bangunan komersial sepuluh lantai di sebelah kanannya yang hanya menyisakan selarik gang sempit. Sementara peringatan larangan merokok di serukan di setiap tiang dalam wujud No Smoking Sign yang mudah ditemukan dimana-mana. Kemudian di ujung jalan sana, terdengar suara yang keluar dari speaker luar milik Maidreamin Akihabara.

Kiri: Akihabara Radio Kaikan Building.
Sky Hop Bus itu bertarif 2.000 Yen (Rp. 280.000).
Diatas itu adalah kereta Sobu Line.
Maidreamin Akihabara, sebuah maid cafe terkenal di Jepang yang pelayannya menggunakan kostum maid.

Aku terus menyusuri arah timur hingga menemukan jalanan utama, Chuo-dori Avenue dan sangat terasa bahwa suhu semakin dingin ketika aku tiba di tepi Kanda River. Kuputuskan untuk menikmati keramaian Akiba dari atas sungai itu, karena sejak tadi aku tak begitu tertarik memasuki beragam toko elektronik di setiap jengkal Akiba. Bagaimana aku tertarik jika untuk membeli benda elektronik mungil macam adapter stopcontact saja, harus merogoh kecek hingga 1.000 Yen (Rp. 135.000).

Di jalanan Akiba, hilir mudik warga lokal begitu cepat, mereka seolah mengejar waktu untuk segera pulang ke rumah masing-masing selepas bekerja seharian atau beberapa karyawan malam yang masih terlihat segar bugar menyongsong waktu kerja di kantor mereka masing-masing.

Tak genap satu jam aku berada di Akiba, suhu dingin membuatku menyerah dan memutuskan untuk undur diri lebih cepat. Aku bergegas menuju Electronic Town South Exit milik Stasiun Akihabara.

Semakin malam, petualanganku akan semakin berat karena harus melawan suhu musim dingin di Jepang. Tapi aku akan berusaha sekuat mungkin menahannya, karena aku tak mau dengan mudahnya melepas begitu saja waktu-waktu eksplorasiku disana.

Kini aku akan kembali bergerak menuju ke Distrik Shibuya.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->