Why Every Creative Person Should Visit Tokyo
By: Dominica Morris
I remember the days when I was a young child, awkward, nerdy, and much of a late bloomer, dreaming of the day that I would pack up and move to Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo to me seemed like a place that was full of life, vibrance, creativity and excitement. Something my tween self had never experienced before. I would sit at home read my mangas and draw comic books for hours on end believing that this would one day become a reality. Fast forward 18 years later, I didn’t become a comic book artists, but I finally got the chance to visit Tokyo. I actually nonchalantly agreed to go after my husband and I couldn’t agree whether we should go to Thailand (my choice) or Japan (his choice) for our honeymoon. We compromised to split our three week trip between the two and I’m so glad that we did! I will say that Japan was everything my 11 year old self dreamed it would be.
Tokyo, specifically Shibuya and Shinjuku, is a creative’s paradise. From the food to the fashion, and the people it’s the perfect combination of culture, tradition, and modern day living. My husband Caleb and I both work in the creative fields, and we were so deeply inspired by this trip. We love exploring new cities by walking, so every morning we would jump up early to take in all of the sights, tastes, and sounds of this colorful place. Here are some of the things that inspired us the most.
1.) The Food
What is traveling without enjoying all the different types of food, and Japan definitely is one of the best places to try various types of dishes. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also fresh. While fresh meals are a staple in most countries around the world, the Japanese take pride in serving fresh food. This can be seen in how they display their produce in the stores, to how they prepare their meals at restaurants. A great example is when we went to a conveyor belt sushi bar, a customer asked if all of the fish was fresh and to our surprise the chef pulled out a live fish out of a tank to show us that all of the fish was killed and prepared right before they used it to make the rolls. Speaking to locals we also heard that Japanese fish markets are the best place to get fresh sushi. People line up early in the morning to be amongst the first to get some. I wish we would’ve made it to one, but waking up at 4 in the morning just isn’t how I roll (no pun intended).
Besides having incredibly fresh food, what inspired us the most was the overall presentation of their meals not only from a packaging and design stand point, but also how they served them at restaurants. Everything was done with much care and creativity.
2.) The Fashion
While the rest of the planet believes that New York City is the fashion hub of the world, my opinion is that Japanese fashion definitely has NYC beat. We spent a whole day in Tokyo’s hottest fashion district, the Harajuku neighborhood, and never even got to see all of it. Rows of stores line the streets with all of the latest trends. From shoes, to bags, make-up, and apparel you can get lost sifting through luxury goods at a thrift shop one minute and then looking at hiking gear at an outdoor retailer the next. When we got tired of shopping we had a blast people watching. Everybody seemed to have their own sense of style, it almost seemed like they were trying to out dress each other. Being creative, colorful, and having fun with their fashion was key.
3.) The Culture & History
There were many key cultural practices that we’ve noticed, that truly impressed us on our visit. One big one was how clean everything was. I’ve visited many major cities around the world, but Tokyo was one of the cleanest places I’ve been to. Although, there are millions of people that live and commute there every day everything, including public restrooms, is kept in pristine condition. We even saw construction workers cleaning off their trucks after a long day at work. Keeping everything spotless isn’t for selfish reasons, but it’s to be conscientious of their fellow man. This made navigating around the city, a very pleasant experience.
In addition to being conscientious, Japanese people are extremely kind. Not once did we come across any rude people. Although the city is hectic and everybody seems to be in a rush, whenever we got stuck or seemed lost, people would actually stop and try to help us. This came as a surprise to me since in most cities that I’ve visited a lot of people just seemed to be oblivious to others, and I know that I can get liked this sometimes. Seeing how aware everybody was of their fellow man, made me want to emulate this behavior. It was definitely an inspiring moment for me and I want to be a lot more like this.
On our third day in Tokyo we decided to visit the Final Fantasy Cafe. I’m a huge fan of the games and was so looking forward to go. On our way there we came across the Hanazono-Jinja Shrine, a Shinto Shrine in Shinjuku Japan. It was built in the 17th century, and is dedicated to Inari, the god of fertility and success. The traditional architecture of the building caught our attention and we spent quite some time there feeling extremely inspired by the beauty of the shrine. Before we left, we wrote a prayer on an Ema, or wooden plaque, for a happy marriage and then continued our journey to the cafe.
4.) More Images of tokyo that inspired us
We spent 5 wonderful days in Tokyo and I still can’t believe that we didn’t get to see everything. After we left we felt so much more inspired and excited to create more art, I ended up drawing on the whole entire plane ride home, and I knew that I have to go back some day soon. I will admit that my 11 year old self was actually right about how amazing Tokyo actually is, and I do feel like I could move there one day (if I can convince Caleb). I definitely recommend visiting if you work in the creative field, or you’re looking for a trip to be an inspired. Scroll down for more inspiring pics from our trip.