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Feature StoryTokyo

The astonishing architecture of Japan

As soon as we arrived in Tokyo on that first bus ride, I was immediately taken aback by the magnificent cityscape and vertical high rises surrounding us on all sides. I’ve never been to New York, but I can imagine it feels similar to what I was experiencing in Japan.

A bird’s eye view of the city from Tokyo Tower.

Everywhere I walked through the city, I noticed that the buildings were designed a certain way. Living in Texas my entire life, I’ve gotten used to the wide open spaces and plains. Tokyo couldn’t have been more different. All of the stores and restaurants had multiple floors to them. This makes sense, and Japan is great at utilizing the space they have.

A ground level view of the Tokyo Tower.

During our visit to the Ariake campus of Musashino University, we were graced with more striking building designs, some of which were being prepared for the upcoming 2020 Olympic games to be held in Tokyo. It was incredible to notice how clean and well kept the streets were.

This building is to be utilized as the media center for the games.

For lunch one day, we walked into a McDonald’s and found out first hand how different the layout was. We ordered our food on the first floor, and walked up two flights of stairs to eat in a booth on the third floor. This was crazy to me, but I loved every second of it. It’s no wonder why the locals looked so healthy, climbing all the stairs can be a workout!

This massive flight of stairs beats the Alkek climb by a long shot!

Traveling around in Tokyo is very different as well. Getting used to the underground subway system did take some time. Luckily, there are lots of escalators, some even flattening out for a brief moment before continuing up or down. It really amazed me at how efficient the city felt, especially for how crowded it can be at times.

Navigating the city was ever exciting, with skyscrapers and huge uphill climbs around every corner. I feel like I lost a few pounds just by walking everywhere during our trip. It was definitely quite the scene change for a Texan, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

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