An afternoon in Shinjuku

(See page 2 for the German version)

When arriving at Tokyo`s Shinjuku station for the first time, you will most likely feel overwhelmed because of the crowds of people there that seem to be rushing haphazardly in every possible direction through the station. This is not surprising, since Shinjuku, having almost 3.5 million people that get off or change trains here daily, is one of the busiest railway stations in the world. After one year of confusion, by now I finally know how to get from the east to the south exit or how to change trains from the Oedo to the Odakyu line, but nevertheless I still do not seem to get used to the constant bustle in and around Shinjuku station.

Even though there is really no way to spend a relaxing time in Shinjuku, if you go out of the south exit of the station and walk for a while there is kind of a peaceful place to look out for, as you will soon come to the front entrance of the Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens. For an entrance fee of 200 yen you can visit the park with its 20.000 trees and wide green spaces, perfect for a picnic, every day until 4:30PM. According to the official website it is a „perfect place to get close to nature and enjoy the changing seasons, the perfect oasis for metropolitan and short-term visitors alike.“ Although it might not be THE perfect oasis due to the high number of visitors, it still is a great place for admiring the pink clouds of cherry blossom trees in spring or for taking a walk through the rustling of the leaves in autumn. Or, you could just sit on the grass, enjoy the warm autumn sun and watch the many families and couples which, everyone in their own way, try to recover from the daily hustle and bustle that is Tokyo.

After our autumnal park visit this time, we decided to eat something at the Cafe Creperie Breizh nearby. The Cafe, located on the 12th floor of the luxury department store Takashimaya, promises to serve original French crepes in Bretagne-style – whatever that actually means. There are several variations of sweet crepes as well as savory buckwheat galettes with cheese, fried egg, bacon, etc. Even though I can`t tell if it really tastes originally French, and the café is a bit on the pricey side with an average of about 2000 yen per person for a crepe and tea, I really did enjoy my delicious crepe with caramelized banana and vanilla ice to the fullest. Since we got a seat on the roof terrace of the building, it soon got chilly with the sun fading away, however, we were also rewarded with a beautiful sunset over Shinjuku. Indeed the perfect ending to a nice afternoon in Shinjuku.

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