Before I ever visited Tokyo, one of my biggest worries was claustrophobia. I was not worried about not being unable to understand the language; nor about getting lost on the subway; not even scared of possible earthquakes; but claustrophobia… that was something real.
My pre-conceived ideas of Tokyo were those of a crowded city; of masses of people being herded onto trains by uniformed oshiya; and of towering skyscrapers and banks of neon signs blocking out the horizon and the sky above.
The idea of staying in a hotel in the centre of this big city seemed rather oppressive; accentuated the concept of being a very tiny anonymous speck in a much greater collective whole.
But then I had an idea. Rather than be a mouse cowering in the shadows, I would rise up above everything; rather than feel like I was being hemmed in, I would reach for the stars. The physical reality of all this positive posturing was that I booked myself a room on the 19th floor of the Bayside Hotel Azur Takeshiba with a harbour view.
The Bayside Hotel is in the Hamamatsuchō district of Tokyo. It is on an easy monorail link to Haneda Airport and is handy for the JR Yamanote loop railway line and ferries from Hinode Pier. Both the Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens and the Hamarikyu Gardens are very close, and the Tokyo Tower is only two miles walking distance.
And the view from my window didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was spectacular. From the entrance to the Sumida River to my left; directly across to the tower blocks on Toyomicho; and away across the waters of Tokyo Harbour to the Rainbow Bridge to my right.
My fears of feeling claustrophobic in this enormous city were proved groundless and, if I ever needed a timeout away from the hubbub and busyness at street level, I always had the sanctuary of my peaceful, solitary view, high up in the harbour skies, to return to.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny kicks back and enjoys her view of Tokyo.