Image courtesy Austin James Rea Photography
“I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot.”
– Walden, Thoreau
Blaine and I are big fans of exploring cities on foot. What better way to absorb the small details and surprises a city holds? In Tokyo, meandering from ward to ward is particularly satisfying because it’s the only way to find small hidden temples, empty serene parks, and minuscule alleys hiding the best restaurants yelpers never knew existed.
In his recent trip to Tokyo, Jacob Laukaitis walked 100 km (62 miles) around Tokyo in 3 days (see his video below). Talk about sore feet! He travels 9 months of the year and visited 35 countries in the past 2 years. He’s already planning his next trip, a 1000 km walk across Spain.
Why did you decide to walk Tokyo?
Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world and I think the best way to really explore a city is to walk and walk and walk. So I decided it was a good idea to spend 3 full days constantly getting lost in Tokyo and discovering new parts of the city.
When did you walk Tokyo?
I did it in October, which was chilly at times, but definitely good enough. I don’t think I could have done it during Winter time, because Tokyo gets really cold then.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius.
What’s Vilnius like?
Vilnius is a beautiful city with one of the best old towns in Europe. I was born and raised there so I guess I can’t really appreciate all its wonders as a foreigner would, but I love coming back.
What was most memorable about your Tokyo walkabout?
It’s impossible to say. I loved Tokyo’s parks, the hospitality of its people, the dozens of small restaurants I would have my breakfast, lunch and dinner, the surprising quietness of the city and pretty much everything else I’ve seen.
“…the best way to really explore a city is to walk and walk and walk.”
What did you eat to fuel yourself?
Whatever I could find, really. Most of the time I wouldn’t want to waste a lot of time, so I would simply buy some fruit and sushi at a nearby grocery store, eat it sitting on a random bench and keep on going. Other times I’d find a nice restaurant and eat there.
Where and how much did you sleep?
During all of those days I had a hostel room, so I would walk from and back to it every single day. However, I never took the same route either from the place or to the place.
What was your favorite neighborhood? Why?
I definitely couldn’t say. They’re very different!
“…the surprising quietness of the city.”
Have you walked any other cities?
Yeah. I walk all the time, but I never filmed any of those walks. I’m planning on walking 1,000 kilometers in 30 days all across Spain, though. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do a great video about that experience!
Anywhere you’d recommend avoiding in the city?
In Tokyo? Absolutely not! There wasn’t a single time where I felt at least a little bit threatened or unsafe. That’s one of the main reasons why Tokyo is such a wonderful place.
What was your most interesting encounter in Tokyo?
There were hundreds of wonderful encounters, when people would give up everything they were doing to show me the way or the place I was searching for. Most of them didn’t speak English but they went miles with me to physically show me what I was searching for. It can’t get any more hospitable.
Jacob has been able to travel extensively these past 2 years because he co-founded the site, ChameleonJohn, and can work from anywhere.