Welcome to Tokyo 2015
For a little while at least, this will be my final Japan vacation, so I thought it important to share ‘the final trip’ with you all. You can catch the photos of all my adventures here.
We toured Asakusa today, stopping at the Tokyo Skytree for photos and a spot of shopping (we didn’t go up the Skytree because it was too foggy). We attempted to get through the crazy crowds at Senso-ji temple, and after all the hustle and bustle, had a quiet lunch in a nearby cat cafe. Afterwards, we went to Akihabara to look around and get to know Tokyo’s tech mecca. I had the opportunity to meet Godzilla, my absolute favourite character! We spent the evening in Kinshicho and shopped at Daiso for snacks.
On day 2, we got up early to head to Yoyogi Park and see Meiji Shrine. You always want to head to Yoyogi early – it gets very busy once it hits 10am! After a few hours, and after the swarms of local Tokyoites had started to fill up the park, we took the train to the next station, Shibuya. I met Hachiko, the famous dog (well, his statue anyway). We wandered around and got a bit lost looking for two things; the Disney store and the Pokemon Cafe. In the afternoon, we had some quiet time at Konno Hachimangu shrine.
Even though Yoyogi Park is right next to Takeshita and Omotesando shopping streets, we skipped them yesterday to explore Shibuya. So today we were in the same area again, this time to check out the funky stores and fashions of Harajuku. We stopped in at one of my favourite toy stores too; Kiddyland! After lunch (at Beck’s Coffee Shop!), we went to Shinjuku and headed to Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens. Unfortunately, because we were there during the cold season, most of the plants were brown and devoid of greenery, except for in the green house. While trying to capture an Instagram perfect image, I had a moment of enthusiastic jumping and my scarf hit me in the face. Classic me! Sick of bracing the cold, we headed to Ikebukuro in the afternoon, and went to Sunshine City to visit the Pokemon Centre.
We trekked out relatively early this morning and headed to the man-made island of Odaiba. I had never been to Odaiba before, and my expectations had been quite high due to a friend’s recommendation, so the day wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Still, Odaiba was a blast. There was so much to see that we actually missed a fair bit. We looked at the wax museum but not the trick museum. We went looking around the shops in the Decks building, but not Aqua City (which apparently had an aquarium!). There’s a small Statue of Liberty and a life size Gundam mobile suit that you can take pictures with. In the afternoon we went to Palette Town to explore and took a ride on the ferris wheel. That evening we enjoyed an indoor theme park in Joypolis.
If you’ve ever been to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, then you know today was very special indeed. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum, so there’s only the outside shown here. I can’t even sum it up in one word. Whimsical, magical, romantic. It was gorgeous and quaint and crowded. We got there early to avoid crowds, but apparently not early enough. By the time we got to the gift shop, it was thronging with people. Bodies were pressed tight everywhere. Our intention for the afternoon was to visit the East gardens of the Imperial Palace, but today was the coldest day we had encountered to date. Aside from that, it was pouring down rain. So instead, we hoped on the next available train and headed back to Kinshicho for more snack shopping at Daiso. We never got the chance to see the Imperial Palace in the end.
Today was the day. THE DAY. I finally saw Mt Fuji, something I had dreamed of doing since first stepping foot in Japan all those many years ago. We got up early and headed to Hakone, using the 5 modes of transport loop to get around. We stopped at Owakudani station for lunch. It was such a clear, sunny day – the only proper one we had while in Tokyo. This meant we got amazing views of Fuji-san. Every souvenir shop had Mt Fuji themed gifts, and most signs had some awful form of “Engrish”. Today was such a blast, and to top it off, we had green tea ice cream on the train home.
I took the most amount of photos this day – nearly 500! I simply love Nikko, it’s my favourite place to visit. It was made all the more special this time by going in winter, because it was the only place we went that had actual snow! The train trip there from Tokyo is over 2 hours long, a tiring and tedious trip, watching the boring countryside roll by the window. Unfortunately, we missed our earlier train and ended up not getting there until after midday (we spent more time on the train that day than we actually did in Nikko). Our plan was to visit the temples and shrines, go see Mt Nantai and then check out Tobu World Square. No such luck, with our bad timing. We still had an amazing time, sticking to the shrines and temples. The best part was heading to Kanman-ga-fuchi Abyss…. and having a snow ball fight!
Today was freeeezing. Forget the cold of day 5 in Mitaka – I was certain it was below zero today and it was raining… again. We went outside regardless, heading to Ueno park to explore. We went around for a bit, but due to the cold and wet, there weren’t many people at all. Most of our time was spent at the Ueno Zoo, in the centre of the park, but we weren’t there for long either. Soon the bitter cold drove us back to our apartment so we could warm up. Despite our short time there, Ueno impressed me quite a bit. I expect that during the next trip to Tokyo (if there ever is one) I will spend a lot of time here.
Today it was finally time to visit Tokyo Disneyland. While I was less than impressed compared to when I first went in 2008 at the age of 15, I certainly had a ball of fun. Half of today was spent wandering around, and the other half spent waiting in lines for rides. It was sunnier today than most days, but there was a real chill in the air.
Annnnd we’re on to day 2 of Disney, this time visiting Disneysea! Disneysea has a lot more going for it, but I think that’s just my age catching up with me. I liked the way the park was built to resemble different time periods and parts of the world. It was bitterly cold though, and I ended up buying a Micky Mouse jumper to add to my layers (this was layer number 6). We stayed at Disneysea for about 14 hours in total, finishing off the day by watching the light show and fireworks.
Today was so boring compared to the rest of the trip. We slept in a little bit, and Jack and I went off to visit Senso-ji temple again so that we could buy some presents for people back home. On our return to the apartment, we grabbed all our luggage and headed to a nearby park to waste some time until it appropriate enough to leave for the airport.
Now, of course, you can’t go to Japan without getting some Purikura (photo booth) snaps. Plus, here are some pics from the rides at Disneysea, and a caricature from Odaiba…