A photo blog of our time in Tokyo
29.05.2012 - 03.06.2012 25 °C
All I'm going to say about Tokyo is this: It's crazy, it's weird, it's busy, it's expensive, but we LOVED it and cannot wait to go back another time!
I really couldn't cut down my hundreds of photos less than this, so this blog is going to be loads of photos and very little talking!
After arriving on the bullet train we dumped our bags at the hostel and went to look around the Skytree. This only opened last week and is the tallest tower in the world. This is a different record to 'tallest building' and is no where near as tall at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so it was a little disappointing! There was a shopping centre there though and some fun interactive games.
The Skytree by day and by night
Us (unexpectedly) ending up as Japanese warriors on a video screen!
We soon realised that you can buy a Hello Kitty version of pretty much everything, including dried fish and bento boxes!
Today we spent the morning and afternoon walking around Ginza and Roppongi, two of the main shopping districts. Ginza has the biggest Uniqlo in the world and we ended up buying quite a lot of clothes there!
One of the 13 floors just sold cool t-shirts
Our lovely shopping bags
In the evening we went to see a Tokyo Giants baseball game. It was really fun and the atmosphere was great, but the game itself was a bit crap. The best part was that you could take your own beer in and they even poured it into a nice cup for you! The game was at the Tokyo Dome, which is an indoor stadium where the roof is held up only by air - the pressure inside is 0.3% higher than outside! It's so odd; your ears pop on the way in and when they opened the doors to get out at the end the rush of wind from the air going to the lower pressure was so strong, they had people positioned to catch you as you flew out of the door!
Guess who one of the team mascots is... Hello Kitty of course!
Enjoying the atmosphere
After the game we went to get dinner at a shopping centre that had a rollercoaster and log flume going through it:
Today we went to Disneyland Tokyo and it was so awesome! All the childhood memories came back in an instant and I couldn't believe it had been 11 years since I last went to Disneyland. Almost all of the Japanese visitors dressed up for the occasion in Disney t-shirts and Minnie Mouse ears, and they bought bags and bags full of merchandise!
Smiley faces on Big Thunder Mountain- not the same without Dad filming it and losing his hat though!
In front of the Magic Castle and the Easter themed decorations
All the Japanese people loved the t-shirt Stephen is wearing the in photo above! He bought it at Uniqlo and had no idea what it said, but after people pointing, laughing and high-fiving him all day we decided to look it up. Apparently it says 'Pom Juice', which is a very popular brand of orange juice in Japan. We still thought it was weird that this provoked such a reaction from random passers-by!
It's a Small World - my favourite childhood ride and still just the same (except the song alternated between Japanese and English!)
The Dreamlights parade was way better than I remember it from 11 years ago, but I guess technology has improved significantly since then
We started our day visiting the Tokyo Stock Exchange was I thought was pretty interesting. The trading floor closed many years ago but they still have a big screen with all the market movements and some analysts checking for any big changes. There was another room you could go in which explained all about the history of the stock exchange and how it currently works.
The old trading floor
We then walked over the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba island. We got a good view of the Tokyo skyline from the bridge:
We stopped for lunch in a park by a man-made beach, where I had sushi style sandwiches!
Next up was a cat cafe - I've wanted to do this since I read about it in a newspaper article last year. You basically pay by the hour to go into a room where there's a lot of cats! It's a pretty popular thing and they have them all over the place as people can't really have pets of their own in Tokyo as their apartments are so small.
Enjoying my ice coffee with a side of cat
We then went to Venus Fort, a shopping centre for girls! It was modelled on an Italian city and the roof changed colour every 15 minutes to look like the sky - very tacky!
The female-friendly shops there included a pedigree puppy and kitten petshop and 'Hello Kitty's Kuwaii (Cute) Paradise'
My favourite puppy
Hello Kitty shop - there was even a cafe in here where you could buy Hello Kitty shaped pancakes!
In the evening we went to Shinjuku. This turned out to be the Tokyo of my dreams - busy, flashy and weird!
The main street in Shinjuku
Stephen got up at 3:30am this morning to go to the fish market to see the tuna auction and get some good sushi. I stayed in bed as I'm not the biggest fan of fish at the best of times, let alone when it means walking for an hour at 3am!
Tune at the auction
When Stephen had got back and had a bit more sleep we headed to Shibuya for a wander around. This is another major shopping district and contains the world's busiest pedestrian crossing. Unfortunately the picture below is the best I got, and it wasn't even very busy then, but you get the idea!
We then walked to Harajuku, which was actually a bit of a disappointment. We expected all of the weird and wonderful of Tokyo to be here, but it was just exactly like walking around Camden! We didn't see any of the 'Harajuku Girls' who go to stand on a bridge over the railway in their weird clothes. It was a Saturday afternoon so we thought there'd be some, but apparently they all do it on a Sunday
Takeshita Street - the main street in Harajuku
The only odd thing were the amount of 'Idol Shops' on Takeshita street. These are shops that just sell pictures of pretty girls who are in 'bands' or are models and it's mainly middle-aged men that buy them - very weird!
An idol shop
On our way back we stopped to get ice cream at a build-your-own-sundae place. Stephen was determined to make the weirdest, most Japanese ice cream possible and this is what he came up with:
Black sesame ice cream with rice balls, beans and green tea sauce!
Today we only had a few hours in the morning before we had to go to the airport but we wanted to make the most of them so we went to Akiabara - the main electronics, anime and general geek district. It was pretty cool at the street was closed for cars on a Sunday, it felt strange walking in the street in Japan as they are usually very strict about jaywalking! There were loads of arcades here with weird and wonderful games, some of the more serious games had really long queues of people waiting to play!
We stuck to the fun games
Arcade game where the prize was salami!
There were lots of shops that sold models and these were very weird. I won't put up any pictures as this blog might get flagged as being inappropriate, but alongside models of trains, cars and tv characters there were models of naked women in positions you don't even want to imagine! We found this odd that they weren't hidden from view and were right at the front of the store in the same section as the model trains and cars, like there as no difference and nothing weird about it at all :/
We stopped off at a convenience store on the way to the airport to buy some snacks for the place and came out with this random selection:
I can't wait to go back to Japan, it's been one of my favourite places so far and just so different from anywhere I've ever been. Although the people don't speak much English they are all so friendly and willing to help if you look a bit lost or confused. We really didn't want to leave and get on the plane to cold, rainy New Zealand