A Travellerspoint blog

Ueno Zoo, Akihabara Electric Town and the Tokyo Sky Tree

Should have done some training for this trip... So much walking!!

overcast 5 °C

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So last night we decided to first stop at the B & R for a drink before dinner. The boys once again wore the matching vests and we all felt very classy as the waiter took our jackets and brought us the fancy menus. The boys all ordered scotch while I ordered a martini and then Marc and Nick decided they were feeling manly enough to have a cigar. We managed to keep up the appearance of having lots of money until Marc made the comment "After this I'm going to get 15 nuggets!" Luckily no one else understood him so we were safe. We were all amazed by the bar tender who chipped a perfect circle out of ice to put in Zac's drink and decided we would make this place our "local" for the week. After an hour we headed out to find some food and ended up at this really cool little traditional place where I had deep fried octopus, Zac had sushi and Nick and Marc had some suspicious looking meat. I had some sake as well, which was rather intense and I couldn't manage to finish it :( Then we headed back to our hotel, sat around on our computers for a while, and finally collapsed into bed for a well deserved sleep!

I managed to sleep in until 8 this morning, which for me is very late, and then we all went to Maccas for breakfast again before getting on the train to go to the Ueno Zoo!! We were all very excited to see the pandas and monkeys, but we were even more excited when we realised there were also elephants, bears, tigers, rhinos and hippos. Pretty good considering we payed about $6 to get in :)

We spent a good 3 hours at the zoo before Zac and my bodies started to give up on us and we bailed to get some food. We ended up at KFC because it was the first place we saw that we could work out the menu, and after disappointing meals for everyone (the chicken was gross) we got back on the train and set off to Akihabara to check out some of the electronic department stores. We split up again here and while the boys checked out places like Yodobashi Akiba (8 levels of electronics) I found some cute antique book stores around the station and then had an Irish Baileys Coffee at Tully's Coffee. Probably the best thing I have ever tasted and definitely appreciated because of the ice cold weather outside! I bought a cute little watch after that which was navy with a red face and white spots (cutest thing ever!) and then met up with the boys again to head to the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower. We got off at the Akasura stop and walked until we could see the tower in the distance and then followed it, but along the way found some seriously interesting sculptures... some of which the boys had fun taking awkward photos with.... and eventually made it to the ticket office where we then waited another 20 minutes in a ridiculously well organised line. The Japanese sure know how to queue!

By the time we got our tickets I was freaking out more than a little about how high we were going to be, but there was no time to think as we were all pushed into lifts with no space to turn and sped up the tower so fast and smooth that our ears were popping like crazy! The views were rather spectacular from the top and because we got there about 4:30 we managed to see the city as the sun went down and took some cool photos when all the lights came out. There was a section where you could walk over a glass floor, but I certainly did not like the idea of that!

After the lightning speed trip back down to the floor, we took the train all the way back to our station (it's just too easy to fall asleep on the train with all the silence and how smooth it is) and then we grabbed some random food from a supermarket on our way back to the hotel and are once again sitting on the beds in one of our rooms, all on our computers and sharing funny YouTube clips.

Tomorrow we go to Disney land (YAY!!!!) so we are going to have another early night so that we can be up early and at the gates as they open. So excited! Hope you are all enjoying the warmth while we are digging our thermals out of the bottom of our bags :)

Posted by clairebear89 03:15 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Shibuya and Harajuku

A lesson for me in patience and crowds!

sunny 10 °C

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So last night we ended up at a fairly traditional restaurant on an upstairs level looking down onto a street in Akasaka. I ordered what looked like a picture of a chicken dish which turned out to be bacon in spicy sauce with capsicums, onion and huge chunks of garlic. It was delicious! The boys, all wearing their matching vests, also chose matching meals and were happy with their beef, capsicum and onion. We then went for a wander around some of the streets in Akasaka and stopped in a few little shops, in one of which the boys found a drink called Cannabia (which apparently contains actual Cannibus) so that was an interesting find... We then headed home and crashed at around 9 after a ridiculous amount of walking for our first day!

We started today by heading to McDonalds for some hashbrowns as no one was keen for fish for breakfast, and when we tried to walk out of the store we stood there for a few minutes waving our hands at the sensor and walking up and down in front of what we thought were automatic doors until someone kindly showed us the button on the door to get out :/ We then rushed down to the subway feeling very embarrassed! We headed over to Shibuya (absolute pros at the subway by the way!) and came out at the Shibuya crossing. We were expecting lots more people but since it was early in the morning and also still holiday season over here there weren't too many. What was cool though were the loud ads projected onto the front of the high rise buildings. There were lots happening at once so it was impossible to understand anything! We decided to split up for 2 hours then as there were separate department stores for men and women and while the boys headed off to look at record stores and suit shops I headed into Shibuya 109, an 8 level building full of cute and quirky stores where the saleswomen dress up with lots of makeup and bizarre outfits and stand out the front and yell the sale prices across the walkways. It was a mess of noise and people and as there were big new year sales the prices were awesome! I ended up buying a very cute little Harajuku style outfit which I have no idea where I will ever wear but it was just too cute to walk past :)

We then met up and headed for a sushi train that Zac had heard about behind one of the department stores. It was crazy because when you sat down there was an iPad on which your ordered your food and then a 3 level track in front of you where your ordered food was delivered on a mini Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train). The price was great too as we all paid under $5 for a big lunch and drinks! After this we walked to the Disney Store to get out tickets for Tokyo Disneyland on Monday. I was just as excited as any kid in the store :)

After this we walked up Cat Street (one half was dodgy little stores and the other half high end brand names) towards Harajuku, where we again encountered ridiculous crowds and lots of yelling salesmen and women, and made our way to Takeshita-dori. This is a little back alley which us absolutely packed full of stores, street stalls, people and bargains. We found a 100 yen store where everything was under that price and got a few random souvenir items. The boys were fine as we walked along this packed street but sometimes I got lost in the crowd and had to stick up my hand for them to see me!

At the end of this street we walked across to go and see the Meiji-jingu shrine and although there were lots of people walking along the path with us I just assumed it was normal. However we then came to a section of the path where everyone was stopped and lining up to get into the shrine and we realised it must be some sort of event or religious day so we instead payed 500 yen to go into the gardens next to the shrine and walk through there. The best part of this were the cute little birds who would come and sit on your hand if you held it out long enough. Unfortunately for Nick they seemed to get sick of us before he got to hold one :( There was also a pond full of disgusting large Koy fish that kept opening up their mouths on the top of the pond and making Zac feel the urge to punch them in the face. Lucky for them there were too many other people around so we headed back out of the gardens and through some market stalls selling less than hygienic looking foods and onto our subway back to the hotel. We are now all sitting on our laptops uploading photos and deciding where to go for dinner. As it's a Saturday night we were thinking of having a late one, but I think we are all just too tired after another big day of walking and will probably just grab something easy and crash early.

Hope you are all surviving the heat back home! It was between 4 and 11 today so nice and fresh!

Posted by clairebear89 01:11 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Flight over and our first day in Tokyo

We walked 8kms today!!

sunny 11 °C

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Well the flight over was fairly uneventful, we flew out of the Gold Coast airport which was nice and easy and managed not to get pulled up for drug or bomb tests which is always good! On the flight over I remembered that I should not watch funny shows because I watched a few New Girl episodes and woke everyone up within about a 3 row radius :/ Once we arrived in Tokyo we were very happy to pick up our luggage unharmed and then had to find our way through the airport maze to the train station where we got tickets for the Narita Express. On our way through the gates some guy in front of us took Marc's ticket and then Marc took Nick's so we had to explain to the scary security man what happened and then run for the train! It took a good hour to travel into Tokyo and while on the train we watched the crazy ads with some heavily eyebrowed girl talking extremely fast.... So that was interesting!

Once we got into the Tokyo Station we had to then walk up onto the street to walk to the next Metro station to catch the subway to our hotel. We were definitely not prepared for how cold it was so basically ended up running around Tokyo dragging our suitcases and snowboards behind us to get back into the warmth! Needless to say we were very excited to finally make it to our hotel and drop all our luggage. We then realised how hungry we were and decided to brave the freezing weather to walk down to find a McDonalds as none of us were feeling particularly adventurous. After everyone managed to order something other than what we wanted due to the language barrier and scoffed it down, we headed back home and crashed for the night.

In the morning Nick and I realised just how awkward the bathroom in our twin room was with the frosted glass bottom half and clear glass top half. It's always going to be weird standing in the shower and being able to look out and see your sibling on their computer! We headed out at 9 towards the Imperial Gardens and after walking about 20 minutes around the outside we realised that it was closed on Fridays :( So we continued to walk around the outside of it because it was just so pretty and we were amused by how many joggers were passing us. As we got round the other side of the palace the boys started to get dizzy from lack of food and I was freezing cold and in desperate need of a coffee, so we stopped at a Starbucks and were very impressed with the Pretzel Mocha which is apparently only in Tokyo. We then continued to walk along the Marunouchi Naka-dori, which is basically Tokyo's version of the Champs-Élysées, and were planning to head into a department store called Hankyu Men's Tokyo which we were told was for "successful men" but as we walked towards it there were fire trucks everywhere and turns out there was a fire inside! It did seem a little ridiculous to have about 20 trucks there as well as police on every street corner, but I guess with the number of random security guards all over the place that must be normal. Instead we headed towards Mitsukoshi Department Store (the largest in Ginza) and went in to awe at all the expensive clothes and perfectly dressed attendants. It did cause nick to make the comment that "these people must fart money", so I decided it was time to move on!

Our next stop was the Pokemon store, but to get there took another long walk during which we stopped once at a clothes store where the boys bought matching vests and I bought a cute skirt and then at a toy store which was ridiculously crowded and full with random stuff from dancing robots to paper watches. When we finally arrived at the Pokemon Centre, which was also crawling with children, Zac and I waited outside while Marc and Nick went in to explore. After that we decided we had walked enough and caught the subway to Roppongi and then walked back to our hotel after stopping at a 7-11 to get some snacks and beer (which you don't seem to need ID for...).

We are now chilling in one of our rooms, the boys all wearing their vests, and are deciding what to do for dinner. I guess we should do something a bit more traditional after our Maccas and Starbucks stops but we'll see how we go :) Oh and the other amazing thing about our hotel is that there is a good coffee machine in the lobby that's how I plan on surviving :)

Will post again tomorrow with our experiences of Shibuya!!

Posted by clairebear89 23:24 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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