Monday, April 12, 2010

Tokyo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally I made it to Tokyo!

I left really early on Saturday morning (I got on the bus around 6:30) and made it to Tokyo around 11. I could have gotten there earlier, like around 10:30, but I got a little confused at the train station. I switched at Atami Station because I thought I had to and then later realized I could have just stayed on the train all the way to Tokyo. Oh well!

The first station I got off at in Tokyo was Shibuya. So my first view of Tokyo (not just looking at Tokyo from the train window) was of the crosswalk in Shibuya which is the busiest crosswalk in the world!There were a lot of people there but I'm sure there are times when it's more crowded.

I shopped around Shibuya for a while, including a big music store and Loft (a store of all sorts of random stuff like stationary and home decorating stuff). I bought some clothes and ate at Mos Burger, a fast food place popular in Japan. In America I don't really like fast food burgers very much but I still kind of wanted to try Mos Burger. I got the Teriyaki Burger and it was really good!

After Shibuya I headed to Ueno Park. I hadn't originally planned on visiting Ueno because the forecast had said it would be chilly and possibly rainy, but it was sunny and fairly warm! Ueno is famous for its cherry blossoms so I decided to visit. Many of the cherry blossoms had already fallen, but there was still a decent amount on the trees. It was hard to get a picture that really captured how it looked. It was the cherry blossoms falling from the trees that was the prettiest part and that doesn't really show up in pictures.


The picture above doesn't show it, but in many areas there were tons of people having picnics beneath the trees and getting drunk. It was quite entertaining.

The park also had a nice pond and has a zoo (which I didn't visit but maybe will someday). I took some pictures of the pond and you can see them in my Facebook album. I'll post a link at the end.

After the park I headed to Ikebukuro. I visited Tokyu Hands which is an awesome store. It's kind of similar to Loft, but it has more variety. It ranged from Hello Kitty stuff to gardening supplies to housewares to bicycles. Each floor of the store was very different. The 8th floor is called Nekobukuro and you can pay 600 yen to go in and pet and play with a bunch of cats! I really want to go but I didn't have a whole lot of time and wanted to see more of Tokyo so I'll do that next time.

I think Tokyu Hands was my favorite store. I bought a cute puzzle, some stickers, and best of all... Shinkansen buttons! I think I'm going to make a plushie in the shape of Japan and attach different buttons and things to it.

After Tokyu Hands I went to Sunshine City for a while, which is a building full of many different stores. I didn't spend too much time there but there was soooo much to see! I definitely need to go back! Next time I go to Tokyo I think I'll spend most of my time in Shibuya and Ikebukuro. :)

After Sunshine City I headed back to Ikebukuro Station. Here is what the area looked like at night:


I got on the train and headed to Shinjuku. The trains were super easy to take in Tokyo. Everywhere I wanted to go was on one train line that loops around the city. The trains come by at least every couple of minutes so I never had to wait long.

My main reason for going to Shinjuku was to go up in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office observatory. I got off the train at the station and almost immediately started seeing signs directing me where to go. I followed the signs through a long underground passageway and once I was above ground I was in the skyscraper district.

The picture below is of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. I went up to the 45th floor of the tower on the right.

The view from up there is really cool. The city just seems to go on forever!


Then I headed off to find my hotel. I wasn't sure how I was going to do my weekend in Tokyo but at the last minute I decided to try and find a hotel so that I'd have plenty of time in Tokyo. I was very glad I decided that!

I had a little bit of trouble finding the hotel because I had written down detailed instructions, but they were based on me going out a specific station exit. The exit was under construction so I got turned around. But after walking up and down the street a few times I found the hotel.

The hotel is also a capsule hotel but only for men. I need to find a capsule hotel for women because I think it would be fun to stay in once.

My room was really small but very very clean! The bathroom was tiny (and I thought the one in my hotel in Hamamatsu was small...). It was the size of a small closet.


I left the hotel a little before 8 and headed for Nippori to visit all the stores in the fabric district. I got off the train and left the station when I realized that stores were probably not open at 8:30 in the morning. So I found a place to eat breakfast instead and then looked for Fabric Town just to make sure it wasn't open yet.

I found Fabric Town and the sign on the front of the largest store said it opened at 10. I didn't want to hang around Nippori for an hour and a half with nothing but restaurants open so I decided to go back to the observatory in Shinjuku to see the same view during the day.


Shinjuku and Nippori aren't super close (like a 20 minute train ride) so I decided to save Nippori for last. I would buy a lot there anyways and didn't want to carry it around all day. So after Shinjuku I went to Harajuku. I hadn't looked up any maps of Harajuku so I didn't exactly know where to go. I wanted to find the area with all the crazy fashion. I followed the crowd from the station hoping that it would take me somewhere interesting. It didn't take me to the crazy fashion area, but it did take me to another shopping district. I went in a store called Kiddy Land full of super kawaii stuff!!! I found this awesome cell phone strap. It's hello kitty on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building! :)

So then I finally headed back to Nippori to visit fabric town, the area where I wanted to do most of my shopping and stock up on fabric to make plushies! I headed down the street and noticed that most of the stores were still closed. :( I guess that area is closed on Sundays! Boo. :( There were a couple small stores open so I did get two pieces of felt and a couple spools of thread. Not nearly the amount of supplies I need, but that just gives me an excuse to go back to Tokyo! :)

Here's a picture of the area around Nippori station:


So with my extra time that I hadn't planned on having I decided to visit Tokyo Tower. I like the picture below because it has sakura, a shrine, and Tokyo Tower all in one picture! :)


I didn't go up in the tower because you have to pay and the line was long and I didn't have a whole lot of time left. I will go up in there sometime though!

I headed to Tokyo Station so that I could take the Tokaido Line back home. Train stations are very dangerous for me because of all the distractions... when I visit somewhere it's hard just for me to leave the station sometimes. So many stores! Tokyo Station had some really awesome ones, like the Rilakkuma Store!!! I wanted to buy so much but after all the shopping I had already done I knew it probably wasn't a good idea. :P The boxes full of strawberry flavored Kit Kats with Rilakkuma packaging were very tempting though...


I took a ton of pictures in Tokyo (more than you'd want to see!) but I picked just a few from each place I went and put them into an album on facebook which you can see here: Tokyo Pictures!!!!

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