Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tokyo! Sky Tree and Shinjuku Gyoen

 Last weekend I went to Tokyo. We had a three day weekend, but we only spent one night in Tokyo to not spend too much money. On Saturday morning before we left I ate some green tea flakes for breakfast. They were ok but not something I'll buy again. I didn't have much milk so I just had a small bowl and was still hungry. I had some ponzu chips that I had bought the night before so I tried them. Ponzu is a Japanese citrus flavored sauce. The chips were good! They smelled like salt and vinegar chips but didn't taste like them. They tasted pretty normal but had a bit of a citrus taste.

Jonathan said they would make a good chip sandwich with the super soft Japanese bread. He was right! Hahaha. Not such a healthy start to the day. :P

After eating we headed to the station. We should have looked up specific trains to take because we had bad timing and ended up having to change trains several times and it took about five hours to get to Tokyo. If we had taken an earlier or later train it would have only taken 4 hours and we only would have had to switch trains twice. 

You can kind of see the Izu Peninsula in the distance. I used to live somewhere along that coast.

We had a nice view of Fujisan!

When we first arrived in Tokyo we were hungry and headed to Shibuya first to eat at Ichiran ramen, my favorite ramen restaurant. :)

Then we went to Shinjuku Gyoen, which neither one of us had ever been to before. Unfortunately the park was closing when we got there. It closes at 4:30 which surprised me because it was early. 


So then we headed to our next destination, Tokyo Sky Tree which is the tallest tower in the world. 

On the way there we saw jellyfish in the river. I was confused. I guess it's salty there since it's so close to the ocean. There were so many!

Tokyo Sky Tree has two observatories but they're both expensive. The lower one is 2,000 yen and the upper one is 3,000 yen. Maybe we'll do it when we have more money, but it's so expensive! 

I actually don't think Sky Tree is very attractive, but it is neat to see up close. It's so tall! And there are a bunch of fun gift shops in the area. One shop sold fake food like you see in the windows of many restaurants in Japan. It was expensive, but maybe I'll go back and buy something small like a magnet. 

There was a Starbucks in there and Jonathan and I shared a Tiramisu Frappuccino. Sooooooo good! It has cream cheese mousse and cookie bits. It's just a limited thing here in Japan I think.

One of my favorite stores was Hello Kitty Japan. There was a ton of cute stuff like stuffed animals of Hello Kitty in kimonos and some interesting stuff like Hello Kitty decorated packages of dried squid. The store had a lot of traditional themed Hello Kitty merchandise. I bought some socks of Hello Kitty with Sky Tree.

Another one of my favorite stores was the Rilakkuma Store! It had a lot of the same Rilakkuma stuff that I've seen in other stores such as Kiddyland, but they had some Sky Tree themed stuff as well.

That evening we ate at McDonald's and then went to an arcade. Fun!


 In the morning we ate at a bakery. I had a chicken katsu with bread thing and a strawberry pastry. I love Japanese bakeries so much. :) They always have such interesting and yummy things!

Then we went to Shinjuku Gyoen and spent a couple hours there. It's a huge park! It's so pretty! There are a bunch of cherry trees and I would love to go there during the cherry blossom season. It costs 200 yen to get in and is definitely worth it.



We ate lunch at Subway in Shinjuku and then did a bit of shopping. We went to Yamashiroya (my favorite toy store!) and Yodobashi Camera. I love all the ads in the escalators in Yodobashi Camera. 

On the way back I got Cherry Mitsuya Cider. 

We had bad timing with the trains on the way home and were going to have to switch a lot again. We checked Hyperdia and saw that at one of our stops we were only going to have a minute to get on the next train, which was the last train of the night and make it back home a little after midnight.

We were a little worried about not making it onto the last train so we decided to switch to the shinkansen at Atami. I thought we would just be able to take a Shinkansen straight from there to Hamamatsu and I think most times you would be able to, but I guess not late in the evening. We had to switch at Mishima (one stop down the line) and then again in Shizuoka (like two stops from there). It was really frustrating. We had to wait quite a while between trains too. Then when we finally made it to Hamamatsu we had to wait half an hour for a train back to our local stations. We were super hungry because none of the stations where we stopped had any food stands or stores open. So we left the station and went to a konbini to get some food before finally getting on the last train. We made it back around the same time that we would have with the other slower trains. Ugh! So we had spent 2500 extra for shinkansen tickets that didn't really do us any good. Next time we definitely need to check train times before leaving and not take the stupid trains that don't go very far!

But besides the trains we had a good time in Tokyo. Though it was super crowded! I guess a lot of people were there because of the three day weekend.

I have a four day weekend this weekend. On Friday I bought a bike and Jonathan and I rode our bikes to the Hamamtsu kite festival yesterday. Biking in Japan is so much fun! I'll do a blog post about that soon.


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