The Quick Sum up of Tokyo!
On Monday morning we got up bright and early (and ON TIME!) to catch the NEx (Narita Express) to Narita airport to pick up Beno! Beno was pretty tired, but keen to share his Contiki stories while we all tried to talk at once. We went back to the hostel, (Futon style) and got set up, letting Beno have a shower and us adjust our plans to kick out Disneyland after DisneySea sucked so badly.
We then taught Beno the ways of the Subway (quite easy despite the whole ‘Japanese’ thing) and headed to Akihabara, the infamous electrical district. Being honest, while it was interesting to see, there weren’t many great bargains to be had, so we didn’t really buy a whole lot. We finished up at Saizeriya, where Sarah told the waitress I was allergic to Buffalo cheese to get the pizza I so desired. It worked, and the pizza was quite enjoyable, so we felt no regret.
On Tuesday we went to Asakusa temple, the main temple and “tourist trap” of Tokyo. We were quite excited to see all of the shopping stalls, as Beno was looking for Sake cups, Sarah was looking for keyrings and I was looking for wall scrolls, several of which I bought! At one point, checking out all the scenery, we got separated and had a bit of an adventure trying to find each other, but find each other we did! As for Asakusa, the shopping was very good but the temple itself was quite small, which was a little disappointing for us, but a novelty to Beno. It did have the 5 layered pagodas that are so common in Buddhist temples however. After Asakusa, we had a bit of fail. We were hungry and planning to introduce Beno to Kappa Zushi, having looked one up on the net. We walked through Shibuya and even into Harajuku for a decent while before finding out there was in fact no Kappa Zushi! This did not cheer us.
We finally ended up (we were actually searching for Japanese food for Beno) at Shakey’s all you can eat pizza place, which was surprisingly good! I had a good number of different pizzas- pepperoni, corn, pumpkin like cheese, and just removed everything that wasn’t cheese! They also had a rather meatless but tasty curry with rice, and dessert pizzas! The pizzas had marshmellow, apricot, apple and icing sugar! Generally (apart from the rather lacklustre corn pizza… yes I tried it, no I wouldn’t do it again!) it was an impressive (and quite cheap) lunch.
Finally, we wandered up through Harajuku and randomly stumbled upon Meiji Shrine, which is beautiful. It’s a classic random-forest-in-the-middle-of-the-city temple, and we quite enjoyed wandering around. Finally we hopped on the JR line and headed to Tokyo Tower, which is basically a slightly larger, red version of the Eiffel Tower.
I’ll admit, I closed my eyes on the way up- it was very high! When we got off at the top observatory, we found the “disco” lights mentioned in the brochure; these lame lights turned green blue or red every few seconds on the floor and were hardly noticeable. It was awfully sad. The view however was not- it was the city of Tokyo lit up from the baseball stadiums to the rivers. And yes, we did get a bombshelter shot. On the lower deck there were sections of see through flooring, which Beno quite enjoyed (jumping on!) and Sarah had a shot at and I did not go near! There was no way I was getting on that section of see through flooring, NO WAY! Then we went home and (the end.)
Wednesday was Fuji-Q, which you've (better have!) read about, and Thurs/Fri was our trip to Hiroshima. On Sat we went to Hakone and it was pretty arse, the pirate ship was too crowded and the ropeway was just average. Then, sunday morning, with tears in our eyes (the light was eyewateringly bright at 4am) we farewelled Beno, hoping he'd be able to find his wahy to the airport later, and headed to London! Wheee!