Saturday, October 8, 2011

Japan - Day 6 - Leaving Disneyland and First Day in Tokyo

This was my first full night of uninterrupted sleep and I slept at the way to 7:15am.  Hopefully I'm adjusted now.  Today we're traveling to Tokyo but we're not checking out of our hotel until 11.  That leaves us with some time to explore the hotels and other things we skipped cause we were so busy in the park.  Breakfast was a bowl of Cup of Noodles and then we were off.  Theresa and I grabbed a one day monorail pass and were off.  The first stop was Disney Sea and the beautiful Hotel Miracosta.

We got to the park just before the park opened so I got some great photos looking into the park from the monorail station.

From the top level of the monorail station, there is an exit directly to the hotel.

In the front of the hotel was a beautiful fountain.

Entering the hotel, the lobby has a huge vaulted ceiling, with a ship showpiece in the center.

The north elevator had a sign saying it was for hotel guests only.  It was even guarded by a hotel worker checking hotel keys.  We kept exploring the lower level and eventually came to the south elevator.  No such signs here, so we headed up to the 5th floor.  We were hoping for some good views into the park from here.  but there wasn't a whole lot to see.  I didn't even take any photos. 

We walked back towards the lobby and got a closer view of the murals above the lobby.  This is an interesting take on Ariel. 

We still had more exploring to do before we leave, so we headed back to the monorail and were off towards the Disneyland Hotel.  Here's a monorail map for those who are interested.

Looking into the Disneyland from the top of the monorail station.

Directly opposite the entrance is the beautiful Disneyland Hotel. 

If you were driving up to it instead of taking the monorail, you get to see a cool fountain with Apprentice Mickey from Fantasia and the brooms emptying their buckets into the fountain. 

Looking down into the beautiful lobby.

With lots of interesting decorations. 

An interesting dollhouse.  Lots of Disney characters are hidden throughout.

Catching Ariel in the tub.  And it looks like Nemo is there too.

With some interesting artwork hanging around.

And then it was time to head back to the hotel and meet up with Jacob and Ruston.  Here's the view leaving the hotel and back on to the monorail.

How close is the Hilton Tokyo Bay hotel to the monorail?  Just across the street.  We definitely enjoyed staying here.  It was super convenient, everyone was very nice, the convenience store in the lobby was great (no credit cards though), and the room was great!  I wouldn't mind staying here again (and you'll see that we actually did in a later post).

So, what did Ruston and Jacob do with all their free time in the morning?  Looking out our hotel window we can see Tokyo Bay.  We could see fishermen and joggers and other people running along it.  Ruston and Jacob decided to go explore that.

The first difficulty was trying to get over there.  There was no marked path.

And no crosswalks either apparently. 

And this is where you climb through the plants.

Huh.  An 8 foot drop?  I guess looking from the window on the 6th floor, you can't really tell there's a bit of a drop.  There was a ladder for people who wanted to climb down, but this was close enough for them.

Looking out into the bay.

And the view back towards our hotel.

We all packed our bags and were off to the monorail.  We all packed light and we were sure glad we did.  Getting over to the JR Mahaima line from the monorail was easy.  Just a quick trip to the Ikspiari station and a short walk to the JR line.  Once we got to the Tokyo station we were amazed by how huge it was!  This was where we were glad we packed light because the walk from one end of the station to the other must have taken 15 minutes.  Walking up stairs, up escalators, across wide expanses, past shops, down stairs, down escalators.  Wow, absolutely huge. 

We finally made it over the to Yamanote line, grabbed a seat, I think it was something like a 30 minute trip to our stop.  Along the way we just watched all the building go by and marveled all the sites around Tokyo.  Once there it was just a short 1.6km walk to our hotel.  We even found a 7/11 just a couple doors down from our Citadines hotel which was great, because the 7/11s are one of the few places that accepts foreign ATM cards.  We learned before that Japan is almost entirely cash only, so we got enough here to last us a few days.
Check-in at the Citadines was super easy and the hotel staff spoke great English.  We also arrived about an hour before the official check-in time, but there were rooms available and we were able to head right up. 

The rooms were really modern and super clean. 

And even had a kitchenette with a small fridge. 

It was then time to head to explore the city.  We didn't have much on our agenda today.  Just around the corner was a supermarket.  They had plenty of interesting things but we didn't want to carry them around the city.  Just outside a street vendor was selling hot sweet potatoes and since Theresa's on a sweet potato kick, she got one.

The rest of us were hungry, but what to eat?  We stopped by a department store because we heard there were cheap eats there.  Not this one apparently.  So many choices, so much plastic food everywhere, but nothing we really wanted.  I'll admit, once we decided we were not very adventurous at all.  Pretty much the complete opposite of adventurous.  We saw a Shakeys pizza just down the street and for just 850 yen (~$11) we could have all you can eat pizza, curry, soup, and noodles.  There were some interesting pizza flavors, including corn, fried teriyaki chicken w/ seaweed, cuttlefish, tuna fish, chocolate banana, apple cinnamon, and sweet potato/marshmallow/bean paste.  The owner even asked us if we wanted a particular pizza and made a pepperoni just for us. 

After lunch, we continued our walk through Tokyo.  There were a few interestingly designed buildings. 

The main thing on our list was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings.  That's it in the distance.

One of the best things about it is the free observatory up on the 45th floor.  From here, you get a great view of the Tokyo skyline.

And all of our ears popped while we were going up the elevator.

Not for those who are scared of heights.

Back down in the lobby, there was an expo showing off locally produced goods.  They had a samples of fruits.  Here Theresa got a sample of an Asian Pear (are they just pears here?). 
Inside there was a lady at a weaving loom.  After watching for a little while, she motioned like "would I like to try?"  Of course!  It was a tight fit, but I made it. 

She didn't speak much English, but she showed me how to work the pedals and then showed me how to toss the shuttle through the weave.  I threw the shuttle through and promptly broke the thread! Yikes!   

I was a bit embarrassed, but we were able to work it out.  In English she repeated “Ohmygod, Ohmygod” which we all found really funny.  She tied the thread back together and it wasn’t a big deal.

After a few more tries I started getting the hang of it and it was a really fun experience.  The one thing I still don’t understand is how they dyed the thread in the first place to make the pattern.  It was all one piece of thread, but when you weaved it, it made this dragon pattern. 

We then went downstairs and saw the government building represented in Lego (no photos allowed), plus a huge fruit that we were told came from an octopus tree.  And it was from an island just 25 hours away by ferry since there was no airport.  I'm not sure how many people they were expecting to come visit.

There was a place selling dried purple sweet potato chips.  And yes, you guessed it.  Theresa got some. 

We then took the elevator up the north observation tower.  Pretty similar views from the south tower.

This tower had lots of little shops where you could buy souvenirs.  Most of us learned how to spell our name with Japanese character.  Poor Ruston.... 

A sign here said that on a good day you can see Mount Fuji.  Today was not a good day for seeing Mount Fuji.

The lights starting to come on in Tokyo.

Then we took a walk back to the hotel. 

Still pretty crowded.  We stopped back by the grocery store and stocked up on goodies and snacks. 

We then hit the guidebooks and figured out what we were going to do the next day. 

It was a little bit of a slow day with lots of walking, but we were happy for that.  Tomorrow we'll be doing a bit more walking.  It's sure to be exciting though.  Everything is so different here and we're really looking forward to seeing it.  Until next time...

Click here to go to Day 7 - Exploring Tokyo 

Day 1 - Flight to Japan
Day 2 - First Day at Tokyo Disneyland
Day 3 - Tokyo Disney Sea
Day 4 - A Rainy Day at Tokyo Disneyland
Day 5 - The Last Day at Disneyland
Day 6 - Leaving Disneyland and the first day in Tokyo
Day 7 - Exploring Tokyo 
Day 8 - Off to Hakone
Day 9 - Off to Kyoto
Day 10 - Exploring Kyoto
Day 11 - Even more Kyoto
Day 12 - Leaving Jacob and Ruston and heading back to Tokyo Disney Sea
Day 13 - Hanging out at Tokyo Disneyland 
Day 14 - Last Day in Japan
Day 12 to14 - Ruston and Jacob's last few days in Japan
Day 15 - Leaving Japan

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