the original source Today was our last day in Tokyo before returning back to the States. We had a tentative plan on what we wanted to do based on some things we didn’t have time for earlier in the trip and some things we had planned before we even left for Japan.
http://hdiaustin.org/2016/01/analyst-of-the-year-winner-siobhan-tate/img_2569/ First, we went into Yodobashi-Akiba, which is a gigantic electronics store it also has some regular clothing and house goods section as well. It’s a cool store to walk around in and we saw they had a Uniqlo store inside, which is like Japan’s H&M, although H&M’s are there as well. Sara was looking for an overcoat for the evening when we were to head to our anniversary dinner. The weather was really pleasant but was due to be slightly chilly in the evening time.
buy pixel online Here’s Yodobashi:
Unfortunately, the Uniqlo we went to was very small and limited in its selection so we headed over to the one in Shinjuku, which was huge. Sara was able to find a nice overcoat for the evening and we got some other stuff to bring home as well from there.
Afterwards, we jumped on the train and headed down to Harajuku. We first went into Meiji Shrine, which is a very large shrine surrounded by a large parkway with wide gravel paths in it. The trees block out the sounds of the city and they are dense enough to keep the area slightly darker and cooler than outside of the park.
This is the entrance we went into:
From this tori, the walk is probably about 10-15 minutes until you reach the center of the shrine itself, this is the center:
It’s a large courtyard where occasional wedding precessions come through, which I have a picture below. To the left of the picture you can see stairs leading up to a structure. There is where people make their prayers the shinto spirits.
The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who was very influential in modernizing Japan and setting forth its foundation to what it has grown into today. It was a large reform in government, shifting from the Shogunate to a centralized government. The history of it is quite complicated.
This picture shows one of the wedding precessions we saw go through the area. The bride’s dress doesn’t allow her to move her feet very much, so you can see the assistance she is receiving while walking. She especially needed the help for going up and down stairs:
After Meiji, we headed out and across the street into Harajuku’s Takeshita Dori. It’s just a really crazy and fun atmosphere and is known for people getting dressed up in wild outfits, lots of crepes and the animal cafes.
Like our last trip here, we decided to do the purikura again, which are the funny photo booths for teen girls in Japan. This time we saw the girls inside putting makeup on and really getting into getting good pictures! I will upload our pictures later, I haven’t scanned the prints yet:
[UPLOAD PURIKURA HERE]
When we came out of the purikura, we saw a small cotton candy stand. While the stand was small the cotton candy sure wasn’t!
Each of the colors was a different flavor too. It was really good and kinda cool to hold such a large cotton candy.
Once we walked through Takeshita Dori we headed over to Omotesando, which is the high fashion street. However, we were here to go to Kiddy Land, which is a shop for kids with a bunch of kids toys and plush animals from various movies and cartoons. It was loaded with minions this time. We were looking for a gift for Christmas for our nephew and we found him a large Doraemon stuffed animal. Doraemon has been around since 1969 and he’s a robot cat from the future, who has no ears as a robot mouse nibbled them off. Doraemon was originally yellow, but after losing his ears he cried away the yellow turning himself blue.
We thought we should get our nephew something that you can’t get in the US easily. Plus Doraemon is pretty cool, he goes back in time to help a young boy and uses contraptions from the future that usually get the two into trouble. When we got Doraemon, the cashier wrapped him up in a nice wrapping and handed him to us. He’s still in that wrapping until Christmas.
After, getting Doraemon we walked into some side streets known as Cat Alley. Here are just small boutiques of all different styles. We wound our way through them before heading back to the station to ride back to Akihabara.
When we got to Akihabara we went to Super Potato, which is a store that sells old and new video games and has an arcade of retro games only. Here’s the outside of the store:
To go up to each level you had to walk up very steep and narrow winding steps and to pass people coming down as you were going up one would have to wait on the platform for the other to pass. Each floor was dedicated to different years of gaming from new, to last-gen consoles to the retro Famicoms and other cartridge systems. We came across a VirtualBoy, which I’ve never actually seen before but knew about. It’s essentially a handheld 3D Nintendo, and apparently never got popular, but after checking it out I’m surprised. It actually looked really good and way ahead of its time.
For the Resident Evil fans, here’s Japan’s version, known as Biohazard:
And then at the top floor was the arcade here’s what it looked like:
We played a few games for a bit, mostly Bomberman as you see in the center of the picture above. The only unfortunate thing here is how much smoke was in this room. It was overwhelming so we made for the door only after a few games.
By this time we were nearing 4:00pm so Sara decided to head back to the hotel and rest a bit before getting ready for our dinner out. I walked back with her then headed back out down the street to a huge manga shop. It was multi-floored and had pretty much every manga you could think of. It was called Mandrake Complex. You could even trade-in mangas here too. I bought a few then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our night out.
We had reservations on the 38th floor of a large building at 8:00pm in Kanda. The restaurant was called K’Shiki and was an italian restaurant. The meal was a five course meal and had multiple options, so Sara and I tried different meals. Everything was incredible and when I reserved the dinner I requested a window seat and said it was our first anniversary. Sara laughed at the time, but I said you never know, it might ensure we get the seat. So sure enough, they took us to the best seat in the place looking out over the nighttime cityscape of Tokyo. Here’s the view:
While we ate we talked about our trip from favorite to least favorite parts, what we would repeat, what was good to do just once, funniest moment and other topics like that. As we neared the end of the meal we were brought a large slice of melon and written on the plate in drizzled chocolate was, “Happy First Anniversary, Congratulations”. I told Sara, “see, it helped to mention that in the reservation.” We ordered more dessert too.
As we left, the weather had cooled more and a slight drizzle set in so we walked quickly back to the station. When we got to the hotel, I headed back out to buy a few melon Fantas to bring home to share with our family and then returned to the hotel.
Before heading to Japan this time around, I had thought it woudn’t have quite the pizzazz as our first, but I think this one was even better and that came from getting to speak it more and getting that much more, albeit small, into Japan and meeting its people.
We can’t wait to go back! And with that it was the end of another great trip!