Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 5 – Ueno, Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi, Omotesando, Shibuya

Day 5 was a busy day. We went from one end of Tokyo to the other. But it was a Sunday in late March, so it was definitely all happening. You’ll see.

First stop: Ueno. So this was supposed to be prime hanami – or cherry blossom viewing – season. This is the time when the Japanese people come alive, start singing and dancing, and then pass out drunk under pink trees. It is the best time ever. Unfortunately for us, it was unseasonably cold that season, so as you can see by the picture, the cherry blossoms had only barely started budding. Here’s a calendar of hanami season when  you’re ready to plan out your trip.

Hanami at Ueno Park. Image Credit: Ryan.

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Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 4 – Odaiba and Hometown Tonkatsu

Not sure you can tell from the pictures but Day 4 of our trip was a rainy, windy mess of a day. We decided to stay mostly indoors and detoured to Odaiba, a shopping and entertainment district on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. In the late 90s, Odaiba was the hottest place in Tokyo, but by 2012, it had lost a lot of its luster to trendier areas in Roppongi, Omotesando and wherever the kids are going these days. Still, it’s an interesting place to visit.

Amongst other attractions, there’s no less than four shopping malls, exhibition centers, museums, and a Edo Period-themed hot springs theme park called Oedo Onsen Monogatari. There are many ways to get on the island, but the most unique are the Yurikamome elevated train which traverses Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Water Bus.

Rainbow Bridge on the way to Odaiba via the Yurikamome. Image Credit: Ryan.

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Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 3, Tokyo Disney Sea and a Journey to Nostalgia

This is going to be a quick and dirty post. Largely because, although we went to Tokyo Disney Sea, we actually didn’t do anything there. Turns out, the day we went, it was the last Friday of Japan’s Spring Break. Every single ride had a 2-3+ hour wait time; every food cart for stinking popcorn must have had an hour long wait, too. Okay, the truth is that we’re not really Disney people. You may be and can handle the lines and the mouse ears and the good cheer. So, more power to you. My one contribution to your experience – these are two links to Japan Disney Crowd Calendars: here (English) and here (Japanese). According to those calendars, we chose a day that ranked a 95 out of 100 on crowd size. I recommend choosing more wisely.

Pictures start off on the Disney Monorail. From Tokyo Station, it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Maihama Station in Chiba Prefecture (fronting Disney). From there, it’s a short walk to the Monorail.

On the Disney Monorail. Image Credit: T.

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Contests: Marriott Free Travel for Life

Marriott is advertising its mobile app by giving away free travel for life, by way of 3.75 million Marriott Points. That’s enough for 100+ nights in Marriott’s highest tier hotel (provided you reserve 4 consecutive nights in order to get a 5th night free). They’ll even give you $10,000 to cover the tax liability of all those miles. The contest is open to residents of all 50 states (plus D.C., PR and USVI), who are at least 18 and members of the Marriott Rewards Program. Residents of several foreign countries are also eligible. The normal way of contest entry is to download the Marriott Mobile App and use it to book a room, check-in, or make requests. There is an alternate form of entry, no purchase required, where you can enter 20 handwritten cards for a total of 60 entries. See contest rules for more information.

Marriott Free Travel for Life Contest. Image Credit: courtesy of Marriott.

And a final reminder that Points and Miles Beyond Hawaii is currently hosting a giveaway. You can win a $50 Hawaiian Airlines or a $50 Hyatt Gift Certificate. And if we receive 100 entries, we’ll give you both prizes! This giveaway will end March 13, 2017 at 12:00am HST. Check it out by clicking here. We’re not anywhere near 100 entries, so hustle up some people to enter!

As always, if I don’t win, might as well be you.

Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 2, Part 2 – Asakusa, Kappabashi

Day 2 of our Japan 2012 trip continued on to Asakusa. It’s an older part of Tokyo and still retains a bit of decade’s past charm. The attraction that everyone comes to see here is Senso-ji Temple, originally built in and the Nakamise shopping street that leads up to it.

When we got there, it was still 7:30am, and most of the merchants were shockingly still closed. They’ll sell you all the trinkets, collectibles and snacks you want when they’re open.

Nakamise Dori (Shopping Street). Image Credit: Ryan.

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