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.
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.
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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.
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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.