We arrived in Tokyo on a Monday, with only a week left in our trip and feeling a bit worn down. Our apartment was a bit smaller than we have had in the past, accommodations are a bit more expensive in Tokyo. We did have a balcony that overlooked a small canal connected to the ocean. We loved looking out and counting the number of jelly fish in the water every day. We also needed to get some medicine for Julie to get her back to normal, so we relaxed almost the entire first day. Except when the kids and I walked around our Kiba neighborhood and discovered several parks and shrines; always a shrine around every corner.
We had dinner out at a Japanese restaurant and had a type of hotpot, with a huge mound of bacon and cabbage that melted down. I ordered vegetables and meat, but we only got cabbage and bacon. It wasn’t exactly what I thought I was ordering but it was tasty. A bit lost in translation though.
In the afternoon with the kids resting and playing their ipads, I ventured out to explore the original Tokyo harbor. I found some maps of the original shore line but was not very successful in finding any original shoreline or old neighborhoods. I read later that between an earthquake in 1923 and bombing in WWII that the city has been pretty demolished so not much older construction exists. This is also why the city is so expensive, but it makes it a very modern city. I did find some nice views of the river and then got a pint and an Irish pub.
That night we met up with Erik one of Maddy’s old friends from San Francisco in the Ebisu neighborhood and had dinner. The kids were extra crazy but it was a fun dinner. We had ice cream afterward and got some crazy flavors like tomato sorbet and sesame ice cream.
The next day we went to Disneyland Tokyo and then Disney Sea the next day, Caroline will be publishing the blog post for these two days.
After two days of Disney were exhausted, the kids especially didn’t want to do anything and everybody’s feet hurt. Maddy and I continued to explore by ourselves one by one. I went out and walked around the Imperial gardens, while talking to my brother John then tried my luck at Pacheco, and had sushi. Pacheco is a game of chance where if balls go in the right hole you win. I didn’t win and soon left not seeing a way to use any skill to win at the game. The sushi on the other hand was amazing, melt in your mouth tuna.
The next day was a bit rainy but we got out and did a boat tour of the city harbor starting at Asakusabashi and floating down the Sumida River into the harbor. Tokyo is built in a natural harbor so we didn’t encounter any rough waters just strange spaceship looking tour boats.
We passed the famous Tsukiji fish market and the Hamarikyu Garden where some of the original harbor shore line is still observable (lots of fill in other areas). We ended at Odaiba and were greeted with the statue of liberty (a small version of it at least). We ate lunch and then headed home via Uber because the rain was coming down steadily by then.
On Saturday we took a trip out to the Harijuku neighborhood on the west side of Tokyo a very trendy colorful wacky place. We had lunch of grilled cheese (with rainbow colored cheese), then ate lot of funny colored candy and finished up with petting hedge hogs to our hearts content. I believe it was about $15 and you could pet your very own cute little hedgehog. I passed on the experience and ate some ramen noodles at a shop around the corner. The girls had a blast. It is quite a thing in Tokyo and Japan in general to pet Hedge hogs.
Our last full day in Tokyo we decided to take a picnic to the local park, and have an al fresco lunch cleaning out our refrigerator and enjoying a beautiful day in Tokyo. The kids climbed trees and ran around until we headed back to pack for home. I ventured out on my own in the afternoon to take a walking tour of the Tsukiji fish Market, there were quite a range of sea foods to be had but the thing that I came for was the tuna and it was amazing, some of the best sushi I have eaten. I walked through the Ginza shopping district but it was mostly very high end merchandise so I didn’t buy anything although I did stop in a very interesting samari sword shop.
The next day we cleaned up our rental and finished packing and boarded the JR rail for the last time on the Narita express to the airport and began our long trek home. Our flight left at 7pm on Tuesday and got into Newark at 7pm on Tuesday, bit of a mind bender, but we gained back the day we lost heading to Asia. We were delayed two hours so we were not able to meet up with Priya in New Jersey, such a bummer. Once we landed in Newark it became very evident that Americans are very pushy, people cut in lines and yelled at TSA agents, it was really in your face, very different from Asia. It was good to be back home though and Nana picked us up from the airport in Madison. Thanks Nana!
This is it for our Aisa trip I will be wrapping up with a trip summary in a few days but altogether it was an amazing successful trip.