Japan 2010:
Day 5 - Tokyo Tower


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Japan 2010: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Osaka & Kobe] [Day 3 - Kyoto & Nara] [Day 4 - Hiroshima] [Day 5 - Tokyo Tower] [Day 6 - Mt. Fuji] [Day 7 - Tokyo] [Day 8 - Ginza]

Thursday, February 25: We slept in and took our time checking out of the ryokan. Debbie modeled the yukata one final time.
We booked our shinkansen tickets to Tokyo then went to a kiosk in Kyoto Station to buy bento boxes for the 2 1/2 hour trip. Debbie snapped a photo of her selection, ...
... and Tom's selection, which she showed to the clerks. It makes purchasing much easier and the clerks always smile.
While waiting for our train, we saw an unusual event: a departing train was stopped on its way out. It sat there for at least five minutes and we were starting to get nervous about our train being able to use the same track. People were staring at the stopped train, trying to figure out what the problem was. With just a minute or two to spare, it sped off.
Here's our train, a Hikari.
Green cars were never full, and we tended to ride the shinkansen in the middle of the day when they were often nearly empty. Our shiny red luggage rode along with us in the empty seats across the aisle.
Lunch is served!
The Japanese countryside is really pretty, so the trip to Tokyo went by quickly. A few of the mountains still had snow on them.
We passed the Sanyo Solar Ark in Anpachi at 11:14 AM ...
... and at 11:38 AM, Debbie turned the page in the three-month-old Newsweek magazine she was reading and saw this photo of the very same Solar Ark. Spooooky.
It was quite a surprise to glance up just in time to see gorgeous Mt. Fuji fully visible. Having a clear view is a rare sight and we were giddy that we were able to see it. Especially the next day when we took a prebooked tour to visit Mt. Fuji and had lousy weather.
Seeing the Japanese character that looks like Jill's name spelled wrong is our clue that we're approaching Shinagawa, the last major station before Tokyo Station.
We're almost there.
We arrived at Tokyo Station and spent some time trying to find our way out of the maze of construction and underground malls. Once we made it to the street level, it was an easy 5-block walk to our hotel, the Yaesu Fujiya.
We had a great room on the top (17th) floor, with a ton of amenities (toothbrushes, razors, hair brush, sleep shirts), ...
... and an awesome electronic toilet, rating 10 on the Bundlings Restroom Scale.
We had to investigate the vending room, and found that the only thing available in the vending machines were four different brands of beer. Nice!
We could have used our Japan Rail Pass to navigate the trains to Tokyo Tower, with a 15-minute walk on either end, but we opted to take a cab instead. It cost $20 each way, but it was worth it to ride in air-conditioned, crocheted-seat-covered comfort.
Speaking of Tokyo Tower, here it is. It looks suspiciously like the Eiffel Tower, but it is a little bit taller.
Debbie wanted to buy one of these so badly, whatever they are, but forgot to do it later.
We rode the elevator to the Main Observatory with our lovely elevator attendant.
Let's look around at Tokyo.
Straight down is a temple and cemetery, and to the right in the distance, the Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba is visible.
In this direction, you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day.
Is it clear enough? No. Good thing we already saw it.
Once again, Japan is awesome when it comes to services for blind people. A Braille plaque describes Mt. Fuji.
Here's more of Tokyo. We never did find out what that asymmetrical pyramid down there was.
Those clever Tokyo Tower builders! It turns out that there is another level called the Special Observatory. It's much higher up and it costs more money to go. We'd made it this far; we couldn't turn back now.
Tom helped a family carry their stroller up the stairs to the elevator. He's nice that way.
Going up! We got a self-portrait in the ceiling on the way.
The Special Observatory is significantly smaller and is circular.
There's Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge in the distance again, but now there aren't so many obstructions in front of them.
Nope, we can't see Mt. Fuji from up here either.
We headed back down to the Main Observatory to check out the Lookdown Window. There are several of them scattered around, ...
... so we stood on the glass on the large one. We last saw one of these in New Zealand in 2006.
Next, we went to the base where there was a food court and a bunch of stores. A certain restaurant caught our eye in the food court.
One of Debbie's goals for the trip was to eat enough Filet-o-Ebi shrimp sandwiches to get sick of them. Her mission objective was not met, but two was plenty for the trip.
Tom succumbed to all of the advertising for the Big America Hawaii Burger.
Here it is, in all it's bacon-egg-cheese glory.
Debbie found a Hello Kitty shop and she had been so very good so far, but when presented with a display featuring washcloths for every possible birthday, it was game over: Hello Kitty: 1, Debbie: 0. She was too giddy to get a photo of the display, so here's a photo of the goods instead.
On our cab ride back, we spotted this awesome statue of Godzilla. You don't see those in the United States!
We passed the Sony building in Ginza, ...
... and pulled up to our hotel. Our room was the third or fourth window to the right from the corner on the top floor.
This prime location gave us this fantastic view of Tokyo and the start of the Ginza district to the left.
Same fantastic view, later at night.
Looking to the left, Ginza started one block south of us.

The Winter Olympics were still going on, so we continued to watch the Japan-intensive coverage.

Day 6 >


Japan 2010: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Osaka & Kobe] [Day 3 - Kyoto & Nara] [Day 4 - Hiroshima] [Day 5 - Tokyo Tower] [Day 6 - Mt. Fuji] [Day 7 - Tokyo] [Day 8 - Ginza]

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