John Harvey Photo

TokyoGo to Slide Show

Our first few days in Japan

Peeing in the Subway
The flight over was uneventful - JAL did a good job.  After arriving at Nariata airport, clearing customs and taking the train into Tokyo we took a local train to Shiba, a diplomatic neighborhood south west of Tokyo Station.  On the local train over we saw this curious poster - it's an advertisement for "life partner" a drink.  We knew we were in Japan!

Tokyo TowerWe had no trouble finding the hotel.  Trying to get used to local time (8 hours out from Vancouver) we went out for dinner and a walk.  The Tokyo tower is a few blocks behind the hotel so we walked up to see it at night.

Alley Way

Zojo-ji - Shiba, Tokyo This temple is about a two blocks away from our hotel.  Terribly jet lagged, we woke up at 5 in the morning and walked around to try and gain our bearings.  The temple was pretty much empty (except for a very curious jogger) so we didn't see what the temple was actually used for.

Temple at the end of the RoadTemple Bell

Temple SideRow of Statues (Jizo)Little Statues (Jizo)

Shinjuku Shinjuku is a very busy part of Tokyo.  On the West side of the station is one of the business centers of Tokyo.  You are swarmed by thousands of dark suited men rushing toward their jobs.  The building are tall and the architecture is grand to match.  We visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building and from it's observation deck got a true sense of just how huge Tokyo is.

Tokyo Metropolitan BuildingTall buildings in TokyoView into City

The brochure makes a big deal about how tall the various buildings are - the Metropolitan building building is 243 meters tall - the tallest in the Shinjuku region.  Considering it's an earthquake zone, it's impressive.  Consider the tallest residential building in Vancouver is just a few stories shorter, well, lets keep moving.

Out next stop was the NTT Intercommunication Center.  This Museum is one of the coolest museums I've ever been too.  It's temporary instillation showed traditional objects like a music box or keyboard and using a reflection from a computer monitor, allowed you to interact with with it virtually.  The other highlight was a Carl Sims instillation of Galapagos- Carl is one of my heroes.


After seeing the big buildings, we went to the east side of Shinjuku.  The East side is a trendy, shopping friendly, red light kind of place.  Most of the buildings are multi story shops where you take a small elevator to the nth floor and go into a few person bar.  Cool to see, very expensive to drink at.
Huge Sign

The Tokyo Hostel

Our first night's hotel bill was 25000 yen - almost the cost of a week rail pass.  We checked into the Tokyo Hostel for the following days.  The hostel was nice (clean) and had both Japanese and Western amenities.  It was close to a train station and was in a somewhat residential neighborhood.  I feel sorry for our room mates (8 people per room) - we woke up at 5am (jet lag) and were gone by 7am (just after breakfast).

Vending MachineShort Skirt, Long Socks

The Emperors Castle

It's impressive - what more can you say.  The Castle has a massive moat and even larger stone walls.  We were able to visit the garden area inside which must be amazing later in the spring.

Fujimi-yaguraNijubashi Bridge at the Imperial PalaceNijubashi Bridge

Close to the Emperors castle is Ginza, a very nice shopping area.  We stopped in at the Sony Store - a 7 story mecca for the technically inclined.  Sean stopped to check out the MD players - a technology on that never really hit North America.

Sony Building - Selecting MD's

Odaiba Odaiba is a large island in Tokyo harbour that wasn't there 100 years ago - it's part reclaimed land, part land fill.  Odaiba is very new and seems very western.  First we walked though a new mall (very western scale) that was very similar to Ceasers Palace in Las Vegas.

Mall Like Ceasers Palace

After the Mall we checked out that auto show.   Toyota has a large building that shows most of their cars (and a lot of Japanese models we don't have in north America), a section on their race cars, and some of their industrial vehicles.  You could buy most of the vehicles there (including the $200,000 dollar bus) but we didn't see any of the sales people.  They had a short test track where you could test drive vehicles - pretty cool.

Fancy CarCar Changer

Odaiba also has a huge ferris wheel.  We took a trip around.  There seemed to be many fairly young couples there taking the trip but we didn't see what they were up to in those private cars.

Wheel CloseupGiant Wheel - OdaibaShell Oil's building in Odaiba

We went to a restaurant named Decks for dinner.  The restaurant has an amazing view of the harbour and food is pretty good too!  There were a few tour groups at the restaurant including one made up of senior citizens.  I hope when I get old, I'll be brave enough to continue traveling.

Tokyo Harbour

We started walking back and noticed the giant wheel is all lit up to attract tourists.  A few pic's and we were off by train.

Giant Wheel - OdaibaGiant Wheel - Odaiba

We returned to the hostel and tried to get sleep - our next day we traveled to Nikko.

Car Changer
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Giant Wheel - Odaiba
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Alley Way
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Mall Like Ceasers Palace
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Giant Wheel - Odaiba
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Tokyo Tower
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Tall buildings in Tokyo
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Little Statues (Jizo)
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Row of Statues (Jizo)
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Wheel Closeup
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Temple Bell
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Fancy Car
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Vending Machine
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Short Skirt, Long Socks
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Tokyo Harbour
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Nijubashi Bridge
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Sony Building - Selecting MD's
Person: Sean
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Nijubashi Bridge at the Imperial Palace
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Temple Side
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Huge Sign
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View into City
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Peeing in the Subway
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Giant Wheel - Odaiba
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Tokyo Metropolitan Building
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Shell Oil's building in Odaiba
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Temple at the end of the Road
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Tags: Japan(21), Tokyo(6), city(5), night(3), temple(3), bridge(3)
People: Sean(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Trip to Japan > Tokyo

wow that a very cool adventure a great experience
veNcenT bOtOna
Sunday, December 13th, 2009 at 21:45:42

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