We have been back from Tokyo for a little while now and wrapping up these posts. So just a few left. Then on to our next adventure.
David and I always try and sneak away from the kids for an evening – we try to do it once a week, but it does not always work, but we steal away time even if just a walk down the street to a mini eatry – the giblet hotpot for some yummy meats on a stick. We tried the chicken skin, chicken wings, asked for a surprise (yep could have been anything, guessing it was heart) and some pork belly. All was delicious.
We thought we were at Tokyo Tower, but were recently corrected this is Tokyo Sky Tree at Sumida district an Eiffel Tower inspired lattice communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It is huge, actually 332.9 meters and is the second-tallest structure in Japan. When we visited Tokyo Tower, we had no idea what to expect, but it is like a HUGE mega mall. So pictures of what we were up to at Tokyo Tower! We walked in and first saw a huge food market, with so many choices, of everything, then later a food court, and then shops, so many many many shops. We were there for over 3 hours and had to start walking faster, just to get to the stores we really wanted to see – Pokemon’s second store, and some clothing stores the girls wanted to look at.
We tried to visit the Imperial Garden on Wednesday, but it was closed, so back again on Thursday. I wanted to see the Imperial Palace, but it was not there, it was just the Gardens. The Imperial East Gardens are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense. None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist, which was really enough – it was peaceful, in the middle of the city, large enough to have plenty of time for us to be alone while walking thru most of the garden. Check out this map.
I could not help but to feel I was walking where royalty walked, touching the same trees, stone walls and enjoying the same incredible peaceful walk through these amazing gardens.
The kids wanted a quick Wendy’s Hamburger while in Tokyo, Japan. David and I figured we could eat a Wendy’s Hamburger right around the corner from our house just like the ones here. Nope, there is a difference… Check out this Tokyo Wendy’s.
Garion more than anything else wanted to buy as many Gundams he could while in Tokyo. He wanted to buy a super large one, but it would not fit in our suitcase – he did purchase five normal sized model kits. So we decided to surprize him with a Gundam Cafe Visit. Gundam’s are a Japanese science fiction media animation series that features giant robots (mecha).
Tip: Check out web sites before heading over to a special tourist cafe, as sometimes you HAVE to have a reservation, or they open at weird times.
Our family left the Confucious Temple and walked toward our goal of Nakamise Shopping street and Sensoji Temple. We heard this was a great tourist location, and we are tourists and want to shop.
Lets go In!
Sometimes I stand in awe – thinking how lucky I am. During this trip it is probably my 100th time of just thinking how Blessed and lucky I am to be here with my family. Even when looking at these crazy demons in a temple. Inside the temple it is even more interesting things. I buy a health charm for my mom and say a quick prayer of safety and health for everyone in my family and the world and we walk around the grounds next. We see a Prayer/Fortune area, will check that out in the next post.
We stumbled across the Shrine of Confucius while walking around Tokyo, toward Nakamise Shopping Street and Sensoji Temple. Confucius Temple is hidden away behind a gate and greenery. We walked in and looked around the peaceful garden grounds. Were sharing a few pictures of our time and the treasures we saw while there. We were told, this is one of the few non replica temples in all of Japan. Now, we are a Christian family, and all Strong believers, so we enjoy learning about all other religions without worry of waiver in our faith. So check out what we enjoyed. Nakamise Shopping Street We stumbled across the Shrine of Confucius while walking around Tokyo, toward . Hidden away you can walk into the gated temple and walk around the peaceful garden grounds. Were sharing a few pictures of our time and the treasures we saw while there. We were told, this is one of the few non replica temples in all of Japan. Now, we are a Christian family, and all Strong believers, so we enjoy learning about all other religions without worry of waiver in our faith. So check out what we enjoyed.
It is a $4.00 donation to see inside the temple, so David and I go in, but the kids wait outside in the rain. Inside we learn about a water drinking well that captures rain water to drink later.
There is a lot of very interesting artifacts inside. It feels dark, peaceful, ominous and fascinating. We stay for about 25 minutes, just looking around and imaging what each of these items history. I have a huge imagination, so there is a lot of Indiana Jones and zen ninja fights going on in my mind while walking thru this temple.
We end our tour and collect the kids and walk on to the next adventure.
While inside the SEGA Building in Akihabara Japan, after checking out the Crane Games and Virtual Reality and playing until we were almost out of money for the day, we saw this….. The Masked Dancer is what he calls himself. Look! HE IS DOING THIS BACKWARD!!! with a Mask on – he has memorized this Dance without even looking at it.
At this point he has spent more than the item would cost…. but so close – so by the end of the trip he could have bought two. I love how animated he is after this.
Sabrina wanted this puppy and lost, but her sister won it on the next try. Lucky, not many winners around.
Our family loves to go to our local Utica, MI Dave and Busters to play Mario Cart. I typically loose, David and Sabrina are up at the top, Katrina second, Garion third. But lets check out our game in Toyko, Japan.
Get Ready to Battle Drive!
The Winner of this Round – David! So for the finally, we went up to the top and the boys played Virtual Reality shooting and horse riding bow and arrow competitions, it was funny to see how they walked around with their headsets on – and when they were done, they said it was so real, they could not get their minds to believe it was not. They were shaking after the first round.
The one thing David really wanted to see in Tokyo was a Samurai show or a Samurai Museum. We tracked it down on Trip Advisor, it is in the same area as the Robot Café. We did want to see the Robot Café it was on our list but changed our mind after reading the Trip Advisor reviews and realizing how much it cost – $64.00 after a 60% discount coupon that you have to wait 24hours to collect. We opted out. We walked over to the Samurai Museum and it was a short 15min wait until the next tour and show, so for $16.94 we bought a ticket on Trip Advisor, it was $19.00 at the site, and waited while shopping the gift shop.
Honestly, this was a wonderful tour, we learned ALOT, and it was interesting all the way thru – even to my ADHD kids, and we even got to watch a samurai & ninja show and then ask questions at the end. I really enjoyed this and I did not think I was going to.
On the Way to the Pokémon Café, we see a Hedge Hog and Cat Café. The Café is on top of a puppy store – yes they sell Puppies there – really tiny teacup puppies, that are on display in a fish tank style shop, these puppies are honestly the cutest I have ever seen, but they are $$$ in price, starting at $1000.00 was the cheapest I saw. But I cannot take pictures, because it is posted everywhere not too. But this post is about Hedge Hogs – Because we decided we had to go and we pay for 10mins at 350yen or $3.50.
Tip: In pet café, the clock starts when you are at the bottom of the stairs, it seems they all were upstairs – all that we saw, and they don’t give you a clock you have to keep track yourself.
We jog up the stairs, we are seeing hedge hogs, the kids went to see cats – I don’t know why – we have two cats at home, but its their money, I am going to pet a hedge hog! I open the door and there they are – Two Hedge hogs sitting in there little habitats. I’m headed to pet one.
I pet one, but realize I should wear a glove. He is spiky and does not like to be petted.
Hedge Hogs are Fiesty!
Hedge Hog Paradise
We saw two, but you can put them in any habitat they have, I was not going to move him, but enjoyed this for sure for the price!
Popcorn At Disney is Unique. Check out this Popcorn Bucket for 2300yen, or $23.00. So you get the bucket and popcorn, plus refills are cheaper. These buckets come in many different shapes – Steam Boat Willy above and Toy Story Wagon below. We also saw popcorn buckets in the shap of Cinderella’s Carriage, Duffy the Bear (who is HUGE in Tokyo Disney – bigger in popularity than Mickey), and BB-8 from star wars.
The popcorn flavors here in Disney are Unique. We tried chocolate Milk and Honey. There was also Garlic Shrimp, Curry, Strawberry and of course Butter.
In Addition to the Unique Flavors and Buckets for Popcorn, there was also a twin theme, which apparently is always going on from what I heard from others I spoke with, not just during our visit. Check out some of the pictures of people dressing as twins. There was seriously 100s of people wearing twin clothes, it is hard to not notice this.
Next Post a few more pictures of Disney, then Samurai Museum.
This is what I have been waiting for the Entire Trip, the one thing I REALLY wanted to do in Tokyo – Go to Tokyo Disney. I actually want to go to every Disney Park in the world, so all that is left is the waterparks in Florida and Shanghai and China Disney parks. I researched that today is a great day to go as the Tokyo Disney crowd calendar says it is moderate, which is the lowest crowds at the park the entire time we will be there – Never go during high, because it turns out it was still pretty darn busy there.
TIP: Use a Disney Crowd Calendar – just do a quick web search on this and it is easy to figure from there.
We take a train about 45mins from our Airbnb to the entrance to Disney Tokyo, and wanted to visit both Disney Sea and the Disneyland Parks, there are two Parks. But you cannot swap between – no Park Hopper options. No using the tickets we have from the Florida park you have to buy new ones. A one day price one park (we decided on The Seas based upon previous online research) is 7400 yen or $74.00, in comparison todays price for Disney World is $109.00 for one park one day.
The best price deals though were inside. Food and snacks in comparison to Disney World are extremely well priced you can buy an ice cream large for $3.00, this frozen treat is made of a frozen jello on the bottom, shaved ice in the middle and rice crisps sprinkled on top with a creamier than you get in the US style frozen custard on top – it was 550yen or $5.50, Bargain in Disney!
You can buy a quality tasty chicken curry bun sandwich for $5.00, and it is cute! More on food in a future post.
Check out my two bearded guys faces on the screen – nothing just pan face nothing, lol!
We wanted to go to Tokyo Disney the first day, but it was Raining pretty hard, and by the time we got our luggage we realized we only had a half day, so we decided to check out the area after the mall visit and here are a few pictures from the first afternoon.
We had Shabu Shabu, Pork Loin. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water and served with dipping sauces. Apparently we were eating it so wrong, we were drinking the dipping sauce like a soup and dipping the vegetables one at a time and eating them. Some one from the next table came over to explain how to eat it correctly. You take the vegetables and put in the boiling pot for 5mins, then add the meat strip in the boiling vegetable water for 1min, pull it out, dip it in the sauce and eat it, eat the vegetables in between. Honestly this was a delicious meal and we LOVED it, wish I could have eaten this everyday.
Delicious, so Good
TIP: In Japan, people will stop and help you if you look confused or lost, this is a wonderful benefit for a tourist.
This is our street where our AIRBNB was, it was filled with little stores for shopping, pets, a mini grocery store, 7-11, wine store, and about 10 restaurants. We checked out everything we could.
We played a little Pachinko – a Japanese form of pin ball, but combined with a Video Game.
Tip: You really have to use the subway and train in the Tokyo, so figure it out prior to getting there and the rest you can solve when your there as it is easier than you might fear.
Tip: The PASMO Card and whatever you put on it can be refunded, just ask when you return to the airport prior to leaving the train station and get all your money back.
So, now we have to figure out how to get to our AIRBNB
So when we were on our honeymoon we figured out you can go ANYWHERE with Google maps, as long as you have internet and we picked up our router, so we were good. We have the address we just follow Google Maps, and it looks something like this – EASY.
A Twelve and a Half hour flight, over Russia to Tokyo. Low priced and tight seats, argh, but we are here. It takes about 1 hour to get off this flight and thru security, collect our luggage, pick up our phone router, so we can have internet and leave our phones on airplane mode, then figure out how to get to the train. Were off!
Oh no, we have about 4 hours to check into our Airbnb, but not enough time to visit Disney Tokyo like I thought we might, and we have all this luggage and so we decide to check in our luggage at the airport holding area – it cost 1000Yen, or $10 to store three pieces for 4 hours and we hit the local mall.
While we figure out what is going on, a local TV Station interviews us on why would you vacation in Japan! Super cute – I hope to find that one day. We buy a bus ticket to the local mall – and check out this plastic food that helps us figure out what to eat.
So we choose a place to eat- the girls want Italian – yep first meal is Italian in Tokyo!
The pictures and some English on many menus, make things easier. A Set is a complete meal, so you order just the food, or if you want a set, that would include a drink and some kind of side. Prices are reasonable, the girls ate a Pizza Margarita at the Italian Mall with a Salad and Soda, they shared and the entire price was 1150yen, or $11.50 – very reasonable, and different than what we were told prices would be – we were told to expect this meal to cost about $25.00 – Glad it was cheaper!
Grocery Store Fish Market in the Mall. So many choices I am overwhelmed
Our family trip to Paris, France – Tokyo, Japan – Amsterdam,
The Airbnb’s are booked.
In Paris we will stay at:
In Tokyo we will stay at:
Let us compare afterward – what we booked and what we
got. So this is the before, same post
after the trip with the details of each location.
We have the exchanged moneys, we used a credit union, which
had no fees according to my husband and his mother – Wings Credit Union. Next time we exchange I will for sure ask a
lot of questions on this no fee, same exchange to assure this is true, as I
want to report back to each of you. It
seems too good to be true, as the airport charges the best fees I have found,
and my current bank has large fees associated with foreign money
Tip: Check with a Credit Union or a friend who
could exchange $ for you at a credit union for great foreign money exchange
We have the credit cards – we are bringing two, one each
with no foreign exchange fees (this could cost you upwards of 10% per
transactions, so very important to have this in place).
Tip: ALWAYS bring two credit cards when traveling – as I will read about in a future post, if one is compromised you will have a back-up.
We have our luggage picked out, our three largest suitcases, with another in each (for bringing home gifts). We are traveling with three of our five children and sometimes we question why we would ever do that, but I already know the answer, I love them unconditionally and cannot wait for this Epic Family Adventure.