Japan 2015: Day 8 – Tokyo One Piece Tower

My favourite manga is the epic pirate fantasy, One Piece, and it so happened that the One Piece “theme park” at Tokyo Tower opened on the Friday of my visit. Friend S was keen to check it out too so we hurried there after the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum.

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Entry tickets come with various One Piece characters printed on them. I didn’t get my favourite character. Darn. But I could have gotten one with characters I dislike so getting one with a character I’m ok with is fine. haha S got a ticket featuring all the characters of the main pirate crew (including the one on my ticket) – that was pretty cool.

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Japan 2015: Day 7

Didn’t do many photo-worthy things today. Travelled from Kyoto back to Tokyo via bullet train, checked in at the Ryumeikan again and went out for some shopping. I needed to look for a bag I could use as carry-on luggage as I’d bought so many things from Uniqlo (some for my sisters, some for myself) that I would have to take them as carry-ons in case the customs officers wanted to see the products when I presented my passport plus all the GST claims at the airport. I also wanted to go check out an art store in Shinjuku…

First, I hurried off to Ginza. Never been to that area before and was completely reliant on Google Maps.

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Look, another corgi in Ginza! And it was wearing sunglasses. lol. (There were actually two but I couldn’t get a picture of the other one.)

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Japan 2015: Day 6 – Uji

The main thing I did on Day 6 was… Go to Uji for a couple of hours. lol

jp15_6-01 Uji is about 20-30 minutes from Kyoto en route to Nara. Length of time depends on whether you take the local or rapid trains (both covered by the JR Pass). I think I took the local train. Anyway, Uji is known for green tea, and for being featured in the famous Tale of Genji. Clearly they’re proud of that fact, as the signboard at the station names it The Town of the Tale of Genji.

Here’s a map of where I went in Uji:

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(Click for a larger version)

  1. Byodoin Omotesando (street leading up to Byodoin)
  2. Byodoin
  3. Ujigami Shrine
  4. Tale of Genji Museum

Green indicates my walking path up until Byodoin. Dark pink is my path after Byodoin.

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Japan 2015: Day 3 (2) – Hanatouro

After a short stroll around Kawaramachi, I hopped on a bus and headed to Gojo-zaka to see the Hanatouro. The Hanatouro (which I only found out about in January this year) is a small festival where they line some of the Kyoto streets with lanterns.

I could have walked there (from Shijo-dori) but… it was too cold and I had the bus pass to use anyway. I hopped off the city bus at the appropriate stop and strolled up Gojo-zaka. It wasn’t lit up at the beginning of the road, which made me doubt my directions somewhat but it seemed to be correct. There were a few people walking up the same road ahead of me so I just trailed them until I saw little lanterns lining the street and then I was completely reassured.

jp15_3-17Kiyomizudera at the end of the road. (I think I overexposed the image but I had no tripod and my fingers were just about frozen from the cold so I consider this a decent picture.)

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Japan 2015: Day 2 – Kawazu

On day 2, I made the trip out to Kawazu in the Izu peninsula. Why Kawazu? See the train below. What’s on the side?

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Sakura! It wasn’t sakura season yet at the beginning of March (in fact, it is more or less now – towards the end of March) but Kawazu is known for having early-blooming cherry trees. I figured that it was unlikely that I would ever get to visit Japan at exactly the right time given how university semesters here like to begin at that exact time so why not go check out the sakura at Kawazu?

Made use of my JR Pass to book a seat on the Odoriko-go Super View train to Kawazu. All the sea-view seats were booked, but that was to be expected since I was getting the ticket at the last minute. (Supposedly I’d have to pay an extra fare at some point on the train because half the journey is not a JR line, but no one came to collect the extra fare from me… This had me a bit perplexed, frankly, and I remained slightly confused until I got off the train at Kawazu and left the station without anyone asking me to pay extra. Then I decided that oh well, guess they forgot?)

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Japan 2015: Day 1

I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning on 9 March and was greeting by 6-degree weather. Going from about 30°C to 6°C is rather a shock to the system. I like cool weather, but below 10 is a bit too cold.

I found myself feeling rather ill, partly because I hadn’t managed to sleep well on the plane. (I begin to wonder how I slept as well as I did on the flight the very first time I went to Japan…) My hotel room wasn’t ready when I got there (understandably) so I tried to nap in the hotel lobby for a while because I simply didn’t feel up to walking around in a half-asleep and unwell state. Eventually got myself up and out… and napped again on the 20-minute train ride to Shibuya. I think I actually slept better on the train because I felt a bit too self-conscious in the hotel lobby, whereas people sleeping on the train is utterly normal.

Walked around Shibuya for a bit – mainly went there to check out the Shibuya Hikarie, which is a mall known for having washrooms with different themes on each floor. Those toilets really are quite pretty, but I couldn’t really take pics because there were just so many people in the washrooms and queuing up to use them. It was Sunday, after all, and Shibuya was busy, busy, busy. You can see some pics here though.

I shopped a bit in Uniqlo then went back to the hotel, where my room was finally ready and I proceeded to sleep for several hours.

Woke up at nearly 8pm and eventually decided to go check out Tokyo’s lindy hop scene at a new monthly social called Noches Lindigos, run by one of Tokyo’s two main swing dance groups. Made a wrong choice in my trains and it ended up taking me 40+ minutes to get there (but only 20 minutes to get back! grrrr).

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