Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A "Tokyo Tour" with my girl!

Today I went on a "Tokyo Tour" with my daughter who is visiting for the Christmas-New Year Holidays.  She hasn't lived here for five years, and with us leaving Japan next year, we decided to catch a few sites that she hadn't seen before.  I'll share some of the photos, with a little text to go with them.

 We took off from our train station around 10:30 this morning. It was a windy day, with temps that got up to around 45F. It was a little cold, but we wore our layers, and managed.  By the time we got home it was closer to 30F...

Our first stop was to the trendy section of Tokyo called Harajuku. We walked through fairly quickly--there weren't that many things that caught either of our eyes, especially with the colder weather. So we headed from there to the Imperial Palace East Garden. She hadn't really been to the area except in middle school when her class had a Tokyo Tour which was a one-day whirlwind dash through the city. The Palace grounds are generally closed to the public, but there are a few gardens that are open. Once upon a time this was a working palace area, but the buildings were burned and rebuilt elsewhere.


These pictures were taken in the traditional Japanese garden.





I was pretty pleased with photos at this reflecting pool.


In the background is a traditional Japanese tea house. I don't know if or when it is ever open.

When we left the Palace Grounds we walked toward Tokyo Station.


The sign she is standing on says TOMARE (Stop), and she did... Isn't she fun?


When we got to the Tokyo station I introduced her to the Godiva Chocolate stand that Stan and I visited on my birthday. It tasted as good today as it did a few weeks ago!


Before our next adventure, I needed to stop and use the ladies' room.  Walking up I saw this electronic diagram. I have seen these in several newer restrooms. It is a guide to inform you of open stalls. Just thought I'd share the photo...

We went from Tokyo Station to see the Tokyo SkyTree. This communication tower was opened earlier this year. It is 630 meters tall--"the worlds tallest free standing broadcast tower."  Between 340 and 350 meters is a three-floor observation deck, and for an extra fee you can go up another 100 meters to a two-floor "Galleria."  For comparison purposes, the Eiffel Tower is 320 meters high and the Tokyo Tower is 330 meters. The main observation floor at the Tokyo Tower is at 150 meters. All that to say that this is pretty high up...
  


As with many things, they don't seem quite so big when you see them near.  Actually, we couldn't see it at all when we first stepped out of the train station, but as we came around the corner, there it was.  We got there around 4 p.m., hoping to see things with a little daylight left, go through sunset and then the night lights.  We hadn't quite expected the 70 minute wait in line to get our tickets. (My advice--get advanced tickets!). It felt a bit like a Disneyland wait, but gratefully we were inside for all of that.


We got up there just as the sun was setting over Mt. Fuji. Sadly, I didn't get a very good resolution photo, but if you look closely on the horizon on the right, you'll see the outline of Mt. Fuji.  The orange tower on the left is Tokyo Tower.


We had to get the self portraits to prove we were there!



Like most of these towers, this has the glass floor that you can walk on. I'm thinking that it would be rather disturbing to do in the daytime. I remember when we did this at the Tokyo Tower (remember, its less than half the distance we're standing at here...) it was unsettling.


We decided to stop for a curry supper at the Skytree Cafe. Not only were we hungry, and those crowds who were in line to come up were also in line to go down, but we also could see that the best views were from inside the cafe.  


I think this is lovely! 

We finally battled the crowds down, and worked our way back across Tokyo to home.  It was a bit colder on our way back--grateful that we didn't have to wait too long standing on train platforms, and Stan met us at our home station in the van to chauffeur us home. 

I loved being with my daughter, seeing  new sites, and playing tourist!

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