Again, jet lag forced me awake early, this time at 5:00 a.m. Fortunately, I was really tired last night so I went to bed early, meaning I still got enough hours of sleep. Katherine and Jr were up early, too, so that worked out well for all of us.
Today, we started exploring Tokyo proper. We started in Shinjuku, then cut across the city to Ginza, and then went south to the artificial island, Odaiba.
Again, we started off the day with coffee. Breakfast was at a restaurant near our hostel called Matsuya, where you pay and make a selection on a vending machine type of thing. It gives you a little ticket, which you give to one of the servers, who soon get you what you ordered. Jr has really taken a liking to this restaurant.
After, we hopped on a train to get to Shinjuku Station. It’s a major hub so it is appropriately massive, confusing, and packed with people rushing about. We still survived, though, and made our way to the Shinjuku neighbourhood.
We stopped by a huge electronics department store and a cafe to re-caffeinate ourselves and reorient ourselves to the area. Since we were close by, we visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, one of which features an observation deck on the 45th floor. It offers some amazing views of the city and under ideal weather conditions, a view of Mt. Fuji. It does mean, however, that you have to endure an extremely crowded elevator ride up to the observation deck. Katherine might not agree with me, but I thought it was worth it.
There were a few clouds where Mt Fuji was supposed to be but I thought I could see something in the shape of its iconic peak somewhere in there. It was hard to tell, though. I like to think that I saw it…
We wandered around Shinjuku a bit more and found the Golden Gai district. Since it was mostly bars and other such establishments, it was pretty dead. I believe it livens up significantly at nighttime.
We then moved on and cut across central Tokyo to Ginza, the upscale shopping district. And it’s definitely upscale. We spotted Gucci, Burberry, Coach, Georgio Armani, and a number of other famous brand names. There were also a lot of nice restaurants and cute cafés.
Since we weren’t really doing any shopping, we had a bite to eat and then took the Yurikamome Line to Odaiba. The Yurikamome offers a really scenic ride to the man-made island, going by and over the Rainbow Bridge.
I’ll admit, while planning this trip, I almost did not include Odaiba in it, but now I’m so glad I included it. There is plenty to see, including stores, the iconic Fuji TV Headquarters, a giant Gundam statue, a Ferris wheel (we chickened out too much to ride it), and spectacular views of the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline. Even better, after dark, everything is lit up. It makes for a very pretty, colourful experience.
By this point, it was getting cold and we were getting a bit tired. Added to that, our hostel is on the other side of the city. So, we did some more train-hopping and returned to Asakusa, where I stopped by the 7-Eleven store to pick up dinner and snacks. I’ll say it right now: 7-Eleven stores in Japan are amazing. I am in love.