2009 - 2010

Day 9


I still have Disney tunes stuck in my head!!
After all that Disney we all needed to have some rest so today we had a bit of a sleep in and I almost missed breakfast.

Last night we were researching how to tackle Hakone (a town near Mt. Fuji). While I was doing this, Rob kindly did some washing for us both with the washing machines in the hotel. After the washing was done, he hung them all up all over the bathroom to fry over night. It looked so funny, the cleaners would have got a laugh :)

As for Hakone, we could either try to just get there ourselves and see what we can or pay more and get a structured tour, bullet train and English speaking tour guide.
After speaking to the helpful staff at our hotel, I was almost convinced we could just get a Hakone “Free Pass” and do it ourselves, but this would mean we miss out on the bullet train. If we wanted to catch a bullet train home, the staff here made me realise it would be much easier (and probably cheaper) to go with a tour group. Tomorrow I think I will book us all in for a guided 1-day tour of Hakone.

After all the Hakone organising and discussing how to spend our remaining time in Tokyo, we decided to see Shinjuku today.
First stop was a free observation deck (that is actually taller than Tokyo Tower)

After we spent a fair amount of time taking in the sites, we ventured out to check out as much as we could. Only thing was, we had no idea where to start! In the same building as the observation deck, there was a tourist information center where we spoke to a very helpful, English speaking assistant.
Sarma found a brochure with an anime museum, so that sounded like a must do for him and Anthony. With the help of the tourist assistant we planned to go get lunch, then to see a Japanese garden, then to the anime museum, then back to Shinjuku to see all the shopping and restaurants.

On the way to the main station to get some lunch we saw a robotic car park! Although we couldn’t see much inside, the cars are driven onto a little rotating platform, and then into what looks like an elevator for cars! I had seen this on the internet, the cards are basically stacked up with the elevator so the car park saves space by not having to have a road that winds up and down the levels.

We got lunch at a fast food chain which was not bad and then left for the gardens, which closed at 4pm. We got there with about 30 minutes to spare which went fast! To get into the park there was a 200 yen fee. You pay the machine and it gives you a ticket to get through the gates.
The ticket was really cool, but the gate didn’t give it back so I couldn’t get a photo of it. It had a number (or a price or something) written in a clear window, but you couldn’t see it until you shook the ticcket around and some small magnetic fillings stuck to it. It was very strange, but looked cool :)

After this, we had to get to the anime museum by 5:30 and they closed at 6 so Sarma took the lead and we headed for the station. After eventually working our way through the huge Shinjuku station we got off the train but realised the map we were going by to get there was not perfectly scaled.
We asked a nearby 7-11 for help, and she told us that it is quite far away! After walking for a long time, we eventually got there and Sarma was in his element!

They had videos, interactive stands, figurines, posters and memorabilia, a theatre, library and computers to watch the shows and play the games. They even had tracing light boxes so we could draw the cartoons too.

After they kicked us out to close shop, everyone was tired and the vote to go home was pretty strong. Rob was wrecked all day, so after all the trains we needed to get back to station near our hotel, he went back to get some rest while the rest of us got some dinner at the station.

We went for Japanese cuisine and it was very nice. I had a cashew chicken dish with rice and pork dumplings and got to try a Japanese beer (which wasn’t that great, lol).