Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Asakusa / Sky Tree

After 4 days in my parent's hometown, we headed for Tokyo via the Shinkansen (bullet train). The Shinkansen is a little more expensive than the regular trains, but is super duper fast. We wanted to maximize our time, so off we went.

*travel tip : we shipped all our luggage from our hotel in Saitama to our hotel in Tokyo. 3 suitcases cost us a little over $30, but this allowed us to travel without carrying them throughout the train stations. We dropped them off around 8am, and they were at our hotel in Tokyo when we checked in. Best decision ever*



Freshly baked pastries and tomato soda for breakfast. Nothing unusual here.



We purchased a stamp book the day before at the Railway Museum. I don't know why, but the Japanese have a weird obsession with collecting stamps. Almost every train / bullet train / subway station has their own specific stamp and they hold regular stamp rallies across the nation. 



Proudly showing off their Shinkansen tickets and the Ueno train station stamp!


Our first stop of the day was the Kaminarimon (thunder gate).



Fresh rice cakes. Blee picked the one dipped in soy sauce and wrapped in seaweed.




At the end of the Nakamese (shops), is the Senso-ji Temple. Before entering the temple, visitors fan themselves with the smoke from the burning incense over their body. The smoke is said to have healing powers.


Washing his hands before entering.


I didn't take any photos in the temple. But I DID have Jimmy take one with me and the yummy black sesame monaka (wafer) ice-cream and one of my son with his mysterious pose.


 
 
See the finger sucking? After 5 days of traveling and fun, the kid was DONE.
 

After dealing with a major meltdown *screaming, kicking, crying*, we went on a short train/shuttle ride to the Tokyo Sky Tree. Sky Tree is the tallest tower in the world, and it's main purpose is to relay television and radio broadcast signals.

 
 
The line to purchase the ticket to go up the tower was over an hour long, so we decided to eat first. Doesn't make sense going up 2000 feet without food in your stomach, right?
 
 We decided on eating at the Moomin Café, which was located in the Sky Tree mall.
 
 As mentioned before, restaurants in Japan do a great job creating meals that go along with a concept. Since Blee has watched several Moomin episodes, he was beyond excited to see the characters portrayed our food.
 

 






After our meal, we braved the ridiculously long line and went up the Sky Tree.




Looking down through the glass. Yikes!


I'm not sure when Blee fell asleep...I think it was when we were crammed in the gift shop with a thousand other tourists. Whenever it was, we were very thankful for his first of many naps in the stroller.

Well, when the cat is gone (err...asleep), the mice will play! Jimmy and I found a beer museum in the Sky Tower mall and we were able to take a nice, quiet break.


The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the area around Sky Tree. Blee had some money to spare, so he took a LONG time deciding what to spend it on. Decisions, decisions!


We ended the night at Mister Donut.


Whew! What a fun, long day!

Up next...Tsukiji Fish Market and our first baseball game!

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