Tokyo Journals

So, What Else is in Tokyo Besides Disneyland?

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A June 2003 trip to Tokyo by AgedToPerfection

Snoopy Town Photo, Tokyo, Japan More Photos
Quote: I admit the original reason we visited Tokyo was to explore the Tokyo Disney Resort. Here are reasons why we broke from our original plan.

So, What Else is in Tokyo Besides Disneyland?

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Overview

Toto, We're Not In Kansas Anymore Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Originally, we decided to visit Tokyo for the sole purpose of experiencing Tokyo Disney Sea. Guiltily, we decided that spending an entire week at a theme park, no matter how beautiful, would be a waste of a good opportunity to explore one of the most exciting cities in the world. So, with no expectations or preconceived notions, we set off to find out what Tokyo was really made of. Here’s what we found.The people of Tokyo are quite friendly and helpful. The word we used to describe most of the people we met was gracious. Most people understand a little bit of English and are usually willing to help. We only encountered two disagreeable folks during our 10 day trip.In Tokyo, not many tr...Read More

Beard Papa's

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Restaurant | "Beard Papa"

Quote:
Oh my goodness! I completely forgot to let our good friend and traveling companion know that Beard Papa Cream Puffs are currently available here in Los Angeles. When he found out from another source, he called excitedly to let me know that we could obtain these delicious treats right here in our back yard. Sheepishly, I told him that I already knew and that we had some at work a few weeks ago. He was livid.And rightfully so. How would you feel if your friend forgot to tell you that one of the most delectable morsels you have ever tasted was no longer separated from you by miles and miles of ocean? Our first encounter with Beard Papa occurred simply on the sidewalks of Shibuya. We left the trai...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Beard Papa's
Shibuya Station South Exit, Shibuya, Tokyo
Tokyo

Daikokuya Tempura

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Restaurant | "Daikoku-ya Tempura"

Quote:
Tucked away down an alley in Asakusa lies Daikoku-ya Tempura, a famous tempura house which attracts several visitors. We arrived at approximately 11:45am after we visited the Senso-ji shrine.Strangely enough, we did not see a menu with prices displayed in the restaurant’s entrance. In retrospect, I should have considered that a warning of sorts. Ignoring the anomaly, we strode inside and sat at a table. The menu, also devoid of prices, featured some pictures and a description in English. I ordered shrimp tempura, which arrived atop a bowl of rice.The tempura, soaked in teriyaki sauce, could indeed appeal to a large appetite. The shrimp measured approximately six inches long. However, t...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Daikokuya Tempura
1-38-10 Asakusa
Aachen, Germany
03-3844-1111

Hamarikyu Gardens Nakashima Tea House

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Restaurant | "Hama Rikyu Gardens Nakashima Tea House"

Hamarikyu Gardens Nakashima Tea House Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Summer heat in Tokyo can strip one of energy in no time. So when we stumbled upon the Nakashima tea house in the Hama Rikyu Gardens, we needed a rest and ventured into partake of a traditional Japanese tea. We walked under a wooden archway and through a gravel courtyard where we reached the sliding doors of the facility. We obediently removed our shoes and strode in. Because we arrived early, we had the entire tea house to ourselves, along with the undivided attention of our two hostesses. The first, a girl perhaps in high school, led us through the wooden one-storey building to tatami mats by a wall of windows overlooking the garden lake. Our second hostess, an older woman, brought us...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Hamarikyu Gardens Nakashima Tea House
1-1 Hama-rikyu-teien, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo

Sushi Zanmai

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Restaurant

Sushi Zanmai Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
After attempting to get up at 5am to arrive at the Tsukiji Fish Market by 6am (at which we had failed miserably), and after exploring the multiple stalls and sights of the market, my stomach began to grumble, especially since we had stepped into the world’s greatest place for sushi.We had no idea where we were and whether the restaurant we chose was any good. Such is the life of an adventurous tourist. We happened to stumble upon a small but clean sushi restaurant by the name of Sushi Zanmai. It wasn’t until we returned home that we found out that Sushi Zanmai is one of the most popular restaurants in Tsukiji. Normally crowded, at 8am, the restaurant was pleasantly quiet with only one other di...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Sushi Zanmai
4-11-9 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan
03-3541-1117

Tsukiji Fish Market

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Attraction

Tsukiji Fish Market Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
“We have to get up at what hour?” In order to witness the truly marvelous and grotesque, one must arrive at the Tsukiji Fish Market by 6am to see eels writhing on the floor and vendors haggling over huge tuna. Still, we didn’t make it out to Tsukiji until about 7:30am or so. By that time, much of the action had passed but we still managed to gawk at a few spectacles.We meandered around the open air market and peered in the various stalls selling seafood, both familiar and unfamiliar parts. One vendor had bags of cuttlefish (a savory snack for those of us who enjoy the chewy treat), another sold sashimi, raw fish meat. But the most interesting vendor did not pay any attention to us as he carved...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Station Stop (subway)
Tokyo, Japan

Akihabara

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Attraction

Quote:
“Please, please, please can we go to the electronics district?” My husband begged. I had no idea what he wanted to purchase and bring home but I love exploring so we hopped on the Yamanote train and disembarked at Akihabara station.As we exited the station, we randomly picked a direction and headed down the streets. I attempted to ask for directions but the first woman I saw, who sprayed perfume samples on passers-by, gave me a dirty look when I asked her in Japanese if she understood English. No worries, we plodded on.As we rounded a corner, we stopped suddenly and gasped. Rows and rows of shops met our gaze as we took in the sight of cell phones as far as our eyes could see. To say t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Akihabara
Soto-kanda 1,3 & 4-chome Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan 101-0021
+81 (0)3 3201 3331 (

Asakusa Shopping

Attraction

Asakusa Shopping Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Unless you can read or speak Japanese, you will find it difficult to browse the streets of Asakusa in a respectable amount of time. This plagued our trip after we left the Senso-ji temple. Not knowing which way to go, armed with a guidebook over 10 years old, made life difficult for us to casually window shop. The added time crunch of trying to meet a bullet train boarding time dampened our treasure hunting expedition.But all was not lost. After meandering around the streets, we found Yonoya Kushiho, a comb shop (phone +81 (3) 3844-1755). The small store showcased beautiful wood combs and other accessories. Our friend found a wooden hair comb for his fiancée, which thoroughly impressed her...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Asakusa Shopping
Asakusa District, Taito
Tokyo, Japan

Hama Rikyu Garden

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Attraction

Hama Rikyu Garden Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
After an eventful morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market, we scouted out places to visit within walking distance. The Hama Rikyu Gardens nearby was the dock where we could catch a ferry to Asakusa. We had some time to kill before the ferry departed so we decided to explore the gardens as an afterthought. For ¥300 per person, we purchased tickets and entered the complex.I am ever glad we did. The Hama Rikyu Gardens serves as a respite from the crowds, the noise and the frenetic pace of Tokyo life. It might have been because we visited at around 9am in the middle of the week but the gardens had very few visitors that morning, a benefit to us. While we did not find a traditional old Japanese nei...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Hama Rikyu Garden
1-1 Hama Rikyu Teien
Tokyo, Japan 104-0045
+81 (0) 3 3541 0200

Imperial Palace

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Attraction

The Elevator In The Middle of Nowhere Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
In Tokyo, be prepared to walk. Nowhere in all of my life have I had to walk this much, and I grew up in Hong Kong of all places. In Hong Kong, you can plant your rear down someplace to take the weight off but not in Tokyo. My butt belonged in a seat and on nothing else. Sitting on ledges or other non-seat areas can be considered rude.Note that there are any locations to sit while walking toward the Imperial Palace. What is a trip to Tokyo without a trip to the Imperial Palace? What most people do not realize is that the palace is obscured from view with the one exception of by the moat and bridge where we caught a glimpse of a corner of the palace. Most visitors enjoy the Imperial Gardens, whi...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Imperial Palace
Kokyo Gaien
Tokyo, Japan 100-0002
+81 (3) 3213 1111

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)

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Attraction | "Meiji Jingu Shrine"

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
As an Asian History student, it would have been shameful for me to have visited Tokyo and ignored the Meiji Shrine, or Meiji Jingu. We had decided to meet our friend at the shrine as he would be returning from a trip to a traditional Japanese inn. As we exited the Harajuku train station, I found myself staring across the street at none other than SNOOPYTOWN, the mecca of my Snoopy quest. Faced with an agonizing decision (do I meet our friend or do I fulfill my dream of buying every Snoopy item ever made that I cannot get at home?), I reluctantly steered myself toward the Meiji Jingu. Duty before personal satisfaction.As we walked what seemed like a mile to the center of the Meiji Shrin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)
1-1 Kamizono-cho Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan 151-0053
+81 (0)3 3379 5511

Snoopy Town

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Attraction

Snoopy Town Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
I have been to Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America. I have been to Camp Snoopy in Knott’s Berry Farm. But Snoopytown in Harajuku holds a special place in my heart because… you can’t get this stuff in America!We started with baby clothes, bibs, and children’s items. We do not yet have children but are expecting. Am I ever glad that I snatched up the most adorable Snoopy and Woodstock bibs because they are not available here at home.Then we moved onto Snoopy stationery. Paper products sell like hotcakes in Japan. The compact nature of paper products works well in a society where space is at a premium. For me, paper products packed nicely in my suitcase. The housewares section...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Snoopy Town
1-14-27 Jingumae
Tokyo, Japan 150-0001
+81 (0)3 5770 5111

Sumidagawa River Trip to Asakusa

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Attraction

Sumidagawa River Trip to Asakusa Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
In planning our tour of Tokyo, I tried to find ways to explore that you could not do every day. Since we could only use public transportation without the use of a rental car, I opted to look for creative ways to get around town. Our friends who had spent a year in Tokyo, building Tokyo Disney Sea, suggested that we visit Asakusa, taking the boat which traversed the Sumidagawa River to the shrine. Asakusa houses the largest Buddhist shrine in metropolitan Tokyo.As we boarded the boat from the Hama Rikyu Gardens, we paid approximately US$7 per person for the 40-minute ride to Asakusa. We found seats at the back of the boat which offered an open-air view of the river and surrounding skysc...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Sumidagawa River Trip to Asakusa
Starting from Hamarikyu-Teien Garden
Tokyo, Japan

Loft

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Attraction | "The Loft"

Loft Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Remind me, the next time I travel to Tokyo, I must bring an extra suitcase for the countless treasures that I will find while shopping. My good friend, Stephanie, suggested that I look for a contemporary department store called The Loft. To best describe this store, think of a place if Ikea crashed with Crate & Barrel. The Loft occupies seven floors where one can purchase anything from postcards to furniture. However, The Loft offers a unique take on merchandise which appeals to the younger, hip crowd. Slick stationery goods like a pair of pocket scissors which can fit into a credit card slot in your wallet will keep you gasping, “How cool!” over and over again. Japanese cooking ut...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Loft
21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan
+81 3 3462-0111

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon)

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Attraction | "Senso-Ji Temple"

Sensoji Temple. Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
When we arrived in Asakusa, we hopped off the water bus and began our trek to the Senso-ji temple, home of the most visited Buddhist shrine in Tokyo. I had also heard from a friend, that Nakamise-dori street plays host to several booths and shops lining the area. She brought an adorable handbag to work made to look like denim jeans with round bamboo handles that I wanted to find. Shamefully, my pilgrimage to Asakusa had more to do with finding a purse than finding enlightenment.We arrived at a red gate, marking the entrance to the shrine area. Two statues flanked either side of the gateway. We passed through the crowds and started down the long street that led to the actual temple. The covered...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 27, 2006

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon)
2-3-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku
Tokyo, Japan 111-0032
81 (0)3 3842 0181

Ueno Park

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Attraction

Ueno Park Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Where can you find street performers, shrines and a zoo all in one place? We stumbled upon Ueno Park after our trip to Asakusa. Our good friend, Sheri, had suggested that we take a trip up to Ueno, located on the north side of the Yamanote Line, in northern Tokyo. She highly recommended that we see Shinobazu Pond, the lotus pond at Ueno Park.Sadly, our timing did not coincide with lotus season but the park still provided a respite from the bustling Tokyo streets. While Hama Rikyu Gardens oozed tranquility, Ueno Park catered to families and a wider range of interests. Tokyo opened Ueno Park in 1873 as the city’s first public park space. As we made our way toward Shinobazu Pond, we encou...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 29, 2006

Ueno Park
5-20 Ueno Koen
Tokyo, Japan 110-0007
+81 (3) 3828-5644