Monday, December 30, 2013

Part 3 - Ginza, The East Garden and Tokyo Disneyland

Hello again my friends,

Happy eve of New Year's eve,

Today's post will recap Dec 23rd and Dec 24th and it's pretty picture heavy - just a warning :)

December 23rd is a major holiday in Japan as it's the Emperor's Birthday, based on that and all the walking I did the day before I decided to stay close to the hotel and explore Ginza.

I always woke up early on every single day of my trip and the 23rd was no different so I'd turn on the TV to check the weather.

 Christmas is all over Japanese TV note the reindeer and Santa but no elves

 Every morning the english version of The Japan Times was slid under my door and it made me realize that I don't pay enough attention to international news. The Fodor's guidebook which I took everywhere I went, best guidebook ever. I was using it for scale in this picture as the newspaper is super wide.

 I then went in search of a latte, luckily there was a Starbucks super close by.

 They had origami coffee and the instant packs but you could tell just based on merchandising that origami is more popular so wish we had this at home.

 I noticed these blankets over the chairs and couldn't figure it out until I saw this at another place, there for your laps.
 The Japanese seasonal Starbucks offerring, I had the Crushed Marron Pie one quite often. Marron is kind of like chestnut.
 I was then off to explore Ginza noting the holiday decore. Ginza is like the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo with many stores and name brands you'd recognize in North America i.e. Armani, Gucci and etc.
 I came across a grocery store and decided to explore a little, that is a $20 cantaloupe,
 Brie Doritos anyone?
 How about some Wasabi Kit Kat, I bought this and am going to take it work to tempt the brave.
 I found a great store for souvenirs called LAOX which is duty free store, that's where I got the Kit Kat and for only $6000 you can own Samurai armor.
 Another great store is Uniqlo, think of it like the Japanese Old Navy with better quality and way better merchandised. The Ginza store is 10 floors, one thing I noticed about any department store or multilevel store is the floor plans are small compared to North American stores/ malls.
 I then came across the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi, this is a beautiful store with many expensive clothes but I got myself a couple of items here where I'll tell you about when I show you what I brought back with me. The picture above is from the food floor where you could get anything you're heart desires to eat. Look how beautifully the strawberries are packaged, they are $10 strawberries.

Tokyo has amazing clothing stores but I also didn't see very many big people actually I could probably count them on one hand. There is no obesity epidemic in Japan. Actually they have lowest obesity rate in the developed world. Clothing sizes are tiny in the stores. In fact Uniqlo has XL which would be L in North America. Plus the style is much more fitted in Japan I didn't see anyone in sweatpants unless they were a tourist.

 I was on vacation and not tracking whatsoever. I figured all my walking would be a good counter balance.  I was zonked after walking up and down Ginza so it was McDonald's for supper I had to try the sundae with the apple pie in it.
 I then wandered around the Shiodome taking in more seasonal decore.

 I found this in a stationary store and figured I needed a tree for my room, there are loads of these tiny knick knack sort of stuff.
It's now Christmas Eve in Tokyo
 And my first chance to observe a regular day in Tokyo as it's not the weekend. I was off to Tokyo Station as the Imperial Palace is walking distance from there. The train stations are busy all the time, I was telling you about everyone stands on the left and passes on the right on the escalator. However walking about it's all over the place and I had to practice my bob and weave skills from working downtown.
 Display inside Tokyo Station
 Beautiful model of the station.
 This guy greets you at the Centre exit, no sign telling you what he is but he got my attention.
 Exterior view of the Station.
 Gate to the Imperial Palace East Garden, the Palace itself is well protected and can only be seen on two major holidays when the Royal family greets the people, one of those was the 23rd.
 The moat around the Palace
 Map of Garden

 Guard house

While walking around I decided I have to come back in Spring, to see this garden again. I was then off to Tokyo Disneyland, now they have two parks Disneyland and Disney Sea but they're passes are different then the US. There is no real park hopper option, well you can buy a 3 day pass and be allowed in one park day one, the other park day two and then on day 3 you can visit both.

 I opted for Disneyland as it was there 30th anniversary, this Disneyland is constructed on top of an island made out of garbage.

 This gorgeous tree greeted you as you walked in.
 It was lunch time and I opted for a waffle, I love Mickey waffles and have now had them in 3 parks.

 Cinderella's Tokyo  Castle
 There were two parades in this park, The Happiness Parade and I couldn't resist taking a photo of Grumpy in the Happiness Parade.
 As Parades go I thought it was alright

 The lineups for rides were crazy with 90min wait times, this wasn't even a busy day for Tokyo Disneyland but compared to a really busy day at Disneyland in California or Disney World - this is the busies I've ever seen a park and that includes on a US holiday weekend, it was craziness. I did line up for the Pooh ride but it was a little surreal as of course it was all in Japanese.
 Then it was time for the Christmas Parade. I loved Mickey and Minnie's Japanese Christmas costumes.

 Oh yes Santa was there. After all Japan is one of places he visits first.
 What's interesting about Tokyo Disneyland compared to the US parks is there are very few pins, where if you go to Disneyland or Disney World there are whole walls of them. Not here, here it's all about small stuffed animals attached to your bag, so there were walls of that. The snack of choice at Tokyo Disneyland - Popcorn. I saw loads of people with bucket around their neck, sure there was chocolate popcorn, caramel popcorn, soy sauce and butter popcorn.
 The Japanese visitors in the park get decked out in Disney and I mean head to toe to go to the park, with like 6 stuffed animals on there bags.

 I was on a mission to find a Japanese Mickey and Minnie and tada I found them, and apparently I was just in time as they weren't out the week before. They do have 2014 embroidered under their sandals. They also had a Donald and Daisy version but I had to rationalize with myself and just get Mickey and Minnie, hey if I go back in Spring I can get them :) These are the type that pin on the bag, on the back is a chain link and a safety pin.
Tokyo Disneyland was freezing as it's a very windy area, I was not prepared so I had to get a toque.

Tomorrow Part 4 - Christmas Day in Tokyo

1 comment:

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Cute hat! I love reading travel stories like this!