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Niji-Jo

The next morning we were up by 7:00AM which was finally about right, though I never get up that early at home unless I really have to.  Still we were happy to finally be getting our clocks back on track as it makes life more bearable.

The night before, I had needed to recharge my batteries because I had taken 5 billion photos already.  One of the nice things about Japan if you have American appliances is that you can use them without an adapter.  The plugs won’t fry your computer, blow-dryers, chargers, etc.  It is completely safe to use, though Japan is on a lower voltage which means it most likely will take longer to do its job.  The only thing I don’t advise is bringing your own alarm clock as overtime, due to the lower voltage, the clock will run slower making you late.

Back on the Bullet Train

Today we would be heading back to Tokyo, though I wished that we could stay one more night in Kyoto. Unfortunately because it was Cherry Blossom season, everything was sold out Friday thru Sunday or 500.00+ a night.  No way was that happening so Tokyo it was!

We were booked on the bullet train at around 1:00PM so we knew we had limited time.  We decided to walk around the area a bit and check out Nijo-ji which was close to our hotel.  Nijo-ji is a flatland castle with a few gardens sprinkled here and there.  It’s a beautiful castle with an interesting security mechanism; the nightingale floors, they make noise wherever you step.

Lunch!
  Unfortunately you can’t take photos in the castle, so you will have to keep the memory embedded in your head, but can take photos outside the castle.  Nijo-ji does get crowded so be prepared to see a tourist bus or three.

After Nijo-ji we wanted to get some shopping in as we hadn’t really done any since being in Kyoto.  Noah wanted to pick up a robe like the ones in the hotel, but fancier.  We were told to head to Kyoto Handicraft Center as they had decent prices for high end tourist pieces and everything is guaranteed to be made in Japan which is a must in my book.

There are 5 floors, each with different things to look at including robes, calligraphy, lacquer boxes, etc.  It is a little expensive for my taste, but the items are beautiful.

Uplifting! Everyone Needs a Little Bit of That!
  I am sure you can find these things cheaper elsewhere, but again many of them are not made in Japan. I have heard there are craft fairs you can go to buy these items at a very good price, unfortunately there were none going on while we there. 

The customer service is really great and I did end up buying something.  They fill out paperwork if you buy over a certain amount and they will need your passport to attach the information to.  The manager noticing that my birthday was the next day chased me to the elevator and gave me a small gift.  It was very unexpected and very sweet!  I was surprised he noticed that; it totally made my day!

After shopping we decided to go head over to the main Kyoto Station as they have a really large collection of Japanese sweets including wagashi, mochigashi and other items I didn’t know the names of.

What's Inside?!?
  I fell in love with the sweets in Japan, especially with the wagashi and boxes of animal shapes filled with red bean paste.  So good, though at times expensive but that didn’t stop me from buying many and bringing them back to The States.  The taste and textures aren’t for everyone, but you should definitely try them when in Japan!

After we finished shopping, we headed to the bullet train, but not before picking up a bento box as you are allowed to eat on the Bullet trains.  They do serve snacks and drinks on the trains, but the stuff is expensive. I paid 300 yen for the smallest cup of coffee I have ever seen.  Bring your own, everyone else does.

The ride was pretty uneventful and we were a little disappointed because it was overcast and we couldn’t see Mt.

Rice Pilaf!
Fuji, so I took a little nap and prepared myself for Tokyo.  When we arrived it was around 3:30PM and Tokyo Station was crazy!  At first I thought rush hour had started early, I soon learned that this was normal for foot traffic for Tokyo early morning or late at night.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, some stations in Tokyo are always as busy as rush hour in NYC.  Scary!

We stayed in the Hatchabori area which is in the business district of Japan.  It isn't the most happening place, but it was cheap and had gotten good reviews.  We were both kind of shocked to see how small the room was.  It made our hotel the first night look spacious.  Two people could not stand up at the same time and the TV was smaller than my computer screen.

TV
  It was tiny.  It was however very clean, the staff was great and they served free breakfast in the morning.

While in Kyoto and Nara, Noah had used all of his space for pictures on his camera.  I assured him it would be no big deal because we were in Tokyo.  Finding a memory card would be easier than finding our hotel again, so we headed to the Akihabara; the electronics and anime section of Tokyo. 

Let me just say this place was not hard to miss, it is brighter than Times Square and if you are into technology, this is the place for you.  Obviously we did find a memory card and many other things, but unfortunately, we couldn’t afford any of the really cool stuff.  That or they wouldn’t work in the US.  Still it is a very interesting area and worth checking out though I am not much in to anime.

I Hope We Can Find Akihabara
 

We ended up going to a restaurant in our hood and spending a few hours eating and drinking before heading back to the hotel.  Word of warning, on Friday night, there are drunk business men everywhere having the "I love you man moment."  Everywhere we turned they were stumbling and hugging each other.  It was a dodge the drunk moment if I have ever seen one.  Very, odd but good to see them blowing off steam as people seem to work all day including weekends in Japan.

So far Tokyo was looking interesting!

 

binky says:
I love the "again" part...
Posted on: Oct 05, 2010
Biglush_23 says:
Gawds ^o^ makes me wanna get drunk and go wandering thru the streets again hahaha!!!
Posted on: Oct 05, 2010
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Niji-Jo
Niji-Jo
Back on the Bullet Train
Back on the Bullet Train
Lunch!
Lunch!
Uplifting!  Everyone Needs a Littl…
Uplifting! Everyone Needs a Litt…
Whats Inside?!?
What's Inside?!?
Rice Pilaf!
Rice Pilaf!
TV
TV
I Hope We Can Find Akihabara
I Hope We Can Find Akihabara
Tokyo Hotels & Accommodations review
Hotel Villa Fontaine Hatchobori Tokyo
The Hotel Villa Fontaine Hatchobori Tokyo is located 15 minutes from the Main Tokyo Station or 8 minutes from the Hatchobori Station. If you dislike … read entire review
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photo by: maka77