Totoro has a plan
Next visitation of Nihon

Welcome to the third page with my grand plans

Suggestions for the next vacation in Japan

This page contains the trip suggestions 11 to 15.

There are listed about 5 suggestions per page, to reduce loading times,  and the suggestions can also be directly accessed fromt the menu on the right.

Trip #11: Harajuku

Harajuku is properly best known as a shopping place that caters for youthful people looking for style and fashion. I dont think that is entirely fair as the Meiji shrine is located in the park beside the station, as well as quite a number of museums and historical sites, both of the later we of course missed last time.

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Takeshita street a narrow street filled with, mostly clothing, shops. Notice the enthusiastic cook.

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Quite a fair amount of people on the narrow street, and some of the shops had quite interesting names.

We sat at a small pizza place (I think) and I took a couple of pictures the few that were doing a bit of borderline cosplay with maidish uniforms and what looked like some sort of brideish outfit (not in this picture).

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The Yoyogi National Stadium, where sports and music events are held. Should be a good concert place.

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Harajuku station and the clock tower from Shinjuku in the back. In the park to the left is the Meiji shrine.

Although crowded it was somehow a very nice place, might as well get back there and do a bit of shopping and see some cultural events in Yoyogi Park, probably on a sunday. Among the things to see woudl be: Ometesando, the Togo Shrine, Ota Museum, NHK (TV), Yoyogi Park (parts we did not see last time), Snoopy and Kiddy land.

A suggestion is to walk from Harajuku to Shibuya or vice versa, as they are actually quite close and the most interesting parts of Shibuya are to its north towards Harajuku.

Its location on Google Earth is here.

Trip #12: Shinjuku

A revisit to Shinjuku is in order. This time to visit the Gyoen Garden again (this time for the autumn colours) and check out the Tokyo Government Buildings area.

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Walking towards the Shinjuku station from Gyoen Garden, one can see the 2 towers, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, which are among the tallest in Tokyo, and their observation decks require a visit (the southern one should have the best view as far as I remember). Close to them is the Shinjuku Central Garden as mentioned previously in the Trip #4 Parks and Gardens posting, also a worthwhile visit.

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The Takashimaya department store also known as Times Square. You can see the top of the clock tower behind it. We had lunch in the Times Square last time. I am quite confident that it was something made out of fish that I ate. Would be nice to check out the a couple of conventional department stores to see where locals do some of their shopping, instead of only going for the places that cater to otakus and gadget geeks.

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The Flags department store, the train station is just to the left of it. Jpop singer Yui's new album was out on April 4th, but we were there in march so I had to buy her previous album and also got her new (at that time) single Che.r.ry. A very kawaii young woman with a very soft and recognizable voice.

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The clock tower (its actually the Docomo Tower or NTT DoCoMo Tower, but with the prominent clock it has been renamed to the clock tower in my mind) seen from Gyoen garden that we visited before noon.

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A view of Shinjuku from Tokyo Tower. Shinjuku is in the back just to the right of the tall building in the center. No zoom to speak of on my camera so this was the best I could do.

Additional places to check out in Shinjuku are a couple of museums as well as the Omoide Yokocho area, outside the north-west exit of the station. Previously a black market area that has retained some of its 'old' looks with narrow alleys and small stalls. An area that is probably going to disappear in the next couple of years due to city development.

Its location on Google Earth is here.

Trip #13: Ueno

Ueno was a short visit last time. After a boat ride from Ginza and a walk from Asakusa (filled with local tourists) and the "How do I distribute the salat dressing anywhere but on the salad"-McDonalds episode (on our one and only visit to a McDonalds in Japan), we ended up in Ueno.

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We walked past the National Science Museum (without noticing) and ended up at Ueno station, where there were a number of 'modern' sculptures distributed around the station (and they were not of the small kind as can be seen in the pciture above).

We then walked past the station to Ueno Koen (it was spring equinox and sunday and the park was filled with people, and it had been a long day, so we were (at least I was) getting tired and beginning to do the zombie walk.

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A man and his dog, *the* statue in Ueno. The undistinguished looking gentleman walking his dog is in fact Saigō Takamori, a samurai general, who lead the doomed Satsuma Rebellion against the Meiji government (which was the inspiration for The Last Samurai). As can be seen I was getting tired here, oh, a statue, camera up and point and click. Totally oblivious to lamps and trees that were in the way.

We only took a glimpse of the Shinobazu Pond in the park. This pond was at some time actually part of the Tokyo Bay. We also missed out on the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Toshogu shrine and the Ueno Zoo, all situated at the 'other' end of the park.

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There were a couple of performers in the park, including this man who was doing a sing-song routine and doing interesting things with something that was either a plate mat or a sushi mat (for making the rolls).

So we missed out of museums, historical sites, the zoo and at Ueno Station, the Café Danmark café.

Ueno's location on Google Earth is here.

Trip #14: Kanda

A suggestion for a day or half-day where we not neccessarily need to take a train/bus to get to the spot.

My suggestion is a walk west towards the Imperial Palace from the hotel (Gimmond Hotel). Then proceed north to Jinbocho (the book district, located here). From there in the north-west direction to Tokyo Dome (located here) and Korakuen Garden. Finally after that eastwards along the Kanda River to Akihabara (might as well include it in a day trip) or walk past it to the mouth of the river into the Sumida River.

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If one walks south ward along the Sumida river and then westward, we will end up the hotel again.

The picture above is from last time where we one evening walked upward along the Sumida River and then straight inland to Akihabara.

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The route is in Google Maps here and embedded just above. The line goes from Gimmond to Jinbocho (approx.) then to the Tokyo Dome and along the Kanda River (I am not sure this is possible, we will have to see that when we are there) to Akihabara for one of the 'daily' visits and back to the Hotel.

Trip #15: Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro's main attraction is its shopping center. It has among other things the Sunshine City Complex which includes shops, restaurants, an aquarium, and an observatory at the top of the Sunshine 60 building (one guess as to many floors it has). The aquarium is actually situated at the tenth floor. There is also the Metropolitan Art Space where there usually are a number of concerts and various exhibits going on. The alleys around Sunshine City are interesting as well, see more information about them here, they seem to have retained some of their old style charm.

I would guess a half-day visit to the Sunshine City would cover most.

Its location on Google Earth is here.

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