October 15th, 2016 by alephnaught
Tokyo is like New York City on steroids.
If you’re going to go to Japan, get a personal wi-fi device; we used it in the hotel rooms, it worked much better than the hotel wi-fis. The company we used, globaladvancedcomm.com, was recommended by a friend and the unit worked well for us, supporting up to 4 devices at one time.
The main airport, Narita, is one hour by train and 1.5 hours by car from Tokyo.
Thanks to a special deal from our travel agent, we got to stay at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo. At breakfast while clearing the table, the waitress made a special trip to pick up a missed straw wrapper – that’s one side of Japan.
Shinjuku was crazy – lots of sex stores, even got propositioned standing next to Aviva. Aviva left her iPad at a little gyoza place in Shinjuku (the food was excellent). The concierge called and the restaurant had Aviva’s tablet – this is another side of Japan.
7-11s are everywhere – there’s one underneath the Hyatt Regency Tokyo. And they have the most amazing things – fresh cut fruit, dim sum, unusual drinks, and eye makeup. Appearntly they had a special Shin Godzilla figure when the movie came out (unfortunately none left at any of the ones I went into).
The Robot Restaurant show as indeed fun – not as much skin as the one on Anthony Bourdain’s show (maybe because we did an early show?), but worth it. We had front row seats – at one point the shark’s tail hit the chain they set up right in front of us.
Akihabara was amazing – one building was 10 floors of figures, books, cards – anything anime/manga lovers could want. We had dinner at a crapply little German-themed restaurant below that building which allowed Aviva’s foot to recover enough to walk over to Yodobashi-Akiba, which also has 10 floors (each floor is a city block). A whole floor of cell phones and service, a floor of home electronics, a floor of figures and toys. It was Nerdvana for someone like me.
The Tokyo National Museum was really nice, we spent most of a day there. They have a nice cafe, but they gave numbers for the waiting line and only called them out; Aviva watched someone’s number and then counted… Afterwards we decided to go back to Shinjuku to see what it was like on Saturday night. We met a guy named Kune, he turned us on to Ringer Hut and chumbo which is a mix of noodles and various ingredients either dry or in a soup. It was really good and inexpensive. He also took us through a small street of yakatori restaurants that was similar to old Edo – very narrow, claustrophobic, and filled with the smoke and smell of the coal braziers with chicken parts cooking on them.
We went to the Yamatane Museum and saw works by Hiyomi Gyoshu. We also visited the Meiji Shrine and Senso-ji Temple.
We took the bullet train (Shiksenshen) from Tokyo to Kyoto – that required a shuttle from the hotel to Shinjuku Station (the busiest in Tokyo – it is indeed crazy-insane inside), then a subway to Tokyo Station, and finally the bullet train to Kyoto. Aviva had stomach issues so we were rushing a bit to make our trains.
And based on that trip, we decided not to try to go from Kyoto to Narita Airport in one day, so we took the train back to Tokyo on the 14th. We had a hard time – Aviva had stomach problems and we barely made it to the train on time. Thanks to our travel agent we got an upgraded room at the Hyatt on the 25th floor (what a view!). We went to Yodobashi in Shinjuku and I found some Godzilla 2016 figures and some metal Star Wars figs. That part of Shinjuku is like Akihabara – bright and loud! We ate at a ramen place.
The next day we took the shuttle to the airport. There’s amazing shopping at Narita airport so don’t worry if you have some Yen left.
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