Saturday, March 14, 2015

Visiting Tokyo in April

Well, I'm doing the itinerary for a short 7 day trip to Tokyo in early April, 2014.  Hopefully, I'll just catch the tail end of the Sakura viewing season for the first time.  I'm looking forward to see the cherry blossoms and experiencing a cherry blossom rain in a slight breeze!
Shinjuku at night
I'm also going to catch a few sights I haven't seen before and also want to revisit some locations to shoot photos.  One of these days I'll probably do a cheap Kindle ebook of things to do and places to go in Tokyo for the traveller looking for both some cultural highlights, anime culture, and some just fun cool stuff.

Day 1
Arrive Narita in the late afternoon.
  • Drop bags off at the hotel in Shinagawa.
  • Hop on a train down to the Meguro Canal to see the cherry blossoms there.
  • Visit Daikanyama afterwards to see T-Site and the area which I've never seen before.
  • Eat ramen, probably at the Shinagawa Station Ramen Street close to the hotel.
Day 2
Hopefully, the cherry blossoms are still out as they don't last for more than 2 weeks of full prettiness.
  • I'm going to visit some of the gardens around Tokyo and want to make a day of it.
  • Visit Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens and Rikugien for some classic Japanese landscape gardens.  Maybe see the Tokyo Dome as I'm in the area.
  • Tokyo Station exploration for Character Street, Tokyo Station Ramen Street, Kitte Building, Tokyo Station front facade, and the area around it.  Plenty of specialty shops in the station and in the malls there.  Shopping for specialty Kit-Kats in the store there and other goodies.
Day 3 
I'm off to the Skytree first thing in the morning.  Most things don't open early so you can visit the Skytree, Gardens, Temples, or Tsukiji Fish Market, or just walk the streets. Going to the very top. If I'm lucky and the air is clear, you can see Mt. Fuji and have great sky high views of the city.
  • Check out the Solomachi Mall at the Skytree and visit the Chiba Institute of Tech Robot Museum there to see the bots and the lifesize Macross Valkyrie.
  • Walk around it to get some canal photos with the Skytree in it, local streets.
  • Visit Sensoji Temple, Asakusa area or Ueno Park / Yamashiroya toy store.
Day 4
Visit Akihabara. If this is a Sunday, then Chuo Dori should be a pedestrian walk so it should be busy with people.
  • Plenty to visit in Akihabara.  Check out Anime Center, Gamers, Kotobukiya (their own building), Animate, and Good Smile x Animate Cafe for exhibits and shopping.
  • Buy gashapon at the Gashapon store / Yodobashi Camera.
  • Visit Eorzea Cafe (Final Fantasy Theme) above the Honey Toast Cafe
  • Places to visit: Cure Maid Cafe, New Radio Kaikan Building, new Volks store near it on the corner, Sega Arcade (Gundam pods), Gundam Cafe, Akiba Culture Zone, the backstreets, look for canned ramen and oden machines, and check out Maach Ecute Kanda Manseibashi (mall in old train station) south across the river.
  • Kanda Myojin Shrine that is featured in Love Live! and also was in The Amazing Race.

Day 5
Visit Ikebukuro.  This is the second otaku hub now in Tokyo. 
  • Visit the Kit Kat Chocolatory Shop in the Seibu department store.  
  • Visit the Ikebukuro Animate Main store, the Ikebukuro Evangelion Store, Pokemon Mega Center in Sunshine City, and Shonen Jump Theme Parks.
Day 6
Visit Shibuya / Shinjuku / Harajuku / Omotesando.  This is the home of the famous Shibuya Crossing, Hachiko the dog.
  • Visit Kiddyland, Omotesando Hills, Daiso, my favourite Starbucks at Tokyu Plaza, Kyushu Jangara Ramen, Gyoza Bills, and photograph architecture.
  • Look for the Giant Godzilla Head on top of Toho Cinemas
  • Photograph Memory Lane / the streets there.
  • Eat Tonkatsu at Katsukura on the 14th floor of Takashimaya Times Square.
  • Might go south to visit the Ito Yokado Supermarket and Aeon Shopping Center Near Shinagawa.  Do some food shopping.
  • Visit Parco, Spanish Steps in Shibuya.
  • See if this is still there. Banana Vending Machine Shibuya Station, by exit number 3, in front of Book 1st on the first basement floor
Day 7
Visit Tsukiji Fish Market, take lots of pictures, eat fresh sushi. (I believe Tsukiji is closed Sunday and most Wednesdays)
  • The popular restaurants have really long lines and I'll look for the shortest line.  I'm not going for the Tuna auction, but just want to see it and the streets before it closes and moves to the new market.
  • Visit Ginza in the afternoon.  In Ginza I'm hoping to photograph the streets and eat some good food. 
  • Visit Ginza Matsuya / Mitsukoshi, UNIQLO Flagship Store, Ito-ya, Kaukiza Theatre, Komparu-yu Bath House, International Forum, the big Muji Store in Yurakucho, Yakitori Alley in Yurakucho.
  • Eat at Kimuraya Bakery, Ten-ichi for Tempura, Choushiya for the original croquette.
  • Visit Odaiba in the evening.  See the Giant Gundam light up, maybe Gundam Front, visit Aqua City Ramen Street, visit Fuji TV roof, Aqua City Rooftop Shrine, Noitamina shop in Aqua City.  Visit Toyota Megaweb for concept cars.
Day 8
This is a free 1/2 day. 
Depart Tokyo for home. 

Optional Things To Do / Swap with
Mount Takao Visit (one hour by train from central Tokyo)
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (like 40-45 minutes by train from Central Tokyo)

That's plenty of things to do each day and I'll probably end up cutting back on the list.

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