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Category / Tokyo

Asakusa (浅草) is one of those must-go places in Tokyo, it has one of the oldest shopping area (Nakamesise (仲見世)), definately a place to go if you are into buying lotsa souvenirs or local traditional tidbits. Besides, it is also where you can find the oldest temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji (金龍山浅草寺)

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
gate of the temple houses a HUGE lantern.

One of the major difference in Asakusa from the rest of Tokyo is the buildings. There are more old buildings around the area in a city where most everything are built less than half a century ago due to the great war. It gives you a glimpse of what Tokyo used to be.

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
very tourist centered shopping area

Between the main gate of the temple and the temple itself is the Nakamise shopping area. It is believed to be the oldest shopping area, established since the late 17th century. Here you can find all sorts of tourist souvenirs from traditional Japanese fan to fancy fridge magnets. Local cookies, mochi, and all sorts of other tidbits were on the offering too.

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
that top left balls in the machine thingy was all I can afford, 100 yen each. hehe

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
this is supposed to bring me good luck!

The Senso-ji itself is a set of a few magnificient buildings, including a small tower. Here is the place where the biggest Shinto festival (matsuri) is held every spring. As with most temples and shrines, there are sake offerings in huge barrels.

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
the temple itself, with sake offerings on the sides

There was also a very lovely garden, with cherry tree in full blossom and a pond, with some lazy kois swimming in it.. tranquility in a busy city.

Tokyo Asakusa, Sensoji
sakura tree over hanging a nice pond

Tokyo, Travel
   

To whoever fell for the noob April Fool’s trick, sucks to be you. I was really travelling, and now lets talk about Tokyo DisneySea. Most of you might have heard of Disneyland, but there is really a newer (and better) Disney Park with the ocean theme right next to the older “land” version.

Tokyo DisneySea
this is how you get in..

The park is located at Chiba, just next to Tokyo city. Our tickets, or Disney Passports (or whatever heck they want to call that stub) allows us to go to either Disneyland or DisneySea, but not both, since you can’t realistically enjoy 2 parks in a day anyway. We chose DisneySea after reading some reviews about that place being a little more adult oriented (eg: they serve beer), and a lot newer, and more awesome.

Tokyo DisneySea
no photoshopping here, very nice fantasy world

Driving into the parking ram is an experience in itself. There were about 20 mouse eared Disney employee ushering us to the parking spot along the way. We didn’t have to make any wrong turnings or spend an extra minute mining for a spot. 27551 times better than hunting for a parking spot at 1-U, mid valley, or maybe a more realistic comparison, Sunway Lagoon.

Tokyo DisneySea
various attractions and rides

The park is divided into 7 sections to what they named “ports of call”. Mediterranean Habour, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island. Each housing a different theme and attractions. For example, Mermaid Lagoon is just kawaii, orientated towards younger visitors, while the Lost River Delta spots slightly more hardcore attractions like the Indiana Jones Adventure, and the Raging Spirits rollercoaster that includes a 360 loop.

Tokyo DisneySea
dancing, singing, and all that jazz, all in Japanese

We ended up spending a lot of time walking around the park looking for the rides when the time on our “fass pass” comes up, and even more time waiting in some of the lines. Started off with 20,000 leagues under the sea (cute fakeplan submarine designed by Cap. Nemo), and ultimately went for Raging Spirits the rollercoaster, Sinbad’s Seven Voyages (basically a puppet show,) StormRider (beefed up cinema with awesome effects), Aquatopia (going round n round in a lake,) Journey to the Center of the Earth (thrilling ride,) Indiana Jones Adventure (scary with skulls and all,) took the Electric Railway (a bit too short) and also watched some of the famous disney shows (all in Japanese).

All these, including 2 meals, took the whole day. Between the waiting and the walking, it was a lot of fun. The decoration was superb, huge crowds even though it was a Tuesday, but most everyone was courteous and nice. Weather was a bit chilly that day tho.

Tokyo DisneySea
the food is actually pretty good

The food that we had at the park was actually quite nice. A mexican meal for lunch, american burger thingy for dinner, and pop corn in between with some nice warm tea. Don’t miss out on the park if you head to Tokyo. Seeing so many caucasian performers dancing jolly and singing in perfect (so far as I am aware) Japanese is just another kinda experience.

Tokyo, Travel
   

Akihabara, 秋葉原 (aka Akiba) is the largest shopping area on earth for high tech goods, anime & manga stuff, as well as merchandise that might interest an otaku (anime freak.) We got there by train, getting off at Akihabara Station.

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
Akihabara Station

This place is a little bit like Low Yat plaza in KL, except it covers the area bigger than the whole Bukit Bintang. Numerous shops selling all sorts of electronic, computing, and electric appliances. One of which is the huge store Yodobashi Camera that occupies about 6-7 floors selling pretty much everything that runs on battery or plug into an electric socket. The announcements in the store came in three different language (Japanese, English, & Mandarin) and there was a little tune that got into my head after listening to it for the 20th time.. blah blah blah blah yodobashi ca-me-ra..

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
International brand names like Sega and Taito

There are many Anime & Manga shops too. We went into one place that occupies about 6 levels. This place is a dream come true for any anime freaks. You can find anything from Draganball keychain to Naruto figures. Want a maid outfit or Japanese school girl uniform? Get one here.

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
interesting merchandise, including cosplay outfits (fancy dressing up like a maid?)

Another interesting attraction in this district is the maid cafes. These are cafes with waitresses dressed up like french maids. We were going to go in one of them, but the maids weren’t that hot, and photos are not allowed. Besides, the place was filled with weird looking guys, we scrapped that plan instead.

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
maid cafe

Other than computer, electronic parts, and LCD screens. You can also buy slot machines here. I saw an Apple service center too.

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
computer goods, Apple service center, slot machines

We had lunch at a famous ramen shop (Kyushu Jangara Ramen) at Akihabara. The pork ramen was really great, we ordered ours with everything in it (zenbu-iri), with extra fried garlic. The shop is really small, with about 10 seats right infront of the bar/kitchen, 2 other tables for 2, and a small 1 person table that is smaller than most phone booth. Too bad we aren’t allowed to take pictures inside.

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo
super popular ramen shop

Tokyo, Travel
   

FA did the harajuku style, since I am not that much into camwhoring with funny cloths, I decided to take some pictures of the real Harajuku girls instead. At Tokyo that is.

Harajuku Station Sign
the famous Harajuku Station

Took the train to Omote-sandō on Sunday afternoon. After spending some time at at the mall at Omotesando Hill, we worked our way to the famous bridge across the train tracks. The way to harajuku is packed with mostly young people, but there are families and older folks too, probably heading to the Meiji shrine (明治神宮).

Harajuku girls
there were some harajuku girls walking on the streets

The bridge is filled with dozens of hardcore harajuku girls, mainly of Gothic and Lolita styles. Naturally I just had to take a couple pictures with them. Most of the girls will happily let you snap pictures with, even more so if you represent any publications, I think.

Harajuku girls
Kodak moment with the gothic chicks

Harajuku girls
Interesting, no?

The girls mainly just hangout on the bridge. Tonnes of people walk by snapping pictures, and there was even a camera man from a TV station taking footage of the area. Most of the girls are Japanese, but I did see two caucasian girls dressing up the harajuku style, blending in just fine without having to dye their hair or putting up wigs.

Harajuku girls
lolita playing her gameboy

Harajuku girls
more harajuku girls

On our way back, there was a huge commotion just beneath the pedestrian bridge crossing by the junction. Turns out there was a street performer, dresing up like the bestest fashion victim singing some hardcore Japanese punk rock. The picture might decieve you, but it was a dude entertaining the crowd with his lungs out, that was totally crazy, totally awesome.

Harajuku girls
yes, this is a guy

Location - 35°40’10.15″N, 139°42’9.37″E

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Tokyo, Travel