When travelling its pretty easy to get desensitised to the wide eyed wonderment moments of the first couple days where cool alleyways and brightly it intersections blend into one but its always a good idea to snap these simple shots as the magic returns after the smell of ramen and the roar of trains has disappeared. Thankfully there’s a constant reminder with random eye catching ‘gram worthy pics on just about every corner!

Photo tip: Different times of the day yield different results but it’s amazing what twilight and a bit of rain can do to a scene.

Odaiba
Standard ritual for our Tokyo stop is heading over the rainbow bridge to Diver City shopping mall for dinner and to see our 1:1 Gundam buddy, RX78-2. This was sadly the last year he was at this site but the news is not all bad, he has been replaced by a new Gundam Unicorn RX-0! (look out for a future post on this!)

Photo tip: there are some good views from the ferris wheel at Venus Fort but dirty “glass” and movement restricts long exposure shots. Afternoon or early evening would yield better results.

Disney Sea
Its Disneyland with a lean towards ocean related themes and places, its what you would expect from a large theme park but being Disney it was a good choice to take a toddler with plenty of options for height disadvantaged kidlets. We happened to stumble across the 15 year anniversary and a commemorative gold pirate ship to match.

Aladdin fans wishes also come true with middle eastern Agrabah inspired scenes and buildings and of course what would a Disneyland be without a bit of Americana.

Japan 2016 part #1 – Travelling with a plus one
Japan 2016 part #2 – Yokohama
Japan 2016 part #3 – Gotemba to Kawaguchiko
Japan 2016 part #4 – Fuji Shibazakura Festival and Chureito Pagoda
Japan 2016 part #5 – Fuji Q Highland
Japan 2016 part #6 – Matsumoto, Alpine Route, Snow Corridor
Japan 2016 part #7 – Matsumoto castle, Ashikaga Flower park
Japan 2016 part #8 – Tokyo Skytree, Ueno
Japan 2016 part #9 – Tokyo wandering, Odaiba + Disney Sea

Monorail, downtown Tokyo

If you’re staying closer to inner Tokyo or just want a good view of the Tokyo skyline then head on down to Odaiba. Take the JR Yamanote line to Okachi Machi then switch to the Yurikamome line. This will take you through the city, over the Rainbow bridge (lit bridge that changes colour every few seconds) then into Odaiba.

Odaiba is on one of the many man made “islands” in Tokyo Bay it used to be all commercial buildings but is now home to a selection of tourist attractions. The biggest and most obvious one being Daikanransha, the “Tokyo eye” once the biggest ferris wheel in the world its still packs the wow factor with 360 degree views of the city, on a clear day you might even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji.

The ride lasts about 15min and you can choose between a completely clear capsule or a regular ferris wheel style closed in bottom. There tends to be a 10-20min wait on the all-clear ones, while it is a little easier to see out from a sitting position, its no better for taking photos as the frame work gets in the way, not to mention the windows themselves can be pretty dirty.

It is open till 10pm nightly. If you want to head straight to it, stay on the upper level of the train platform and head south to the freeway overpass.

View of Tokyo from Daikanransha, Odaiba, Tokyo

Other notable attractions in Odaiba are: the “interesting” looking Fuji TV studio, Decks Tokyo Beach shopping mall, Venus Fort (Venice themed mall), the Statue of Liberty replica. Entertainment wise check out Tokyo Leisure Land (24hour gaming, karaoke and bowling) and Zepp Tokyo, Tokyo’s largest concert hall playing host to Jamie Cullum and Erykah Badu next week alone. During the day, there are numerous park areas and “beaches” on the edge of the island great for a bbq in the warmer months, though swim at your own peril.

Leaving Tokyo

So here we are in our hotel room looking down at our 2 week bounty thinking how the heck are we going to get all of this back home. Suticases. More suitcases.
After a quick chat to the concierge we headed back over to the Ameyoko markets. One thing that’s for certain is the quality of merchandise is a lot higher than what you would find in say, Hong Kong. However, this is reflected in the price, but like anything, look long enough and you’ll find what you’re after at the price you’re willing to pay. Another suitcase and carry on later, we were sorted.

Not having a budget gives you one less thing to worry about however you must always be weary of the luggage trade off. So Couple tips on packing:

– Bulky items like shoes are lighter but take up more space (try breaking down the shoe boxes and using them in the suitcase lining. You get to keep the box and have a bit of extra protection from those enthusiastic luggage throwers handlers. For extra space, remember shoes are hollow, perfect for storing t-shirts or your ball pit of Gashapon 😉
– Try to distribute heavier items like jeans across your luggage.
– Put delicate items such as glassware, ornaments, model kits and collectibles into your carryon but leave things like snow globes out. Because of the water in them, they are still classed as a prohibited item so make sure you have plenty of bubble wrap and double bagging handy. The store should normally pack them well, if not, pop into a post office for supplies.
– Lastly, if you run out of room, remember jackets don’t have to be classed as luggage. Its easy enough to carry 2 (one on each back pack strap) and spare some precious luggage space.

There you have it, city #1 covered (in a roundabout way) but we’re not done! Stay tuned for the next instalment when we hop, skip and jump over the pond to the city of angels, LA!

Domo Origato! Sayonara! ^__^

Ueno Blossom Festival

Tokyo part #1 – Ueno for a day
Tokyo part #2 – Getting round Tokyo, Ueno Sakura at night
Tokyo part #3 – Harajuku
Tokyo part #4 – Shibuya
Tokyo part #5 – Kichijoji and Shinjuku
Tokyo part #6 – Akihabara

Photo Gallery Here