Saturday, April 14, 2012

Japan Report: Ueno, Shinjuku (TMG) and Roponggi Hills

How are you?  I hope you are doing well!  I guess, this is the last leg of my Tokyo Travel Report, but don't worry, I will be writing more on "How To's" especially for first time Japan Travelers like us!  I will also create a post on how to commute cheaper in Tokyo and I'm proud to say, we did not overspend because we researched a lot prior to going there!  Well, hats off to Mr. AMW for researching the most!

Of course, the weekend food tripping Japan Version will be available for you to read and "feel" on Sunday! :)

Ueno is the first station we went up to the moment we arrived from Narita Airport.  We were supposed to transfer from Ueno station to Asakusa via Hibiya Line but we ended up exiting to the streets.  It was really cold and windy that night and instead of getting worried, Mr. AMW pulled out his camera and took shots of our first "touch base" of Tokyo.  

To make the long story short, we did go back to Ueno (this time, without heavy luggage) and we've decided to take a look at Ueno Park for night time Sakura watching.  Who would've thought this greeted us?


The timing of our trip was just PERFECT., this reminded me so much of Midnight Mercato back home but with the cooler weather!  Before we head on to the main "street" going towards the temple, we stopped for a quick order of Takoyaki!  I am so happy when Mr. AMW told me the seller handed the last set of Takoyaki to a beggar!  What a nice man!


Ueno Park is next to the Ueno Station.  Base on research, the park grounds were originally part of Keniji Temple, which used to be one of the city's largest and wealthiest temple.  I guess that's the reason why I can't seem to pinpoint if this is a park or a temple.  I guess it's both!

As usual, prior to going to the temple grounds, we washed our hands and rinsed our mouth.  Mr. AMW and I knew nothing about what needs to be done so we just went in together, said a silent prayer and we both made noise just like everybody else! 
 

You can write your wishes here

 

We walked further down to the strip of food stalls and looked around!  We had an ocular inspection first before we decided our final buy!  *laughs*


Sweet Potato sticks (Japanese Style)


Random Yakitoris


more Yakitoris

 
Random meat cooked in boiling water 
Just like Shabu-Shabu

Chocolate covered bananas on stick


A man making Takoyaki

Turkey Legs!

Base on the Japanese character, I don't think this is Okonomiyaki
I think this looks like egg with vegetables? *help!*


Pancakes



Aside from food, you will see random carnival games both kids and adult alike would like to try! 

 

This is quite famous and I've seen this in a lot of animes!  You pay a certain amount and you get a scoop made of thin paper, you get the fish once you put it in the can!  It sounds difficult but the girl got 3! :)


It was perfect for us to be able to experience how Japanese celebrate or hold their festivities!

How to go to Ueno Park ---
Ueno Park is next to JR Ueno Station.  Go out of "Park Exit" and you'll see it immediately!


Next destination - Roppongi!
Roppongi Hills is located at Roppongi.  The place is quite modern and reminded me of business districts like that of Makati (local city).  

Roppongi has 2 cities within the city, one is Roppongi Hills and the other one is Tokyo Midtown.  Since Japanese culture is what we're aiming for, we've decided to pick one and went for Roppongi Hills.  
Roppongi Hills is known for its nightlife district and true enough, it is traveler-friendly as most restaurants or bars would have a separate English menu.





The building is quite huge and there are many facilities within the building complex.  Roppongi Hills Club, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo City View (to see the overview of Tokyo), Shops, Restaurants, Movie Theater, you ask for it, you'll get it! 
 .

In here, you can book your movie tickets and even the One Piece Show.  All you need to do is book your slot and pay for the specific time and come back!  We tried checking on the next available One Piece Show but we were told only the 6:00pm slot is available and it was only 1:00pm when we asked the lady! 

One Piece Show is on the 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills and show time is only from March 20, 2012 to June 17, 2012! Entrance fee is around JPY2,000 (approx Php1,000/ $23.50)
If you can read Japanese check out www.onepiece-ten.com


And there's a weird looking public art called Maman made by sculptor Louise Bourgeois!  Okay, if you're scared of spiders I don't think you'll enjoy posing here! 

Now, to those who wants to save up on paying entrance fee for city view?  Come, follow me!

Thanks to wonderful friends who recommended this place, I originally wanted to visit here just to check out Mt. Fuji, eventhough I wasn't able to see it, this is definitely a good place to start exploring Tokyo in 360 degrees view (again) FOR FREE!

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building or TMG is located at Shinjuku!  Shinjuku area is ONE hell of a busy street but luckily, we head there on a Sunday and just in LUCK (again), the TMG observation decks are open even on weekends!  *whew*

Once you get in the TMG building, you can find the Tokyo Tourist Information Center with a whole lot maps, travel booklets, and a lot more in various languages!  There are also 2 computers available for anyone who's in need to check something over the internet! 

Now on to the good stuff!  There are 2 wings to view the city of Tokyo, the North and South Observatory.  As advised by the lovely lady at the Tourist Information Center, South wing closes earlier but the viewing deck is bigger!  

There were lines and there are security people who would help facilitate the guests.


At the 45th Floor, once you get out of the elevator, you will see 360 degrees of clear glass for your viewing pleasure!  I spotted Tokyo Tower right away!


Meiji Shrine
Yup, the whole green thing is the 750,000 hectares of land!

There were also posters that would show you the names of the buildings you see!  The blue arrow done by yours truly is supposed to be the area where you can see Mt. Fuji on a "lucky day"!  


Keep in mind: 
  • South Observatory is bigger but closes at 5:30pm (this only closes at 11:00pm on days that the North Observatory is closed)
  • North Observatory closes at 11:00pm.
  • Both observatories are open starting at 9:30am.
  • Closing days:  South closes first and third Tuesday of every month.  North closes second and fourth Monday of every month.
  • ADMISSION IS FREE!
After a relaxing viewing of the city of Tokyo, we've decided to walk around a bit and headed to the Shinjuku Chuo Park.


The park is situated in between the tall buildings at the west exit area of Shinjuku station.  Anyone can come in to relax and since it was a Sunday, we saw a lot of people enjoying Sakura viewing!

This is called "HANAMI", Hanami is the practice of picnicking under Cherry Blossoms and have lunch/dinner, drink sake and play games!  Some where even singing and dancing!


Full bloomed Sakura


Though there were a lot of people, I'm glad most of them were taking care of the garbage!  I see them throwing huge plastic bags on trash bins!


Overall, I think our trip was done in such a manner where everything went on like a breeze!  A day of relaxation like this, to walk around the city and observe what Japanese people loves to do!  Thanks to my ultimate travel partner Mr. AMW whom I shared a lot of laughs and mini arguments about the Subway station lines!  *laughs*

I have learned so much for this trip and I can't wait to go back to Japan...someday!

Out of all the reporting I've done, which place struck you the most and made you want to visit Tokyo?

Keep smilin'
Stay happy!




8 comments:

  1. Hello Nikki!! i love reading your travel posts!! lage ko nga sya inaantay! (I actually follow Sophie's din :))
    I have one request though...can you also put the prices :)
    para your readers will have an idea how much we will need to go to a country like Japan...

    Thank you Nikki!!

    I hope if it is not much bother with you,,,how did you get your visas din :)
    sensya dami kong demands..hehe..if you will have time lng :)

    I forgot to ask you about your Korea visa din e :) hehehehhe

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leilani, I'm happy you liked reading my travel posts, sorry if I did not put the prices on some items coz that just shows I don't remember it! hehehe But rest assured, you'll see prices naman on most of the food related stuff when you zoom in photos or I will usually write it down if I remember

      Kindly wait for the details on how to get visas and re: Korea, I blogged about it already

      http://www.askmewhats.com/search/label/Korea

      Hope this helps

      Delete
  2. omg.. nice i could see ueno park @ your blog..
    hope you post more more more about japan ^^
    waiting for it dear..
    hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup! Ueno Park is love! have you been there too? :)

      Delete
  3. Beautiful place. I miss Japan. I studied there back in '06-'08

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow for 2 years, I'm sure you will miss it! I've only been there for a week or less and I missed Japan a LOT~!!!

      Delete
  4. Actually, Meiji Shrine is directly next to Yoyogi Park. That's why it seems so big.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info, but even with just Meiji Shrine, it seems big enough already! :)

      Delete

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