Saturday, April 30, 2016

DAY 5 - TOKYO DISNEYLAND RESORT (Part I)


Train ride from Asakusa to Tokyo Disneyland was a bit tricky as you need to traverse three (3) train lines (with 3 trolley bags and 2 backpacks).

We thought of hiring a taxi, but was a bit turned off with the unjust fare of Y8400 (about P3700) for a taxi ride. So we braved the dependable and cheap train ride, which only cost about Y1900 (about P840).

Ginza Line: Asakusa to Ueno
Hibiya Line: Ueno to Hatchobori
Keiyo Line: Hatchobori to Maihama

TIP: Study Japan's train system well. Plan your train rides/transfers. You can use google map for this.  Other android applications which proved useful during our train planning were:
Tokyo Rail Map Lite and Tokyo Subway Navigation.


The sign that told us we were still on the right track.

We arrived at the Maihama Station after 45mins.  The travel went well, despite a little mishap. We took the stairs, unknowing that there was an elevator while transferring to  Hibiya to Keiyo line (Oh, my poor husband who had to carry most of our luggage).

We arrived at Tokyo Disneyland Resort (TDR) at 9am and headed to the Tokyo Disney Resort Welcome Center.  The TDR center is located left of Maihama Station.  TDR Hotel guests may leave their luggage here (if arriving earlier than the hotel check-in time) and buy themepark tickets. 



 

We pre-booked a room at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for two (2) nights.  It was quite expensive than settling for a hotel outside the TDR complex, but it was very convenient. And hey, we will be sleeping right next to Mickey Mouse.

We got a 3 days Magic Passport which allowed us one day each  at Tokyo Disney Sea (TDS) and Tokyo Disney Land (TDL) and a free day at either TDS or TDL.

At the back is our hotel for 3 days and 2 nights ~ Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

After depositing our bags at the TDR Welcome Center, we proceeded to Tokyo Disney Land.


Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Check out Day 5 of our Tokyo Japan adventure. 
DAY 5 - TOKYO DISNEYLAND RESORT (Part II -TeamPetilla conquers Tokyo Disney Land) 

DAY 4 - TOKYO JAPAN (UENO)

For our DAY 4 in Tokyo, we went to UENO PARK.  

We left ASAKUSA at 8am for UENO Park.  Ueno is just 3 stops from Asakusa via the Ginza Line.

830am - Breakfast at Hard Rock Café.  We wanted to fill our tummy big time, before touring Ueno's huge park.






Ueno Park is a vast area comprising of a zoo, a huge pond and numerous museums.  It is generally a good  place to go people watching especially on weekends. Tons of Japanese families head here with their children for some family bonding time.
We came in a little late for the Sakura festival ~ when cherry trees are I full bloom.  We were just glad that there were still a few cherry blossom trees lining Ueno park when we visited (I guess they were waiting for us).
 


There were a lot people performing in the park to keep guests entertained (there where various dancing, playing musical instruments and even magicians). We chanced upon this group of Japanese in kimono doing, which we guessed is a traditional Japanese dancing.


There was a little drizzle of rain, so instead of doing Ueno Zoo, we decided to do one of Ueno's multitude of museums - NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE.

TIP: Compared to MIRAIKAN, which we visited in Odaiba, the National Museum of Nature and Science offers an English Guide that guests can rent.  I recommend you rent one to make your tour of the museum more worthwhile.

The English Guide is so easy to operate.  You can request one at the admission counter.










TIP: Don't miss Theater 360degrees. This movie theater in the round is enough reason to visit this museum. 

We left the park at 4pm and headed to Ameyoko. It is a Japaness version of  Manila's Divisoria, but clean.  Prices of goods here is lower compared to the ones I have seen in Nakamise in Asakusa.
It is good place to do your "pasalubong shopping". 





Before heading home, we had dinner at Fridays. 
We were famished from all our walking and needed the carbo to bring us home.




Happy Day today...  nobody got lost :P

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DAY 3 - TOKYO JAPAN (From Tokyo to Nikko)

DAY 3 is all about EDO.  Edo is the former name of Tokyo and the seat of power from 1603  to 1868.  To me it is the old mystical Japan ~ the world of Ninjas, Geishas and Samurai. 

We travelled 160 kilometers from Tokyo to Nikko-Shi to visit EDO WONDERLAND.  A theme park dedicated to the Edo period and living.  

We left the condo at about 7am, to catch an early 8am express train ride via the Tobu Railway. 

We bought the Kinugawa Theme park Pass at the Tobu Sightseeing  Service Center (opens at 730am). The Kinugawa Themepark is a discount all-in pass for tourists. Park entrance fees, round trip train ride and bus ride.

The pass gives you the option of 1 or 2 theme parks (Tobu World and Edo Wonderland).  We just got the Edo Wonderland, since my boys would probably be too tired playing ninjas, to try squeeze in a trip to Tobu World.  

The pass cost Y6180/adult and Y3090/children.  You need to pay extra to board an express train.


Here is the link for the detailed location - Tobu Sightseeing Service Center

 

Ride onboard the express train is smooth as expected.  The train is clean and well maintained. There are also rest rooms and  meals you can buy and eat onboard.

We arrived at Kinugawa Onsen Station after 2 1/2 hours.  From the train station, we walked our way to the bus station (#5) which stops at Edo Wonderland. 

TIP: Be sure to ask for a bus schedule from the Tobu Sightseeing Service Center.  There were bus schedules posted at the bus stops, but they were in Japanese (lol).

The first column is the hour, while the second column is the minutes during spring-summer and third column is the minutes during autumn and winter.

We visited in spring time. We arrived at around 1030 and missed the 1025 bus.  So we had to wait for the next one at 1045.  Easy right (NOT)?

After a 15 minutes bus ride...

Welcome to Edo Wonderland!




You have to exchange you Kinugawa Themepark Pass for Edo Wonderland entrance tickets at the admission.  A pretty lady in kimono warmly welcomed us (yes transactions, all in Japanese and HAND gestures).



These gates transport guests to Old Tokyo.

The Edo Wonderland park is magnificent and we are glad we've included it our itinerary.  It may seem a bit too much Yen, but the experience is one, we will always remember.

Here are some of the pictures we have taken.

 




The park runs multiple shows, parades and Edo period activities for the family to enjoy.

Samurai show.

The Geisha show was so fun to watch.  

There were two other ninja shows we have seen (really breathtaking, I so admire the actors commitment to their work, unfortunately cameras were not allowed inside the theaters).

One of the activities we enjoyed is this Ninja maze.  We got lost and took the easiest way out, but what the heck, we had so much fun. 


Literally LOST in JAPAN :P


Papa trying his skills with Shuriken...







There is no lack of food in the Edo Period.  We entered a Japanese restaurant and was given an English menu.  I think we were a bit hungry, from all the Ninja stunts we've seen earlier and ordered three of this hefty meal. There were cheaper more affordable options, but we were really hungry!




We left Edo Wonderland at 4pm and traced the road back to bus stop (which was just outside the park) and the Kinugawa Onsen Station to take a train back to Asakusa.

For more information about Edo Wonderland, please check out their webpage -


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Friday, April 29, 2016

DAY 2 - TOKYO JAPAN (Welcome to Odaiba)

Aside from Tokyo Disneyland Resort, ODAIBA is the next best children's paradise in Tokyo.  It has everything to keep busy bodies ~ (really) busy.

We left the condo at 8am to have breakfast at McDonalds (the boys were missing their burgers).

Sorry... no rice here.

From Asakusa, we took the Ginza line to Shimbashi Station, where we transferred to Yurikamome Line.  We initially wanted to try out the Sumida River Cruise via Himiko, however we find it's first trip schedule rather late. 

TIP: Note that on all these train transfers, our PASMO card can be used.


DAY 2 - WELCOME TO ODAIBA

Our STOPS...


930am - STOP 1: MIRAIKAN (aka. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation).

9th Station from Shimbashi is the Telecom Center Station.  It was a huge  5 level building housing various science exhibits.  However, there were very little (if none) English translations of the exhibits. This was a bit of a let down for tourist.  The exhibits though were hands down grand and looks well funded.

The huge globe at the back, runs multiple shows on various global nature concerns.

This girl right here is an android. She was moving and talking. I think she tried to make a conversation with us (but, you have guessed it right, she only speaks Japanese).
  

This is an actual rocket capsule. 


We were supposed to take the free Shuttle Bus serving Odaiba, but we were unsuccessful finding the stop at Miraikan... so we did the next best thing...WALK.


113am - STOP 2: DIVER CITY
We walked our way to Diver City where the famous life-sized Gundam is displayed (I am not a fan of Gundam,  I actually prefer "Shaider", but oh the stuffs you do when you travel with boys)



It was about 10 minutes (or more) walk from Miraikan. It could be quite a lot if you are tagging kids along, but the cool weather and the beautifully manicured garden kept us energized.






We had lunch at Diver City's food court.  It was a Japanese cuisine overload for us. We had such a hard time deciding what to eat (as everything looked delicious), we ended ordering from 3 food stalls. 

The food stalls either have a pictured menu or a fake food on display. You can just point at the ones you like, the food attendant will easily understand your cue.  You will be given a number which is also a buzzer.  It will buzz once your order is ready for pick up.






TIP: Bottled water is expensive (Y180-Y210 per bottled drink, depending on where you are buying). I think the cheapest we had was bought from 7 11 or  Family Mart convenience store. We bring our plastic water bottles and just refill them in strategically located drinking fountains (You would find these near rest rooms in food courts).

TIP: Weather is freezing cold, even is spring time. The temperature while we were there drops to a low 12 degrees, especially early mornings and night time. However, it can get pretty hot inside malls and museums, so better bring layered clothing, which you can easily take off when you are inside a building.

Diver City also houses the Hello Kitty Cafe and a Daiso. Now I am happy.

At Hello Kitty Café

 



Exploring Daiso, Odaiba 



We walked our way to PALETTE Town (yup more walking)

2pm - STOP 3: PALETTE TOWN
More boys' activities awaits us at Palette Town. We went to

History of Cars Garage (at Venus Fort) a premier museum of vintage cars.  The collection is really amazing.  My men's eyes drooled big time. 






Then off to TOYOTA MEGA WEB, a huge complex where you can see and even ride the latest and coolest cars to hit the market (at least the Japanese market).

TIP: You can also test ride cars, but you will be needing an international driver's license for that.

Just look at this hybrid - PINK car. It was really love at first sight :P 



4pm - STOP 4: AQUA CITY
We took the Yurikamome line from Aomi Station (located just outside Toyota Mega Web) then got off at Daiba Station. 

Aqua City has the best view of the Odaiba's Rainbow Bridge (a suspension bridge connecting Odaiba to the heart of Tokyo). 



Here we saw a replica of the Statue of Liberty



5pm - STOP 5: DECKS
Our next stop is DECKS, which is just a short stroll away Aqua City.  Decks houses numerous family friendly attractions such as: Trick Art Museum, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Joypolis Amusement Park

We have been to 3D Art Museums, LEGOLAND Malaysia and Madame Tussaud in Hongkong and Singapore, so we gave these a pass and headed straight to Sega Joypolis.  Joypolis is an indoor amusement park cross arcade.  It was a definite hit with my boys, who are both into arcades.  I don't think young children will enjoy it though.

TIP: Save on entrance fees. Present your passport and get discounted rates. We also availed of the Night Passport (5pm entrance) which cost only a fraction of the full ticket. To get the most of Joypolis, visit on a weekday. There were very few people when we came and was able to finish the major attractions in a hour.

(Sorry No Pictures, cameras were not allowed).

Instead you can view more of Joypolis in their website, link posted here - JOYPOLIS DECKS ODAIBA

From Joypolis we headed upstairs to Odaiba 1 Chome Shopping Steet. It is a good place to start souvenir shopping.

We also dropped by the Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) Museum. It is actually a food court selling Takoyaki specialties.   


I just fell in love with Takoyaki.

We left DECKS at 7pm.

From DECK, we walked our way to the nearest train station, which is Odaiba-Kaihin-Koen Station. From here we again took the Yurikamome line to Shimbashi Station, before transferring back to Ginza Line to go home to Asakusa.

730pm - We forgot we only had small portions of Takoyaki at DECKS for dinner, so we headed to 7 11 for some pastries and ramen, before finally retiring at 9pm.

Good night my tired (but happy) feet :P 


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