7:51 AM

A few chill-out days

After the excitement of Disney, Jamie and I needed a few days to kick back and relax. On the Wednesday after Disney Sea, we just walked around to check the Shinjuku area, which is where our hotel is.
We aren't sure what this building is just yet. It was just built, and it's still empty inside.

Not far from us is the Metropolitan building, which is like city hall. There are free elevators that you can ride up to the top of each of the north and south towers.

That night, we took it easy, and just strolled around Akihabara, the renowned electronics paradise. No buying though, just some scoping out.

On Thursday, we went out to Yokohama for the day.
That little water taxi is called the Sea Bass here. We're sure that what they actually meant was Sea BUS, but got the translation from Japanese phonetic to English wrong.

On Saturday, we went to this amazing spa park near Hakone. No photos, but here's a link to the place we went to. We had a super relaxing time!

Sunday, I met up with my friend Jamie, and enjoyed a trip to a chocolate cafe! So yummy!
We then trolled through Akihabara, down the back alleys looking for good deals. We bought a new 4GB USB drive, and an R4 chip for our Nintendo DS.
We had a great time hanging out together!

Tomorrow, we're off to the Ghibli Museum! Yay!

6:06 AM

Disney Sea - the real post

Okay, here's my post for real. First off, I gotta say that I loved, loved, LOVED Disney Sea. The park is absolute beautiful.

Mediterranean Harbour
Mystery Island, which is pretty much a replica of Vulcania from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Arabian Coast, which is patterned after Agrabah from Aladdin
Mermaid Lagoon, with the impressive castle from The Little Mermaid
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull, the adventure ride (super fun!)
This ride is unique to Disney Sea considering Disney never made a Sinbad cartoon. I totally loved this ride thanks to its insane cuteness.
This ride comes complete with an Alan Menken composed song that plays through the ride quite the same way It's A Small World does for the ride of its namesake. The song is really catchy, and after riding Sinbad twice, I had it quite stuck in my head - and still do!

They even have some really impressive water shows in the middle of the harbour. We got some photos of The Legend of Mythica, but not of the evening BraviSEAmo show (too dark for good photos).
And wow, were those jet-ski riders impressive!

The Explorers Fortress was super fun - there were all sort of Da Vinci replicas around for us to play with!
A huge Foucalt's Pendulum
Jamie's personal favourite: an orrery!

As you can see, this version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is quite different from the US version. You can even control little spotlights to put attention on all sorts of different things. Super fun!

The front of quite possibly our favourite ride in the park - Storm Rider!


Bye-bye, Tokyo Disney! We had a super-duper time!!

7:07 AM

Disney Sea

Sorry folks, but I'm feeling lazy right now. Disney Sea was completely amazing, with some of the best theme-ing I've ever seen in a park (and no, it's not a Marineland type of place). I'm going to direct you to my Flickr photostream of the photos we took there. I'll write a bit more about it another time. It really was an amazing place, with lots of fun and unique rides, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Click here to see our photos.

6:05 AM

Tokyo Disneyland!!

Okay. I love Disney stuff. And when I say love it, I mean I LOVE it. Considering the crowds we saw, I'd have to say that lots of Japanese (and Korean and Chinese) people love Disney too. This year is the 25th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland, and there was a lot around to remind us of it.

We got a two-day pass, one day at Tokyo Disneyland, and one day at Disney Sea. We spent our first day at Disneyland, which is pretty much made up of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland from Disney World. Lots of familiar things, and some new things too. Click this link to see my entire Flickr photostream for Disneyland. Here's the "highlight reel".

(Our awesome river guide on the Jungle Cruise)
(This car drives around spraying people with water to keep them cool)
(The front of It's a Small World)
(Me buying some of the most awesome dessert in the park - frozen mango)
(Pooh's Hunny Hunt is one of the unique rides to Disney Tokyo. They don't allow pictures inside, unlike other rides. This ride is INCREDIBLY popular - you honestly won't believe it. It was seriously the longest line in the entire two parks that we experienced. We learned later that of all the rides, this is the one that they recommend getting a Fast Pass for. Pooh is a super, super popular character here. I think Stitch comes second.)

There was also a lot of different headgear available that was really just super adorable.
(Pooh ears)
(Haunted Mansion Minnie)
(Pirates of the Caribbean)
(Waiting for the night show to start by the castle. They have a neat system here for how they decide where you can sit for the show. You enter a lottery where you can get seats in the reserved area, a spot in the reserved standing area, or nothing, in which case you have to fend for yourself. We were lucky enough to get seats in the centre front section!!)

Next post, Disney Sea!!

8:17 AM

New and Old

On Saturday, Jamie and I headed over to Odaiba, which is made completely out of reclaimed land. It's a mecca of shopping and entertainment, and attracts both tourists and locals alike. To get there, you take an unmanned train that runs on rubber tires, and not a regular track.

Some scenes from Odaiba...
(Beach volleyball anyone? As you can probably tell, it was a super hot day)

Being a super hot day, we decided that we needed some refuge from the sun and humidity. Good thing we weren't too far from Decks and Aqua City (two really big malls).
As you can see from the photo, the Sega Joypolis was just waiting for us to visit, so who were we to say no? After all, what trip to Japan is complete without a plethora of video games?
Joypolis actually had a lot more than just video games; it also had some really great simulator rides which I enjoyed a lot.

Odaiba is also the home of Fuji TV, a really big ferris wheel, and something called The Big Sight.

Today, we took a 3.5 hour Shinkansen (aka Bullet Train) ride to Himeji so we could see the Himeji Castle, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally built in the 1300's, it was demolished then rebuilt in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It remained in use until 1868, then restored in 1956 to its current condition. With its white walls and unique architecture, the castle is supposed to give one the impression of a white heron in flight. Visitors are allowed to walk around the grounds, as well as in the main tower, and a few other satellite buildings, though be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering.

Guess they weren't that tall back then.
Some of the various family crests adorning the castle.
Jamie and the Main Tower.
A small door leading to a hidden room where soliders could lie in wait for any invaders who might have made it that far, or where supplies could be stored.
A view from the top.
The entranceway to the castle complex.

Tomorrow and Tuesday - Disneyland and Disney Sea!!