S: Tokyo, Japan March 30 - April 9, 2012
BC: DEPARTED | JAPAN | 9 APRIL 2012
1: JAPAN | JAPAN | ARRIVED 1 APRIL 2012 | is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
4: SHINJUKU GYOEN NATIONAL PARK is a large park with an eminent garden in Shinjuku and Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. It was originally a residence of the Nait family (Daimyo) in the Edo period
6: JAPANESE SAKURA "cherry blossoms" come into bloom once a year during April/March for only two weeks! It seems everyone in Japan goes crazy talking about the sakura, taking pictures, and having parties.
8: AKIHABARA | is a major shopping area for electronics, anime, and DVD's, including new and used items. New items are mostly to be found on the main street, with many kinds of used items found in the back streets and alleys. We found stores dedicated to Ham Radio, and little booths selling just buttons/switches and LED lights of all sizes. Robbie bought multi-colored LED's for his computer. We also bought 6 Ghibili movies.
10: TOKYO | Disney Sea
13: UENO PARK is a spacious public park in the Tokyo, Japan. The park was established in 1873 on lands formerly belonging to the temple of Kan'ei-ji. Amongst the country's first public parks, it is the home of a number of major museums. Ueno Park is also celebrated in spring for its cherry blossoms and hanami. In recent times the park and its attractions have drawn over ten million visitors a year, making it Japan's most popular city park.
17: Initially built in 1617, during the Edo period the five structures at Nikko Tosho-gu are categorized as National Treasures of Japan, and three more as Important Cultural Properties. Additionally, two swords in the possession of the shrine are National Treasures, and numerous other objects are Important Cultural Properties.
18: Hiking in Nikko National Park and visiting various shrines
20: is famous for its scramble crossing which stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection. Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing, as well as many advertising signs. The Starbucks store overlooking the crossing is also one of the busiest in the world. Its heavy traffic and inundation of advertising has led to it being compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City. | SHIBUYA
24: FOOD We ate lots of yummy traditional Japanese dishes. We tried Okonomiyaki which is a type of pancake (reminded us more of an omelette), fish buns, fish shaped waffles filled with custard, squid balls, Japanese pizza, many other yummy foods, We also managed to cook a chicken pot pie for our host Riota, hist first pie ever!
27: UNAGI We found the best place for unagi, in fact the restaurant only served 3 things, salt water eel, fresh water eel, and a double portion of eel. We didn't know what the menu said so we just ordered the one in the middle. Our chef was amazing, and invited us to watch him prepare our lunch!
29: HARAJUKU is the common name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan. Every Sunday, young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei, and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing. The fashion styles of these youths rarely conform to one particular style and are usually a mesh of many. Most young people gather on Jingu Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that connects Harajuku to the neighboring Meiji Shrine area. Harajuku is also a fashion capital of the world, renowned for its unique street fashion. Harajuku street style is promoted in Japanese and international publications such as Kera, Tune, Gothic & Lolita Bible and Fruits. Many prominent designers and fashion ideas have sprung from Harajuku and incorporated themselves into other fashions throughout the world. Harajuku is also a large shopping district that includes international brands, its own brands, and shops selling clothes young people can afford.
31: Meiji Shrine | MEIJI SHRINE located in Shibuya, Tokyo, it is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shken. Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 700,000 square-meters (about 175 acres). This area is covered by an evergreen forest that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. The forest is visited by many as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo.
37: Farewell Japan... until next time...