Yoyogi Park and the final day…


(Let me apologize for the huge gap in time between my last post and now.) 

Sunday morning was here (the final day of my trip) and I woke up finding it very difficult to get out of bed. The alarm went off at 9am, and I forced myself to stay awake by turning on the TV. After a half hour, I finally dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and did the last bit of packing.

Then it was time to eat some breakfast. I brewed some coffee, via the instant drip coffee provided in the room, and ate the last of the yogurt with Frosties.  And as I sat eating, I could see a ceremony (or performance involving drums) taking place on the street far below. I wish I had known about it, I would have tried to get up earlier to see it. Oh well.

With breakfast eaten, it was time to call home but it was now 10:50am and I had to checkout by 11am. So instead, I took a few last pictures of the room, bid it farewell and hurried to the elevators.

I checked out, left my luggage with the bellhop and found a quiet spot in the hotel lobby to call home. As we talked I decided that it was time to sample the Yamazaki brand Hot Cake Sand or ホットケーキサンド, that I had been carrying around since my visit to Koyasan six days earlier. Why I hadn’t eaten it yet I couldn’t really say.


I opened it up with great anticipation! What great deliciousness lay inside- butter and syrupy goodness perhaps? In fact…no, it was pretty terrible, no deliciousness at all. Maybe because it was three days a past it’s suggested freshness date? I doubt that, I think it would have been just as bad if I had eaten the day I bought it.

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Shinjuku: Kabukicho and Piss Alley


I arrived at Shinjuku Station tired, but in no way ready to go back to my hotel. I exited  the station and decided to head towards the Kabukicho area, just to the north of station, with the hope of finding something interesting.

Emerging from the station, I found myself on Shinjuku-dori (Shinjuku Street) facing the local landmark, Studio Alta. (Studio Alta is mostly know for the massive TV screen that adorns the front of the building. But it’s also a shopping center with a TV station located on the top floor. I’ve never actually gone inside Studio Alta in all the times I’ve been in Shinjuku, not sure why. Next time I suppose.)

After a short wait for the light to change at the crosswalk, I made my way further north, walking through the small streets and alleys packed with restaurants and arcades until I reached Yasukuni-dori where, on the opposite side of the street, resided the famed Kabukicho area.  And marking the entrance to it, was the familiar (to me) big, red illuminated gate.


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Rainy Shibuya

Riding the Yamanote line train to Shibuya (from Tokyo Tower), gave me a chance to rest my feet and let my mind wander. I started thinking maybe I should go back to my hotel and drop off some unnecessary gear, but quickly dismissed the idea, as going all the way back to Shinjuku just to turn around and come back to Shibuya (which I was going to be passing right through) would’ve been a waste of time on the final night of this trip.

Nonstop to Shibuya it would be.

The ride was quick and I exited out of Shibuya station via the entrance near the statue of Hachiko the dog, adjacent to the huge (and famous) intersection known as “Hachiko Crossing”. I was surprised to see that it had again been raining while I was on the train (like it had earlier on my way to Ueno.) The ground was now nice and shiny, and wet. It was going to be raining again soon, that was for sure.

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Tokyo Tower

I made my way south to Tokyo Tower from Okachimachi station to Hamamatsu-cho station, via the Yamanote line. The sun seemed like it was really trying to break out of the clouds along the way.

Hamamatsu-cho station was still familiar to me from the week before so navigating through it was nice and quick. Emerging out onto the street in front of the World Trade Center Building that sits next the station, I hopped in a taxi and made my way to Tokyo Tower.

The ride was actually much shorter than I’d anticipated, and before I knew it, I’d arrived right in front of the ticket windows of Tokyo Tower.

Standing on the ground and looking skyward, Tokyo Tower was impressive enough, with it’s international orange painted girders’s reaching high into the sky above. Maybe it’s not as elegant as say the Eiffel Tower, but it’s still magnificent enough and I was looking forward to the grand views of Tokyo that awaited me. The tower itself is 1,093 feet tall with the main observation deck located just about halfway up at a height of 450 feet. There is a higher deck (at 820ft high) but it seemed to have long wait for it, so I passed on it.

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