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Tokyo Disney Resort

. May 12th & 13th, Travel Day(s)
. May 14th - Tokyo Disneyland
. May 15th - Tokyo DisneySeas
. May 16th - Park Hopping


Tokyo

. May 17th - Ghibli Museum
. May 18th - Tokyo and Kabuki
. May 19th - Home Again


Related Links

. Helpful Planning Links
. Lens Tokyo 2003 Site
. Lens MousePlanet Review
. Original MousePlanet Article


Our Other Trips

. Summer 2006 - England Again
. Summer 2005 - Sailing BVI
. Summer 2004 - Frickin England
. Spring 2003 - Tokyo & Disneyland
. Spring 2001 - WDW Florida
. Spring 2000 - England, Scotland
. Fall 1998 - UK, Disney Paris, QE2





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email to: Kel and Len

Page last modified April 26 2014 17:34.

Day 6 - Sun. May 18th, 2003 - Tokyo & Kabuki

Rain & drizzle
Kel
HR Line

  Woke up at 4am. Damned jet lag. Got dressed quietly and went downstairs to head out the door at 6:30. Lights are off, door is locked, and no clerk. We waited about 10 mins whispering there, trying to figure how to get outside. Len found a door on the side that had a standard deadbolt we could undo. We weren't crazy about leaving the keys just any old place on the counter, and it was too dark to see if there was somewhere we could drop them. With some misgivings we tucked them behind a towel that had been set there and wondered who would end up finding them first, and then let ourselves out.

  We had breakfast at Dennys (just couldn't resist trying it). The menu was more dinner than breakfast, we think it was due to 7am being still Sat. night, and all the late nighters just coming home. We did find French toast, Melissa had a club sandwich and Pat had a curry omelette he quite enjoyed. We made it to the Crown Plaza Metropolitan hotel with 15 mins to spare before the Tokyo Morning Tour was to arrive. There is a Friendly Limo desk in the entrance, so we were able to make reservations for tomorrows ride to Narita while we were waiting. They advised that we should go for the 1pm shuttle and not the 2pm for our 17:50 flight. They were right as it turned out.

  The bus picked us up, made a few stops at other hotels to pick up more people, and then delivered us to the Hamamasutcho Bus Terminal for our Tokyo Morning Tour. While our guide spoke English, she spoke it very quickly and with a bit more accent than I could understand in a few spots. It didn't help her mic was bad. Luckily they had a spare.

  The first stop was Tokyo Tower, a landmark usually compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Tokyo Tower was built in 1958. There are two observation platforms, and we started at the higher of the two. The would have been stunning if the weather had been better but it was great even so. There are displays along the windows, showing what you're looking at, but they were all in Japanese, so we had to guess a bit. Our guide was explaining what much of it was. Then a stop at the lower floor, where they have clear panels inset, so you can look directly down. A little disconcerting at first.

  The tour then made a 5 min. photo stop at the Imperial Palace Gardens There we finally got a few pictures that had a feel of old Japan, instead of just 'big city'. From there we went on to the temple at Asakusa.   It was a festival day, so the place was packed like a sardine can. I'm not certain which festival exactly, as there's the Kanda-Matsuri which happens on the weekend closest to May 15th in odd numbered years, or the Sanja-Matsuri which is the 3rd weekend in May. Or maybe it was both. Groups of people take the shrines out and parade them thru the area. It was great to see, if I had been able to see it, anyway. It was impossible to go anywhere very directly, and the 4 of us got separated quickly. They'd taken the famous lantern down, so we missed that. Once we were able to get to Nakamise-dori we thought the crowds would thin. Only enough for Len to catch me, and us to eventually migrate off towards the side. We did find a cool T-shirt for Matt. About half way down we cut into a side street to get away from the masses. Pat was able to actually get all the way down to the temple and take some great pics. Normally the tour can get right up to it, but as the roads were closed we had to set up meeting points where the bus could get to us.

  There was a bit of a delay contacting the bus to pick us up again, but it was all settled eventually and away we went to the pearl gallery via Ginza. Ginza is interesting to see, but all of our guides advised against shopping there unless you like to burn money.

 The Tasaki Pearl gallery ushered us all upstairs to a demonstration room where they explained the process of producing pearls and how they're graded on colour,size luster and flaws. We chose numbers and when an oyster was opened, one lucky number was pulled as the winner of the pearl. The demonstration finished with a chance to browse the sales floor of all their expensive goodies before their buses take you back to various places. We got back to the hotel about 2pm and had time to change for dinner and confirm we still had the room before heading out again.

 A quick trip around the Yamanote line brought us to Akihabara for 90 mins of window shopping. And some not-window shopping. I tried really hard to justify getting one of the itty bitty Casio digital Exilim cameras, but as the Canon S100 really works fine for what we do, I just couldn't do it. I just loved the colour selection. I could have played there all day.

 While we were in the Disney Resort we noticed that the ratio of women to men was about 3:1. And nearly everywhere else we went we saw the same thing and wondered where all the guys had gone. Now we know - Akihabara. Techno-fiend heaven. Electronics, Appliances, Games and Computer stores 6 stories tall and spread for blocks and blocks. There are no great "deals" to really be had there, but there's a lot of stuff not commonly found here.

 All too quickly it was time to get back on track to the Hamamasutcho Bus Terminal for the Kabuki Dinner Tour. Our guide this time was really good and had a wonderfully dry sense of humour and some interesting stories. Dinner was a restaurant on the waterfront, and our choice of Sashimi, Sukiyaki or Tempura. On the way into the restaurant we paused on the patio for a look out at the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Bay.

 Dinner was excellent. Melissa and ourselves went for the sashimi and Pat had the tempura. it was a full meal with appetizer, soup, entree, tea and dessert. There was even a small glass of plum wine. The appetizer was 3 small dishes served in a basket. One was a green tea sort of custard, one was a rice and roe, and the third was a spinach something. The entree was miso soup, an egg custard/soup dish,, a small carrot and seaweed salad, rice, and 4 types of sashimi, with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

 Our guide ushered us back to the bus and explained about Kabuki, in addition to the flyer he'd given us at the start. We would only be seeing part of a performance, as a full performance can last 4 or 5 hours. The Kabuki Theatre has a live native-English speaking commentary you can rent. It really made a difference to keep track of what all was going on. We saw the last part of Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijo(Shinza, the Barber) and the Kappore dance segment. Shinza the Barber is a more traditional drama about saving the girl with cunning, and the expected fight at the end and the 'mie' posing.

 The final section was the Kappore, which includes modern references and is constantly updated. Its more comedy based, and the one we saw featured baseball players and cheerleaders. Our guide said that women tend to drag their husbands out for a night at the theatre for special occasions. There were quite a few women in very formal kimono and obi. The tour dropped us off at Tokyo Stn. and we took the train back to the Kimi.

 Our route walks us right past the Tengu place, so we stopped in for a nightcap to celebrate our last night in Tokyo with a little sake. It didn't hurt that it also helps combat the 4am jet lag morning blues.

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