Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 10: Spent the day at Tokyo. Night flight back to LCCT, Malaysia.

Well it is Day 10, our last day in Japan. Originally we have not had anything planned for the day, leaving it open....

The night before we had a discussion on what we should do today....I suggested we go to Tokyo Disneyland, but my dear suggested we go to watch the Sumo match.

The decision wasn't that simple.... but in the end we decided to go watch Sumo :(

Sumo matches only run during the season, and each season only runs for 2 weeks. There are 6 seasons in year, and fortunately we were in the right place and right time to see one... Yes, Disneyland would still be there the next time we visit.... :(

In the morning, we had planned to visit the Harajuku area as it was the same JR stop as the one to visit the Meiji Shrine. Once we exited Harajuku JR Station, we could see one of the main street where those who enjoy to play dress-up or Costume Play (Cosplay) gather on Sundays. They would dress in their favourite manga, anime or computer game characters. Unfortunately when we visited on Monday, there was NOT a single person in costume.... NOT ONE.... so sad... No photography opportunity for me. Instead it is a street with shops that sell costumes, clothing and other accessories. We walked around, hoping to catch someone in costume.... but I guess, even these Superheros need a day job...

Here we are at the Torii gate, which is the entrance to the Meiji grounds. The Meiji Shrine was built to Commemorate the late Emperor Meiji and his wife. The entrance is a few minutes walk from the JR station. Once you enter the Meiji grounds, you'll be surrounded by lots of trees, almost like a reserve forest. The path leading to the Meiji Shrine is about 10-15 minutes walk. Once you are 2-3 minutes into the grounds, you forget that you are in the middle of a huge city. Cooling, calm, quiet.... a tranquil feeling you'll get while taking a stroll towards the Meiji Shrine.

Once we arrive at the Shrine, there is a big court yard, with small buildings surrounding it. You'll be able to buy your good luck charms, like those that we saw earlier at the other Temples that we had visited. There was a huge trees in the middle of the court yard, and surrounding it, was these wooden planks (like small wooden notes) that people leave behind, sort of like a wish or blessing. Overall the visit was a quick visit, just to soak up the atmosphere. Lots of locals visit too, to pay their respect. There were lots of other supporting buildings in the Meiji grounds, but those we didn't visit. They had buildings for sports, meetings rooms and other stuff.

The next stop for us is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck. Located at 45th Floor, about 200 meters above ground, it is one of the best observation deck to visit in Tokyo. And the best part..... it is FREE! There are the North and South tower. There was a queue for the lift to go to the observation deck. There were probably about 50 people in front of us, some were locals, and others were tourist like us. The queue move pretty quick, with a lift coming every few minutes to pick up more guests. About 15 minutes we waited for the lift, in the same time went through some security checks.

The view from the observation deck was breathtaking. On a clear day, you'll be able to view the city skyline as well as the Mount Fuji from this very deck. We could see the very faint Mount Fuji, but unfortunately the camera was not able to capture that on.

You can see from the photos that Tokyo's skyline is really dense. And you can see, hundreds if not thousands of buildings from where we are standing. The view from up here, it really gives you the feel that Tokyo is one of the world's busiest and most dense place to stay or work. When you are done admiring the skyline, you can visit the shops setup at the 45th floor, selling touristy stuff.

The last stop of the day is to visit the Sumo Championship. You can find their schedule and other information at their Official Grand Sumo page. I'll write more about the details about your Sumo Championship outing in a separate post.

Our Sumo match ended at about 6pm. When trying to catch the subway back, it was seriously crowded. After waiting at least 2 trains, we managed to board one... it was so PACKED in the train that, we were literally packed like sardines.... I couldn't move my arms ... and it was so packed that, you'll have difficulty breathing... you would NOT have any room to move or maneuver. And when the train stops, its not like you can give way for them to leave, you are literally pushed out as they leave.... so, you'll have to quickly break-away and run back to the train before it gets filled up again... what an experience....

We decided to return to the same place for dinner, to our Spicy Tsukemen place. Tsuekemen post here.

After dinner, we returned to our hotel to pick up our baggaged before heading to the airport.

The journey to the airport was a short one.... but it sure felt like eternity. 10 days has just passed, like light speed, but the last 2 hours.... seems like the slowest one ever... Sad that we would have to leave Japan.... sad that we would not be able to enjoy authentic Japanese food.... sad that we couldn't spend a few more days on the slopes snowboarding.... sad that we couldn't wonder around Tokyo city.....

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