If you've never heard of Airbnb, check. it. out.
Even better, click on this code to sign up! It's completely free, and you'll be able to find some great deals on places to stay in any city and in (almost) any country.
Besides water and shade, our Airbnb has been one of the most important aspects of this trip. We are staying in Shinjuku, and are only a 5 minute walk away from a Metro station. We were able to book the apartment for the entire week, and it's been nice having a "home" to come back to every night (and sometimes in the middle of the day).
On our third day in Tokyo we started by visiting the Metropolitan Government Building (TOCHO). We had attempted to visit this building on our first day in the city, but we found out that it's closed on weekends. On this particular day, the North Observatory Tower was closed, but we were still able to go up to the top of the South Tower. From 202 meters in the air, we were given another great view of the city.
While it wasn't as spectacular as the Tokyo Skytree, it definitely won in affordability: the cost to go up to the observatories is free. Also, if you're on a time crunch, the TOCHO is the way to go. We had to wait in line twice: once to go up to the observatory & again to come back down, but both moved pretty quickly.
From the TOCHO, we walked to the Meiji Jingu. Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, whose souls are said to be enshrined there. After the Emperor and Empress passed, 100,000 trees were donated to create a forest around the shrine to further commemorate and honor these two leaders.
At the shrine, there were people lighting incense and bowing at the entrance. There were also votive tablets available for ¥500. Hundreds of tablets were hung with written prayers, thoughts, and needs of past visitors.
From there we headed out of the park; the big barrels are filled with sake, and are called kazaridaru. Barrels of sake are donated every year from around Japan as offerings to the enshrined deities at the Meiji Jingu shrine.
Our next pitstop was Yoyogi Park, but we detoured through Harajuku on our way there. Harajuku is a district in Japan that is most famous for teenage culture and fashion - especially Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street), a street filled with fashion boutiques and a million different crepe stands.
We went to the Angel's Heart Crepe stand, and got a caramel cheesecake crepe. Angel's Heart is the oldest crepe stand in Harajuku, and has at least a hundred different crepe varieties.
Once again, there were so many people.
Yoyogi Park was a nice change from the bustling crowd of Harajuku. Even though there were a lot of families and tourists walking through the park, the pace felt slower.
I've heard that Yoyogi Park has beautiful Cherry Blossoms blooming in the Spring, and the trees turn golden in Autumn, but I would still say that Summertime at Yoyogi Park was enjoyable. It was another incredibly hot day, but we were both glad that we took some time to explore the park.
Our next stop was the apartment. The heat had taken its toll on us, and we wanted to rest a little before our reservation at the Robot Restaurant. We stopped at a local grocery store to buy some things for dinner and took a much needed nap.
I cannot express how much I loved the Robot Restaurant. Like our apartment, the restaurant itself is in Shinjuku. The area around the restaurant seemed a little more shady than where our apartment is located, but still, was safer than most parts of New York City. When you get to the restaurant, you're greeted with flashing lights, people handing out flyers, and a song playing that says "Robot-0. Robot-o. Res-u-to-rant..." over and over again.
These busty robots also greet you as you enter the restaurant; their eyes (and possibly also their hands) move around.
When you first enter, you walk through this passageway:
And then you take an elevator up to the main lounge/waiting area.
With our tickets, we each got a free drink voucher. There was also a Bento option, but it cost ¥1000 extra per person.
The bar had alcoholic drinks as well as a few non-alcoholic options for children and non-drinkers like us. While we were waiting in the lounge, we met a really nice older gentlemen, whose name was Michael Jordan. He was an ex-lawyer and had been to Japan several times. He had just gotten back from climbing Mt. Fuji, and was able to give us a lot of great tips on how to best travel Japan. I wish I had taken a picture or at least gotten his autograph...
Once they opened the doors, we walked down a long stairwell to our seats. There were more vendors selling drinks and popcorn, and other snacks for the show.
The show was incredible! It might not be for everyone, but if you go in with an open mind, you will surely enjoy it. It was definitely a family-friendly show, and while it had a few "scarier" robots, there were a few younger children at the show that didn't seem to be bothered by them. There were three main acts with 15 minute breaks in between, and each told a different story. The costumes and music were very Japanese, and overall, is a MUST if you're visiting Tokyo.
After the show we spent some time exploring Shinjuku, and we found Godzilla. I can now die in peace.
Day 3 = another success.
Published by Kelly Anderson