Monday 1 June 2020

What to do in Tokyo, part 3

Home to two of the happiest places on earth. Allegedly. You can find both Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea in Uraysau, a city which was originally a fishing village.

Tokyo DisneySea
  • Opening hours: 8am-10pm
  • Admission: 8200yen 

Before setting off to Japan, I knew I wanted to visit Tokyo DisneySea, the only one of its kind. I couldn't wait to soak up the ambience and explore the beautiful architecture that I had spied in countless YouTube videos. The day comes round and unfortunately, it rained. And it rained. And it poured. I'm not going to deny it, I was very disheartened. Especially because they cancelled the evening fireworks due to the rain. At the end of the night, I was a cold, soggy-looking bear in my big, fur coat and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel, change into my dry pjs and put my feet up.

Getting to the park is easy. Simply hop onto the train towards Maihama station. This is a JR station so if you have a JR pass, you can use it here. As I had purchased my admission ticket online from govoyagin, I collected them from outside of the station. The ticket date-fixed so unless you really want to skip the ticket or queue or are 100% certain that it's not going to rain, I would just purchase it on the day so that way you're not obligated to go on a rainy day (like my sorry ass). 

From Maihama station, you have to hop onto the Disneyland monorail. I highly recommend buying a ticket rather than using your IC card as the monorail ticket has random Disney characters on it and I think that it's a super cute keepsake.

The park itself is divided into several themed areas inspired by the myths and legends of the sea: Mediterranean Harbour, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront. There's so much to explore, from musical shows and performances to the infamous flavoured popcorn stands and of course, the rides. The most popular ones are Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Centre of the Earth, Raging Spirits and Indiana Jones Adventure. Make sure to get to the park early and run for the Toy Story Mania fast pass unless you want to cock up and wait in queue for 2 hours like I did.

Also, I realized on the day that restaurants also have queues, some as long as the rides. My mistake. It was only afterwards that I found one way to get around that is by creating an account on Tokyo Disney Resort. It's all in Japanese so you need to use Google translate or a language translation plug-in to get around it. When signing up, you have to ensure that you enter your name and address in Japanese. Reservations open 30 days in advance at 10am JST so make sure that you're fast as lunch and dinner spots are quickly filled. Or, if you're a bit of an extrovert and actually like talking on the phone, you can call the reservations line at +81-45-330-5711 and a representative will help, alongside an English translator. 

For your information, you can find a crowd calendar here to help you decide when the best time to visit the theme park is. Take it with a pinch of salt as it can only give you a prediction. Again, the calendar is in Japanese but you can quickly get your head around it using Google translate. 

Shinjuku is a busy and bustling entertainment ward within Tokyo. Karaoke, clubs, arcades, shopping malls and the infamous red light district - you can find it all here. We actually stayed in Shinjuku during our time in Tokyo. Premier Hotel Cabin Shinjuku felt like a shoe box for even one person however, it done the job. The service was good, house-keeping came everyday and it was a stones throw away from multiple train stations making it easy to get around Tokyo. 

Shinjuku train station is the busiest train station in the world. With an average of 3.5 million people passing through each day, there's more to do then hop onto a train. With numerous shopping outlets, restaurants and eateries, you can spend an entire day here and still not even scratch the surface.

Whilst passing time in Tokyu Hands, we came across a gent doing caricatures. I chose the hand drawn option and thought that it came out great. If you prefer, you could have your caricature drawn digitally. If I remember correctly, I paid about 6000yen including the white frame.

If you're around Kabukicho, you have to go eat at CoCo Ichibanya, a chain Japanese curry house. There are a few locations within Tokyo however, the one in Shinjuku Kabukicho and Akihabara are halal certified. You get to customize the portion of rice, level of spice and add a range of toppings. I recommend going for spice level 4 as you get a really nice hit of heat without it being overwhelming. My partner went for 8 and he said that it was a bit too spicy to properly enjoy the food. Also, add cheese. Don't question it. Just trust me.

Tokyo One Piece Tower
  • Opening hours: 10am-10pm 
  • Admission: 2100yen or 3100yen including the live show  

One Piece is a Japanese manga/anime series which has been running since 1997. Before heading to Japan, my partner recommended that I watch the anime as it's his favourite series. At the time, there were over 800 episodes already aired.  I was a little apprehensive at first however, after binge-watching every single episode within several months, I can firmly say that I'm a fan. It's a shonen series which follows the main protagonist, Luffy, and his pirate crew as they get into mischief and make friends with a variety of people (and non-people) during his adventure searching for the world's ultimate treasure, the 'one piece'. 

Tokyo Tower itself is already a popular tourist attraction with people wanting to get a good view of the city. However, in 2015, the indoor One Piece themed amusement park was opened. 3 floors of fun with lots to see and do. Each of the Straw Hat Pirates have their own interactive games and activities and there are detailed statues and artwork dotted across floors which make for great photo opportunities. You can also grab a bite at the several themed eateries available and do some shopping at the character goods stores.

I highly recommend spending a little more to watch the live show. It's all in Japanese however, the performance is pretty easy to follow along. The actors, special effects and enthusiasm from the audience really ties everything together and makes the whole thing a really enjoyable experience. You're not allowed to record for obvious reasons however, they encourage you to take lots of photos.


1 comment:

TeaPot said...

OMG!!! Those Toy Story Mochi where delicious.
Mmmm The curry at Coco Curry’s is the best Japanese curry I’ve had in my life.
And I so want to revisit Tokyo Tower. Missed you on all the great One Piece stuff 🥺.

Great blog. Thanks for the amazing trip down memory lane 😄.