Being a Tourist in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower is taller than the Eiffel Tower, has a pretty cool orange and white color scheme, and even has an aquarium in the basement. It functions as a digital television and radio antenna, and it’s a great place to get high above the city for a different perspective of what Tokyo looks like.

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I’m not a fan of high places, and to further taunt me and my irrational fear, the tower’s observation deck floor features a few “see through” sections that give you a look straight down to the streets.

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Even looking at that picture above gives me the willies, so let’s get back onto solid ground. The view you see below is about as close as you’re going to get to Tokyo Imperial Palace (unless, as the link explains, you’re visiting on two special public viewing days). That’s the palace in the back right of the photo. In the foreground is Nijubashi Bridge, and it leads to the entrance into the palace grounds.

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The Ginza area of Tokyo is a lively shopping, dining and tourism area. The Ginza Wako building, seen below, is a symbol of the area.

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The Sony Building is also in Ginza and is a popular attraction because it contains several floors of Sony products for visitors to explore and experience. I’m wearing what is essentially a home movie theater on my head. It’s the Sony Personal 3D Viewer. There is technology on display here that isn’t available in the U.S. yet.

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I like to have some coffee on occasion, and if I’m buying it at a coffee house, my froufrou drink of choice is a mocha. Low and behold, I found a Starbucks in Ginza and it turned out to be the first Starbucks store that opened in the country. It also has the distinction of being the first Starbucks to open outside of North America.
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There is nothing like Harajuku anywhere in the world. Below is a pic of an entrance into the area, which exudes a young, hip vibe. There are lots of clothes stores here and, surprisingly, gourmet crepe stands. I also saw the most ethnic diversity in this neighborhood during my trip to Tokyo last summer.

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Not a terribly far walk away is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere: Maisen. My goodness, I love this restaurant. It is famous for tonkatsu, a deep fried breaded pork cutlet, and the restaurant is housed in a former bathhouse. I’m planning on taking my study abroad group here when we return to Tokyo this summer.

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If you find yourself on your first trip to Tokyo and you’d like to experience crazy crowded conditions while wandering through an iconic neighborhood, head over to Shibuya. This area has a ton of shopping, and it features one of the world’s busiest street crossings in terms of sheer numbers of people.

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The last tourist stop for this post will be the Tokyo Disney Resort. There are two parks here: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea.  My sister and I have been to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, so we chose to visit Tokyo Disney Sea. It’s the only Disney theme park of its kind in the world, and its centerpiece is Mediterranean Harbor.

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Looking across Mediterranean Harbor from the opposite side of the picture above, one sees the large volcano on Mysterious Island. It’s home to the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” attraction. The volcano even erupts every now and then.

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If you go to Tokyo Disney Sea, stay until late in the evening in order to see “Fantasmic!” Its website describes the show as “filled with special effects using gigantic water screens, lasers, lights, and fire,” and it is. It takes place in Mediterranean Harbor, and it’s a great way to end your day.

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