We all got together around 8:30am in our twin room but as we were a little late for the complementary breakfast, it was across the road to experience a Japanese 7/11. And what an experience. Firstly, a lot of the stuff is all in Japanese so it is very hard to work out what it is and even looking at it doesn’t help all that much. After a lot of “check this out” and “surely no-one eats this” we selected some stuff that we could sort of call breakfast and headed back to the room. I even got an iced coffee but it doesn’t compare to FUIC.
The next step was to get back to the airport to exchange our orders for JR Rail Passes. Thought the hotel shuttle would work but it stops at 6:00am and doesn’t start up again until 10:30pm. Luckily there was a train station just up the road. After some assistance on getting tickets we were soon on the Keikyu Line from Otorii Station to the International Terminal again and in possession of the JR Rail Passes.
Our next adventure was to get from the airport to Shibuya to meet up with Yutaro (we billeted him 15 years ago for 6 weeks). The first train was actually the Tokyo Monorail from the International Terminal through to Hamamatsucho Station. From here we took a train on the Yamanote Line which took us to Shibuya Station.
All this time we are still dragging our large suitcases around. Nearby the station there was luggage storage for Y600 for each bag. I had Y3000 cash in my pocket and whoosh there it went. We are finding that Japan is more a cash society than a card one. It took us little bit of going around in circles before we found Building 109 which looked different to what was on the map.
Yutaro was waiting to meet us back at Shibuya Crossing next to the Hachiko statue. Hachiko was a dog that waited every day for its owner to return but was unaware that the owner had died. The story was made into a movie with Richard Gere.
Everyone split up looking for Yutaro but must all walked past him but I had no problem spotting him even after 15 years. We headed off to lunch with Yutaro who took us to an all you can eat and drink restaurant in the sub basement of a building nearby. The restaurant was On-yasai where you received trays of different meats and “cooked” them in two different bowls of soup that are kept warming in the middle of the table (Y3900 each). We also chose the all you can drink 2 hour package for Y1500 each. We certainly filled up on meats and also managed to drink them out of Sake. We were buzzing for the rest of the afternoon.
Yutaro’s wife Chisa and their two children also joined us for lunch and we went to explore around the area which included the Disney Store (there was a queue to buy Disney tickets here – must be to get you trained for Disney lines) and then Cosme which caters for older kids with cash. Something else there was a lot of around here were large vinyl sided trucks with blaring speakers which were effectively mobile billboards so the place was certainly not quiet.
It was then time to visit one of the other popular streets around here. It was a short train ride on the Yamanote Line from Shibuya to Harajuku and were soon at Takeshita Street. I am sure there is something lost in translation. It was absolutely packed with Japanese and tourist alike. We ended up taking some photos at the top of the street then headed off for some piece and quiet next door in the Yoyogi Park.
This park was originally the Emperors residence and the forest is entirely man planted but it looks more like it is natural forest. There are a number of shrines and gates in the park. One is a wall of Sake Barrels as the Emperor was fond of Sake. There was another wall, this time of wine barrels as the Emperor was fond of wine. I am starting to see a trend here.
The main Shinto Shrine is Meiji Jing? Honden where you can wash your hands and drink the holy water, meet with monks and have prayers given.
It was getting dark and we still had an hour or so to get to our accommodation, so we grabbed our luggage, farewelled Yutaro and headed out on the Yamanote Line to Tokyo then on the Keiyo Line to Nishi-Funabashi Station then remaining on the same train but onto another line, Musashino Line, finally getting to our nearest JR Station, Shin-Yahashira Station.
From here it was a kilometre walk to our apartment at Minoridai. In hindsight, with the suitcases we should have taken the local train for Y150 each which would have put us 150 metres from our apartment. I guess we will take the train when we leave on Friday.
The apartment is a two bedroom with a kitchen, bathroom and a lounge which we managed to turn into 3 bedroom apartment with 3 small double beds. There are 2 supermarkets nearby as well as a 7/11. The police station is just up at the next corner with the local train next to the 7/11. The street is a little busy out the front but we are sleeping well. We are more than happy with the digs.
I managed 14000 steps for today and the feet are a little sore.