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Serenity, Shopping, Amusement and Moar Robots!

sunny 74 °F
View RTW Oct - Dec 2014 on tdeits's travel map.

Have I mentioned the weather? No - but the pics tell the tale. It has been absolutely perfect with temps in the mid 70's, blue skies and light breezes and Sunday was no exception.

We started out as usual from our AirBNB place near the SkyTree - new humungous communications tower/tourist attraction. Here's a pic of its reflection in a nearby office building.

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By the way, Airbnb worked for us here - good comfortable and clean place in the middle of Tokyo for about $100/night for 2 bedrooms.

Our first stop was the Senso-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo and a huge destination for worshipers and tourists. To approach the shrine you have to navigate a sea of visitors flanked by shores consisting of a half mile of stalls selling everything from the cheapest trinkets to $400 chopsticks. Here's what Sunday morning shopping looks like there.

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oh- and there are side streets off this street that are equally busy!

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One thing Robin and I were looking forward to is a street food called takoyaki, or octopus balls. They are little quick-cooked balls of batter encasing a bit of octopus and we found them delicious on our last visit. The making of them involves considerable dexterity as well. Sadly, the takoyaki stall we found (a temporary one, probably not a good sign) had a guy who was actually not at all good at making them and they really didn't taste too great either.

The temple is of course spectacular - a few quick shots.

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Surprisingly, there are many rather serene spots within all the commotion.

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But enough serenity! There is also a charming amusement part steps away from the temple, Hanayashiki. As a frequent visitor to Cedar Point, the Nirvana of roller coaster parks, it looks kinda bitsy. In fact, I think you could fit the entire park into one of the areas set aside for waiting line for one ride at Cedar Point. Nonetheless, they have managed to pack a dozen or so (quite mild) rides into the space and it's just fun to wander around (1000 yen admission). We caught a Halloween special show as well! Yes, Haloween has been appropriated for marketing purposes, but (so far) it isn't the overwhelming phenomenon of Christmas in Tokyo that Robin and I experienced last trip.

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In addition to the rides, the park has a number of beautifully cared-for pocket gardens, often in hidden spots (like the very top of the wall surrounding the park). Here's a look down from there on a ride and its gardens.

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Well, I promised you moar robots and you have been very patient. We went to the famous Robot Restaurant and it is as over the top as you can imagine. The show is crammed into a small theater many floors underground in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, an area replete with individuals of negotiable virtue but not excessively uncomfortable for the average tourist. the stage is maybe 2 living rooms in size and during the show is crammed with a hallucinogenic collection of crazy spectacle. Pictures are allowed, which is, frankly, kind of surprising, but cool because the dancers (LOTS of dancers) will mug for pics during the performance.

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Now that is some heavy-duty touristing for one day!

Posted by tdeits 14:28 Archived in Japan Tagged restaurant asakusa robot octopus balls Comments (0)

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