Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tokyo day 6: Tuesday, 26th June

Mark, Kami, and I were at the bottom of Tokyo Tower at 9:30 ready for our trip to the top. It was a beautiful morning—the sun was out already, and the sky was pretty clear.
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There’s a new tower in Tokyo called the Tokyo Skytree. It’s open already, however, for the first month the tickets were issued on a lottery system. It’s opening to the general public  in mid-July, which is a shame, as it would have been great to go up it. So we went to Tokyo Tower, and although it’s half the size of the Skytree it still provides and excellent full 360` view around the city. It’s visible from all over the city and lights up at night.
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It cost us $20 to go up to both levels—there are two different observation decks—one at 150 metres and one at 250 metres. As it was only 9:30, we bought our ticket and walked right into the elevator to take us to the 1st level. Mark and I were wondering if the opening of the Skytree would affect the business of this tower and agreed it had to do, since if the Skytree had of been open, we would have gone up that instead!
It didn't take long in the elevator before we were at the 1st level, and we walked straight around to get in the 2nd elevator to take us to the top. The view was simply stunning, and we couldn't have picked a better day to come up. As you can see from the Panorama pictures I posted in the entry below, we were higher than all the existing buildings apart from the new tower. As we looked out Mark noticed that we could actually see the top of Mount Fuji!! It took Kami and I a few seconds to see it as the top was snow capped and actually blended into the clouds. It was huge—I had no idea it was that high!
Top of Mount Fuji in the black square
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We spent about 30 minutes at the top taking pictures and looking for places we had been through the city—we spotted our hotel, the  museum we had been in two days ago, and the Ferris wheel and the cool looking Fuji TV building across the river on the island. Kami also pointed out the school she attended when she lived out here. There was also a cool building below us that had an amazing roof but I’m not sure what it is exactly, maybe some type of theatre or venue.
Unusual looking building with cool roof!         Fuji TV building out on the island               Kami, her school over her left shoulder.
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There was a glass floor panel on one of the lower floors, so we headed down to take a look at it. The panel was about six feet long by two feet wide and you could see straight through it. It was nothing much in comparison to the glass box that sticks out of the side of the Sears Tower in Chicago which you can entirely stand in, but it was still cool to see as below.
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As we were about to leave, a group of Japanese people arrived with a little girl, and she was obviously curious when she saw the glass panel on the floor. She stepped right up to the edge of it until one of the party picked her up and tried to put her in the middle of the panel. She totally freaked out kicking her legs and fighting to be put down. I stepped back onto the glass to show her it was safe, then I jumped a few inches, and within seconds she walked out onto the glass and started looking right through it to the street below. She jumped up and down a couple of times on the edge of the glass, too, for good measure.
The three of us headed out of the tower and walked to Kami’s old school. It was really pretty and quiet around the campus. It was cool to see Kami’s small face smile as she walked around and obviously had some fond memories. While walking over to the school we passed some children being taken through the city in the strangest way! Apparently this is the way they take very young school kids out, as its the safest way for them all to travel in groups.They all looked ever so cute and waved as they passed us.
Just been shopping at Babies `R` Us!     Cool street hanging over the river.         Cat taxi logo
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Mark headed back to the hotel in a taxi after seeing the school, and Kami and I made our way to Shibuya as we were meeting up with one of her friends for lunch at a nearby metro station, but we had 90 minutes of time to kill. We ended up in one of the arcades that has photo booths where you create stickers called Purikura. These are huge in Japan, and there are booths all over Tokyo. We had fun for an hour taking some funny pictures. They were a little odd, though, as the machine actually alters your face! They whiten your skin, and you can even choose to increase the size of your eyes! You then use an electronic pen to decorate them with words and pictures on a separate screen before eventually printing them out and cutting them up into individual stickers!
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We met up with Kami’s friend Rob at 1 P.M. and ate lunch at a Hawaiian place near his work. Kami was at college with him when she was at William and Mary. Around 2:30 we headed back to the hotel as Mark had a talk to do at 4 P.M., and Kami was going with him this afternoon. I’ve been chilling out at the hotel for the last few hours and will probably be heading out for dinner somewhere when they get back.
Click the link below to see more pictures from the Tokyo Tower. Thanks to Kurt Gunzinger

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