Posts Tagged With: Tokyo

Same but Different (Tokyo)


I waited for my bus to the station as usual. I took the same bus running on the same road, but this time I felt as what I never did. Bus seemed to be so slow although it was on schedule. I wouldn’t tell you I kept looking at my watch most of the time. People passing by seemed to look at me again and again. They looked at my face and then at my big backpack behind… Hah, do you think everything was just my thought alone? In fact, I just took a strong notice on myself in the way I had never done, and then I thought as if everyone did it to me.

It was my fifth time I took a night bus, but this time I did it alone. I felt so uneasy as I waited for my bus to come. It was a really cold night at Shinjuku.

One man came on the bus and he looked at the seat beside me. He bowed as greeting to me, so I did it back to him. We didn’t speak anything to each other. I thought he looked like to one of my friends.

On The Way

It was showering outside with a cold wind, but the heater inside the bus overturned, I guess. It was not warm but hot. I could hear somebody murmured, “That’s so hot”. I also couldn’t stand with such a temperature. Imagine how you wear your clothes in the winter and get on the bus overheated. I was sweated everywhere although I took off my jacket. It was as if we had stayed under the sun in the summer. I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t get into sleep. My head started hurting and my body was itchy.[…] One night had gone.

It was already morning when I opened my eyes again. I really had a bad night sleep on the bus. I heard my seat fellow prepared his luggage to take off at Kyoto Station. He left without saying a word of goodbye. I would be the same if I were him. People nowadays started being unfriendly, I guess. It is a tend of society. I also got this influence. People who meet me at the first sight may find I’m an unfriendly guy. I talk less, smile less, but in fact, I really want to show it out. I want to speak more and smile to ones in front of me. Change everything I had now.

I took off at 2 bus stations later at USJ. Right, my first vacation place was USJ (Universal Studio of Japan)

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Tokyo Sky Tree construction ends


[CNN–Go]

Tokyo sky tree opens

Hard to miss — Tokyo Sky Tree opens for visitors in May 2012 after a mere two-month delay.

Two months late and 634 meters high, Tokyo’s Sky Tree, officially the world’s tallest tower, was completed yesterday, February 29, 2012.

Construction was delayed after the March 2011 earthquake affected supplies to the site, according to a spokesperson talking to theage.com.au.

The new building, construction of which began in July 2008, supersedes China’s Canton Tower (600 meters high) as the world’s tallest tower, but is still nearly 200 meters shy of Dubai’s 830-meter Burj Khalifa, the tallest manmade structure ever built.

The Tokyo Sky Tree, which cost approximately ¥65 billion (US$806 million), will provide services for digital radio and TV transmission as well as an aquarium, a theater, academic institutes and regional heating and cooling facilities.

It will also give visitors a chance to gaze across the city.

Two observatories are open to the public, at 350 meters and 450 meters. The latter also features an “air corridor” — a glass outer walkway.

The lower observation platform houses a restaurant, a cafe and a shop.

Developments around the foot of the structure will create a “town with a tower … to form a rich community caring for the people surrounded by clean air and lush green trees,” according to Tokyo Sky Tree press materials.

The somewhat gushy text goes on to add: “When Tokyo Sky Tree stands tall in the eastern sky from where the sun rises, a future community will be formed at its foot and it will be one of a kind that is filled with tenderness.”

Simulations have shown the tower is able to withstand an 8.0-magnitude earthquake, according to Hirotake Takanishi, PR manager for holding company, Tobu Tower Sky Tree.

Getting there

Opening May 22, 2012, the Tokyo Sky Tree can be accessed from Narihirabashi Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line (the station name will change to Tokyo Sky Tree Station) or Oshiage Station on the Hanzomon and Asakusa subway lines.

The best times to visit will be winter days in January and February, whenTokyo’s usual haze is minimal, or at night when the skyline, as well as the tower itself, lights up. Admission to the topmost observation deck costs ¥3,000 (US$37) for adults; children pay ¥900-2,300 depending on age.

Categories: Tokyo | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Odaiba


[Japan-guide]

Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba

Odaiba (お台場) is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. It originated as a set of small man made fort islands (daiba literally means “fort”), which were built towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to protect Tokyo against possible attacks from the sea and specifically in response to the gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Perry.More than a century later, the small islands were joined into larger islands by massive landfills, and Tokyo began a spectacular development project aimed to turn the islands into a futuristic residential and business district during the extravagant 1980s. But development was critically slowed after the burst of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s, leaving Odaiba nearly vacant.

Aquacity and the Fuji TV Building

It was not until the second half of the 1990s, when several hotels, shopping malls and the Yurikamome elevated train line were opened, that Odaiba developed into one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions and date spots with a wide selection of shopping, dining and leisure options.

Despite the initial setbacks, several lavish development projects did materialize, including some of Tokyo’s boldest architectural creations, such as the Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center and Tokyo Big Sight. Modern city planning furthermore provides Odaiba with plenty of green space and a pleasant division of motorized and pedestrian traffic using elevated walkways and the like.

Fuji TV Area

Fuji TV Building
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (some restaurants until 19:00)
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday).
Admission: Free (observation deck: 500 yen)
The headquarters of Fuji Television, one of Japan’s private, nationwide TV stations. You can see some exhibits on popular programs, buy Fuji TV goods at a shop and access the futuristic looking building’s observatory deck housed in the sphere shaped part of the building.

Decks Tokyo Beach
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00 Restaurants: 11:00 to 20:00 (some restaurants until 24:00)
Closed: No closing days  Admission: Free (trick art museum: 900 yen)
Decks is a shopping mall featuring various stores, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The mall also houses the three story “Tokyo Joypolis” arcade (closed for renovation until mid July 2012) and a trick art museum. A Hong Kong themed food theme park and the Muscle Park were closed in 2010.

Aquacity Odaiba
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00  Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00 (some restaurants until 5:30)
Closed: No closing days
Aquacity is a shopping mall featuring various stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and a 13 screen cinema complex. The fifth floor houses a ramen food theme park where you can try different ramen from all over Japan. There are nice views of the Rainbow Bridge from the wooden deck in front of Aquacity and neighboring Decks.

Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo. The two story bridge is an iconic symbol of the bay and is especially beautiful during its nightly illumination. The bridge supports an expressway, a regular road, the Yurikamome train line and pedestrian walkways along both sides.

Telecom Center Area

Telecom Center
Observation Deck: 15:00 to 21:00 (weekdays)
11:00 to 21:00 (weekends and national holiday)
Closed: Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday)
Admission: 500 yen (400 yen in combination with a Yurikamome day pass)
The Telecom Center is a major hub on the information highway with several large satellite antennas on its observation deck. The observation deck also offers nice view of the bay area and as far as Mount Fuji on clear days.

Museum of Maritime Science
Main building closed indefinitely for renewal, ships remain open
Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (weekends and holidays until 18:00)
Closed: Mondays (or following Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
December 28 to January 1
Admission: Free entry to ships during renovation
This museum looks like a large cruise ship docked along the Odaiba waterfront. The main building with exhibits on the history and technology of ships and shipping is currently closed for renovation. Outside you can board two real ships that are on permanent display.

National Museum of Emerging Science
Hours: 10:00 to 17:00  Closed: Tuesdays and December 28 to January 1
Admission: 600 yen
Also known as the Miraikan, this well done, highly interactive and bilingual science museum includes exhibits about environmental issues, robots (starring Asimo among others), information technology, biology and space exploration.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Open: 11:00am to 9:00am (last entry 7:00am)
Closed: One evening per month for cleaning
Admission: 2900 yen (2000 yen from 18:00 to 2:00, 1900 yen from 5:00).
An additional 1700 yen overnight fee applies from 2:00 to 5:00.
Opened in 2003, Oedo Onsen is a hot spring theme park which reproduces the atmosphere of the Edo period. Here you can enjoy various types of indoor and outdoor baths which are fed by hot spring water pumped from a depth of 1400 meters. Restaurants, massage, games and other entertainment, as well as overnight stays are available.

Palette Town

Palette Town is a large shopping and entertainment complex consisting of the Venus Fort shopping mall, Toyota Mega Web, a Ferris Wheel, the Zepp Tokyo music venue and Tokyo Leisureland.

Venus Fort
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00  Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00
Closed: No closing days  Admission: Free
Venus Fort is a shopping mall in the style of a 18th century South European town. The mall features over a hundred shops, fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants on three floors including a few outlets shops on the upper floor.

Toyota Mega Web
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00 (some attractions end 1-3 hours earlier)
Closed: Small number of irregular closing days
Admission: Free (test rides: 300 yen)
Mega Web is a giant Toyota showroom that shows off all of Toyota’s latest models, car accessories and technologies. Attractions include test driving of cars (requires driving license valid for Japan) and a museum exhibiting cars from past decades.

Ferris Wheel
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (until 23:00 on most Fridays, Saturdays)
Closed: No closing days  Admission: 900 yen (entire cabin: 3000 yen)
This 115 meter tall ferris wheel is one of the world’s largest and offers nice views of Tokyo Bay and Odaiba below. Each cabin seats six (or four in the all-glass cabins), and the complete revolution takes about 15 minutes.

Leisureland
Hours: 10:00 to 23:50 (some parts open 24 hours)
Closed: No closing days   Admission: Free (attractions are paid)
This huge entertainment complex features a large game arcade, bowling alleys, slots, batting cages, karaoke, darts, table tennis and sports games. There is also a ninja illusion house, a haunted house and food court.

Big Sight Area

Tokyo Big Sight
Hours and admission fees depend on the specific events.
Also known as Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo Big Sight is Japan’s largest exhibition and convention center and one of the bay islands’ boldest architectural creations. A wide array of events are held at the Big Sight throughout the year including the Tokyo Animate Fair, the Comiket comic fair and the Tokyo Motor Show.

Panasonic Center
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry to Risupia until 17:00)
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
Admission: Free (Risupia: 500 yen)
The Panasonic Center is a showroom for the latest products and technologies by the Panasonic Corporation. On display are the newest cameras, TVs, computers, Nintendo games, home appliances and more. The third floor is Risupia, a hands-on math and science museum.

How to get there
Access to Odaiba can be an attraction in itself, as the views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo’s harbor and waterfront area from the Yurikamome elevated train and boats are quite spectacular. Furthermore, it is also possible to walk across the Rainbow Bridge.

 

By YurikamomeThe Yurikamome is an automated, elevated train with rubber tires, which connects Shimbashi Station on the JR Yamonote Line with all of Odaiba’s attractions and Toyosu Station on the Yurakucho Subway Line. Trains depart every few minutes, and a ride between Shimbashi and Daiba Station takes 15 minutes and costs 310 yen. If you ride the Yurikamome more than twice, a one day pass for 800 yen is likely to cost less than regular fares.

The Yurikamome crosses the Rainbow Bridge to get to Odaiba and offers spectacular views of the harbor and the Tokyo waterfront. Sit or stand at the very front of the train for the most impressive views.

By Rinkai Line

The Rinkai Line connects Osaki Station on the JR Yamonote Line with Shin-Kiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line, stopping at the Tokyo Teleport and Kokusai Tenjijo underground stations on Odaiba along the way. Some trains on the JR Saikyo Line continue to run on the Rinkai Line and provide direct connections between Shinjuku, Sibuyaand Odaiba.

The ride from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station on Odaiba takes 25 minutes and costs 480 yen. Note that the Japan Rail Pass, Seishun 18 Kippu and similar JR tickets are not valid on the Rinkai Line between Osaki and Shin-Kiba, even though the line is served by JR trains.

By Boat

Tokyo Water Bus operates boats between Odaiba Seaside Park and Hinode Pier (20 minutes, 460 yen, 1-2 boats per hour), where there are connections to Asakusa. Direct boats connect Asakusa and Odaiba less frequently (50 minutes, 1520 yen). Furthermore, there are boats from Hinode Pier to Palette Town and Tokyo Big Sight (25-35 minutes, 400 yen, one boat per hour except Mondays and Tuesdays).

On Foot

It is possible to cross the Rainbow Bridge on foot. The walk across takes about 30-45 minutes and offers nice views of the waterfront area. The pedestrian path begins a short walk from Shibaura-futo Station along the Yurikamome on the “Tokyo side” of the bridge, while Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station is the nearest station on the “Odaiba side”. Bicycles are not allowed.

Note that the pedestrian walkways gets closed during the night (21:00 to 9:00 from April to October, 18:00 to 10:00 from November to March), on the third Monday of every month, from December 29 to 31, during the Tokyo Bay Fireworks Display and during bad weather.

Orientation in Tokyo

Crossing Rainbow Bridge on foot

Categories: Tokyo | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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