Archive | March 2014

Tokyo Day 5 – Ueno Zoo and Akihabara

This is a continuation of the Japan Trip Report. You can read more here:
Booking Lufthansa First Class Using United Miles
Lufthansa First Class Denver to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Osaka
Japan Day 1: Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji
Westin Osaka Review

Japan Day 2 (Part 1) – Fushimi Inari and Nara
Japan Day 2 (Part 2) – Bullet Train/Nabana no Sato Illumination
Conrad Tokyo Review
Tokyo Day 1 – Tokyo Free Guide, Geisha Show and Meiji Shrine
Tokyo Day 2 – Imperial Palace Bike Ride, Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Cat Cafe!
Tokyo Day 3 – Odaiba, Toyota Mega Web Showroom and Akihabara
Tokyo Day 4 – Day Trip to Hakone and Lake Ashinoko

The next morning we woke up and headed to Ueno Zoo. I had found a website that mentioned Red Pandas at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and was very excited to see them. I was even more excited when I learned the admission fee was only 600 yen (~$6) per person! Ueno Zoo is a great zoo and is even in a great area to explore before or after going to the zoo. We walked through Ueno Park on the way there and around Ameyoko to shop a little after seeing the zoo and also grab some sushi.

 When you enter the zoo one of the first things you come to is a panda exhibit. Unfortunately the pandas were sleeping so we decided to catch them on the way out of the zoo. We continued walking and passed birds of prey, otters and monkeys before coming to the tiger exhibit. The tiger was gorgeous and pacing right in front of the area I was taking pictures. I think I have roughly 100 tiger pictures now. 
Ueno Zoo Tiger

Ueno Zoo Tiger

After the tigers we watched the lions for a little bit before heading on to the gorillas. The baby gorilla was adorable and we watched it ride around for a little bit.

Cute Baby Gorilla at Ueno Zoo

Cute Baby Gorilla at Ueno Zoo

We watched the pair wander around a bit.

Ueno Zoo Gorillas

Ueno Zoo Gorillas

Next we headed over to the polar bear exhibit. The polar bear was awesome. He spent a good 20 minutes chasing a ball around the water and we enjoyed watching him play.

Ueno Zoo Polar Bear

Ueno Zoo Polar Bear

We headed back to check out the pandas and see if they were done napping. They were finally up and eating.

Ueno Zoo Panda

Ueno Zoo Panda

It seems like every time I get a chance to check out a prairie dog exhibit I never get to see them. I was excited this time they were finally outside and active.
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Tokyo Day 4 – Day Trip to Hakone and Lake Ashinoko with the Hakone Free Pass

This is a continuation of the Japan Trip Report. You can read more here:
Booking Lufthansa First Class Using United Miles
Lufthansa First Class Denver to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Osaka
Japan Day 1: Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji
Westin Osaka Review

Japan Day 2 (Part 1) – Fushimi Inari and Nara
Japan Day 2 (Part 2) – Bullet Train/Nabana no Sato Illumination
Conrad Tokyo Review
Tokyo Day 1 – Tokyo Free Guide, Geisha Show and Meiji Shrine
Tokyo Day 2 – Imperial Palace Bike Ride, Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Cat Cafe!
Tokyo Day 3 – Odaiba, Toyota Mega Web Showroom and Akihabara

During my research on what we could do in Tokyo I came across descriptions of a day trip to Lake Ashinoko in Hakone. The pictures drew me in and with the amazing views of Mount Fuji it wasn’t hard to convince my boyfriend either. After researching it a little, we decided to go with the Hakone Free Pass through Odakyu. The pass covered the various modes of transportation inside Hakone – and there were several! It could be bought as a train ticket from Shinjuku or as a less expensive ticket if you find your own way to the Odawara station. Since we had active JR Rail passes, it was already included for us to take JR lines to Odawara, so we bought the less expensive ticket from there. It was roughly $39 per person.

And thus began our day of transportation. We started by taking the bullet train to Odawara from Tokyo.

Mode of Transit 1: Bullet Train

Mode of Transit 1: Bullet Train

It was on the bullet train that we caught our first glimpse of Mt. Fuji. It was breathtaking even in the distance – but it would only get better as the day continued. After arriving in Odawara, we purchased our passes and then continued on the Hakone Tozan Railway.

Mode of Transit 2: Hakone Tozan Railway

Mode of Transit 2: Hakone Tozan Railway

The Hakone Tozan Railway is a local railway that winds up the mountain. It stopped a lot to share the track with trains heading down. It also went through several tunnels and curves. It was a pleasant ride. We got off at Gora, where we boarded a cable car for a more vertical ride up.

Mode of Transit 4: Sounzan Cable Car

Mode of Transit 3: Sounzan Cable Car

After exiting the cable car, we immediately got onto the Hakone Ropeway.

Mode of Transit 5: Hakone Ropeway

Mode of Transit 4: Hakone Ropeway

The ropeway provided gorgeous views from the altitude.

View of the Ropeway

View of the Ropeway

The area you see in the bottom right corner of the picture above is Owakudani – a volcanic region that smelled highly of sulfur. The ropeway also provided some amazing views of Mt. Fuji.

View of Mt. Fuji from the Ropeway

View of Mt. Fuji from the Ropeway

We got off the ropeway there and tried some of the black hard boiled eggs. The eggs supposedly add 7 years to your life.

Hardboiled Eggs with Sulfur

Hardboiled Eggs with Sulfur

Even Hello Kitty enjoys the eggs.

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Tokyo Day 3 – Odaiba, Toyota Mega Web showroom and Akihabara

This is a continuation of the Japan Trip Report. You can read more here:
Booking Lufthansa First Class Using United Miles
Lufthansa First Class Denver to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Osaka
Japan Day 1: Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji
Westin Osaka Review

Japan Day 2 (Part 1) – Fushimi Inari and Nara
Japan Day 2 (Part 2) – Bullet Train/Nabana no Sato Illumination
Conrad Tokyo Review
Tokyo Day 1 – Tokyo Free Guide, Geisha Show and Meiji Shrine
Tokyo Day 2 – Imperial Palace Bike Ride, Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Cat Cafe!

Let me start this one by stating an obvious fact. My boyfriend and I are geeks. Tokyo has several attractions for geeks and that’s what we focused on during day 3. We took the Yurikamome line from Shiodome station to Odaiba and headed to Gundam Front Tokyo. Gundam Front Tokyo is an entire area dedicated to the Gundam anime series. We didn’t go inside – we came entirely for the GIANT Gundam replica outside.

Odaiba Gundam

Odaiba Gundam

It did not disappoint! It was huge and complete with flashing lights, smoke and theme music. We’re not huge Gundam fans, but it was still really neat to see. We also wanted to see the Mega Web Toyota showroom and the Panasonic showroom while we were in Odaiba.

We weren’t entirely sure where we were headed, so we wandered around a little trying to get into the Toyota showroom. We made some very good wrong turns and wound up walking through a shopping area with several Ferraris and Lamborghinis on display!

Cars on Display

Cars on Display

When we finally found the Toyota showroom it was fun to walk around. It was free to get in and they had some neat displays. There were the typical vehicles we’re used to, as well as robots and “cute” vehicles.

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