Shinjuku, Shinjuku East, Shinjunugyoen
3 days away
10 km / 6 miles since last post
9,630 km / 5,984 miles total
Sarah & Stuart
Ahh... the joys of jet lag. I awoke this morning at 5:30am to the sound of Stu's camera clicking - he decided he was awake so got up and took some pictures of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building across the road. This building is massive, the second largest tower in Japan and cost a massive 1 billion dollars to build. I'm afraid to say that the wide angle lens robs impressiveness from the structure. It's quite handy having such a building near the hotel as it makes getting home really easy - just look to the skies!
We both started with a hearty breakfast from the hotel. We had been given discount vouchers and decided to make use of them. I'm glad we did as the scrambled eggs, frankfurters, bacon, toast and broccoli (!) really set us up for the day.
After breakfast we grabbed our bags and headed out into the drizzle.
It seemed sensible that our first stop should be the Metropolitan Government building. You can take a lift to the 45th floor and get great views across the megalopolis. There are two towers and a separate lift for each tower. The views from the observatory are amazing. They also gave us our first proper taste of just how densely populated Tokyo is. There seems to be no gaps between any of the buildings, save for one green area being the Shinjunugyoen (park). The signs near the windows indicated that Mount Fuji should be visible in the distance, but due to the drizzly weather the visibility didn't extend that far. Oh well, might have to come back another day when it's a bit clearer.
On the observation deck of the North Tower there were some gift shops - some amazing little toys and some pure rubbish! My particular favourites were the Star Wars lightsabre chopsticks and some animal keyfobs where you can get a print of your face stuck onto them!
After leaving the Metropolitan building we headed to the east side of Shinjuku - home to the buzzing entertainment area. We inadvertently ended up walking through the red light district here too. We thought some of the "shops" started looking a bit dodgy...!
We had been walking around the busy city for a couple of hours or so, and decided a bit of respite was needed. We headed to Shinjukugyoen, which is the park in the middle of the eastern area of Shinjuku. It was a much needed break from the hustle and bustle. It's a very pretty and peaceful place (apart from the odd metro going past now and again). There was only a small charge to get in; lovely flowers and trees and great areas to sit and relax on the (perfectly mown) lawns.
We spent a good couple of hours or so wandering around the gardens, and we felt the jet lag lethargy starting to kick in again. We decided to head back to the hotel. We stopped and grabbed a few bits along the way. Despite the great meal last night in the hotel, it wasn't cheap, so we decided to see what we could get from the 'mart'. We found some packets which looked like oversized sushi - basically big balls of rice with a tuna/salmon filling and wrapped in a seaweed sheet (thanks for the recommendation Lizzie!). We also grabbed a couple of noodle packets which we could make up with hot water back at the hotel room (essentially a pot noodle, but much tastier and more filling).
Today has been nice, but I have to say we we're glad to get back to our hotel room - we were feeling so tired atfer all that walking. Hopefully after another good night's sleep this jet lag will be banished!
We have free internet use in our room and had a brief chat with Russ & Davinia on Skype. We both had our 'packet' dinners, which I have to say, were not as bad as you might think.
It's now 10pm and Stu has just headed back over to the Metropolitan Government building again. The observation floors are open until 10:30pm and he wanted to see if he can get some night shots.
(Stu: night shots from the towers didn't work out too well; too much drizzle, but I got a great shot of a Japanese cyclist at a nearby intersection!)