Disney tokyo

On October 27, 2016, in English, Life in Japan, Travel, Uncategorized, by 04. Lolo-han
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This summer a friend and I went to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. Now being from Southern California, Disney is not something new for me. however the experience in Tokyo was not what I had expected. You may think that the parks are all the same however they are not, there are many differences that make for a similar but unique experience.

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Disney Tokyo is located in Chiba, a Prefecture next to Tokyo. It is about 35 mins from Tokyo Station via the line nicknamed the Disney Line. Upon exiting the train you will see a small shopping center along with one of the Disney hotels. to the left is the monorail station that will take you to Disneyland or Disney Sea. A one day pass will run you 600 yen, a good deal considering a one way ticket is around 210 yen. The monorail is decorated with Disney designs and it even has Mickey head shaped hand rings for those who have to stand for the ride. If you decide to walk to Disney Tokyo it is about a 5min walk to the ticket gate. Along the way there was a giant Disney store with quite a lot of merchandise so that people can enter Disney Tokyo in style. There is also a nice bridge that you have to walk across to reach the gates. The bridge has a few statues of various Disney characters making it a good picture spot. When we entered the park the view of the castle was right in front of us as we walked through the bazaar located just inside the gate.

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To the left of the bazaar is Adventure Land where Pirates of the Caribbean is, amongst other rides. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean and found that there is a restaurant that seats people in a garden that is located inside the ride it self. Upon further research (being told at the door we couldn’t eat there) we were told that a reservation is necessary for this restaurant. After some window shopping we went to Western Land where we saw the Lilo and Stitch show which was fun and included a very good Stitch animatronic doll. We also rode the River Cruise Safari which is a nice and relaxing boat ride that reminded me of the ride in Disneyland back in Anaheim, California. walking down the street we noticed various characters walking the park in their respective sections. This happens at times indicated in the daily schedule section in the map at the front gate. Continuing down the park was Critter Country where the ride with the longest wait time was Splash Mountain. As stated earlier we went in the summer so with temperatures of 30ºC plus it is no surprise there was a 110min wait. For your information bring a towel, or buy one with your favorite character on it like we did, because you will get very wet.

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We then went to get food as we were very hungry from the rides and just taking in the atmosphere at the park. Having been turned down at the Pirates Restaurant we settled for a food stall with some tables and were we ever glad we did. Fantasyland has a pizza spot called Captain Hook’s Galley which featured a summer special pizza with chicken and summer veggies. This was honestly one of the best meals I have ever had at any Disney park. Peter Pan’s Flight was next because I mean Peter Pan, duh! This is one of my all time favorite rides and really does remind me of watching the movie as a child. Alice’s Tea Cups and the Castle Carrousel were next at Fantasyland and after that more window shopping. We headed past Toontown to Tomorrowland, home of Star Tours. Star Tours is a 4D ride in which you fly in a spaceship fleeing from the republic in a spaceship this ride has been updated to show the characters from the new Star Wars, as well as the older ones, and is a must for any fan. The last ride of the day was Space Mountain, the fastest ride at Disneyland. This rollercoaster-esque ride has both speed and turns all in a room illuminated only with small lights that give you the feel that you are in deep space, far away from the stars. It was well worth the 80 min. wait.

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One of the most surprising thing was how different the parks were. The price for example is a huge difference here. In California a one day ticket runs about the same cost as a three day pass here is about 17000 yen or around 170USD (a one day Disneyland pass in the US is around 150USD, or 15000 yen). In order to get the most from the Disney Tokyo Experience it is best to get a three day pass at least. Food also cost significantly less with a limited summer only boba drink being 380 yen and pizza combos only being 780 yen as compared to Disneyland 15USD (approx. 1500 yen) average food price. Some other differences include wait times in line. Most of the rides we got on had lines of less then 20 min. wait and only two rides went past 50 mins. This is unheard of at Disneyland in the US, with even fastpass wait times often being over an hour. Also in Disney Tokyo every popcorn stall has a different flavor of popcorn ranging from curry to chocolate and even soy sauce, all were very delicious. Over all I was pleasantly surprised by this park and Disney Sea (which I will write a post on soon) and love going back to see what I have missed my previous times there. I hope this at least gives you all a feel for the park and that you will be able to someday enjoy it first hand. Until next time thank you and good night.

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Although this is not a common topic between individuals, it is an important part of living. No matter how much you dodge it, laundry is one of those chores that will eventually have to be completed. Laundry in Japan is much like most other places except for one thing; the dryer. In the United States most areas of living have a washer and dryer unfortunately in Japan there is less space so there might not be room for both. For these situations there are washers that have built in dryers to save space. These washer/dryer combos pose the issue of not actually drying clothes. As someone that came from the United States it is foreign to me that the dryers in most apartments and houses I have seen are non existent or exist as a setting on the washer itself. The idea of this, while very interesting and intriguing, does not work as intended. In most cases it seems that the “dryer” only spin dries and does not add heat. The result is that the clothes just don’t dry they end up moist and needing to be hung anyway. In some cases even setting the drying mode for as long as 3 hours does not leave the clothes dry.

 

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In Tokyo this does not seem to be an issue but rather nothing more than the normal way of life.  Walking across Tokyo and it is easy to see that the residents seem to just hang all their laundry outside before starting their day. Allowing their clothes to dry throughout the day. Unfortunately this becomes problematic during typhoon season or during rain storms. The only solution that seems to be available for this dilemma is to hang dry your clothes. There are said to be aides to this in the form of machines. These look like a small air conditioner that can be placed under your clothes and will blow air directly at the clothes to dry them. Sadly this has its own set of issues noticeably the space needed inside in order to hang clothes, and the amount of time it takes to dry the clothes. Nonetheless this seems to be the best answer for this dilemma, as I have been told by the few Japanese people I have been able to speak with.

 

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When asking other foreign students about laundry on the other hand I got mostly the same response; “Laundry is the same, and the machine is easy to use, but there are no dryers.” This Issue seems common among most students but there is a small amount of students in share houses that have a pay for use of a dryer. These cases are few and far between, based on a study of around 30 students only 2 students had actual dryers both being a communal machine and pay for use. Another important note is that there is a really severe lack of laundromats here. In the United States we have laundromats around towns for the public but it seems like in Japan or at least in Tokyo that there are only public dry cleaners and not laundromats. When this is added to the fact that Tokyo tends to have unpredictable weather patterns, where rain can appear even on the sunniest of days without warning, making it difficult to consistently complete laundry.

 

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In the land where the best video games are made and electronics are all the craze, It might just be a matter of time until a better drying solution is found. We live in a world where the computers at home are crammed into a device the size of your hand yet we still have trouble getting clothes dry in a reasonable amount of time. Perhaps the solution is already here and we just haven’t seen it or heard about it. Perhaps it is something being worked on as I write this blog. The answers to this are unknown to me and remain questions. However in order to achieve the answers to this, we must learn to ask. How is your experience with laundry in Japan?

 

It was a cold and windy night; the streets were lined with tourists and people looking for a good time. Suddenly we see it the bright lights, the vivid colours and loud music. There we were, dumbfounded and excited. The sheer look of this place was enough to make you go into a trance. It was the Robot Restaurant, that crazy looking place in Kabukicho, Shinjuku and it was as crazy inside as it was outside.

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A ticket to experience this show and meals runs around ¥10000 per person but can be found online for less in some travel sites. We got our tickets for around ¥8500, including food, online. Upon entering you will be given a ticket for one free drink and sent to a waiting room until your show’s seating is started. In the waiting room there is a musician playing, seats and a bar, perfect for relaxing before the show. About 10-15 min before the show, the staff will allow people to enter the show room. Inside the room they will ask for your ticket and show you to your seat. Right before the show starts your, dinner will be brought to you. Our meal was nigiri sushi and it was delicious.

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The show itself is around 2 and a half hours with around 3, 10 minute intervals to separate the different stories and events. The show starts with a dance and band performance in which they perform on moving platforms and even dangling from wires. The performers are amazing, the amount of focus is amazing and the introductory show is very lively and fun. During the intermission a food cart appears and you are able to purchase popcorn and other treats for the rest of the show. The second act consists of an interesting storyline resembling something like a cross between the Power Rangers and an amazon warrior show. Following the second intermission is a dance show with lasers and smoke. After this is a parade and the end credits in which all the cast is introduced one by one.

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Overall the Robot Restaurant is an amazing experience but like all things it does have some issues. The price is kind of high and the English version of the show does have some bad translations. In the end the price is justified by the quality of the performers (who must demand a hefty wage) and the charm of these strange English translations add to the story. So if you are in Shinjuku and would like a memorable experience and dinner, the Robot Restaurant is definitely the place to go!

 

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This summer I went on an adventure to the lovely town of Nara with a friend. Nara is most famous for the deer that roam around in the town and interact with the people there. while there are many beautiful attractions the deer seem to be the most interesting too many of the tourist. Because of this this post is mainly on those deer.

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The deer Nara are considered a National Treasure along with Todai-Ji’s giant bronze Buddha statue which is considered the largest in the world. Unknown to many people is there prior to World War II Nara’s deer were classified as sacred and up until 1637 the murder of one of these deer with a capital offense punishable by Death, this date is the last known offense of said law.

 

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The highest concentration of deer happens to be around Nara Park and Todai-ji which is locatedin the park. Thanks to said deer the city of Nara has a calm and relaxing  atmosphere surrounding it as they seem to be completely unaffected by the amount of people around them. This along with the amount of restaurants and food stands along the road make Nara park an ideal lunch destination. We opted for lunch at a small restaurant and enjoyed traditional soba while watching the deer roam freely out of the windows. If you   prefer something quick or wants to eat on the go there are many affordable & delicious Festival style food stands surrounding the road leading up to Todai temple. But beware As the deer will follow anyone carrying anything resembling food.

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The deer are very friendly and kind to the people all over town. They are very inteligent and can act just like another member of town, waiting for crosswalks and only crossing the street when the sign is lit green. While it is very peaceful and relaxing to watch, sit, and even just rest with the deer there is a level of danger that most ignore and this is apparent when you try to feed them. though out the town many places sell crackers that are made for the deer. these crackers are made exclusively by the WNOW for them. when these amazing creatures see or smell these crackers they go crazy, i mean crazy, the deer love these crackers and will go after anyone that has them restlessly. The deer begin to fight one many people are bitten pushed and hit by the deer trying to get a snack ahead of one another. Aside from those incidents Nara and it’s deer are truely a site and experince worth the trip all on its own.

 

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Have you ever just needed a brake from the city and people of Tokyo? Maybe just want to escape and be around some nature and just take in some of the beauty that it offers? While in tokyo you might notice that nature is surprisingly around more than many would expect from the shines and parks in between building to temples and even the Imperial Palace garden that is open to the public. Yes nature is sometimes hidden but certainly all around tokyo. The world famous Koishikawa Korakuen Garden is a perfect example of this. Deep in the grounds of the Tokyo Dome this garden is one of the rarest places in not only Tokyo but literally all of Japan, That’s because this garden is designated not only as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty but also as a Special Historic Site of the country by the Cultural Assets Preservation Act. This double designation is limited to only a handful of locations through out Japan.

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The 70,847.17sqm Garden was constructed in 1629 and was inaugurated as a Garden 1938 and is home to many different plants and even some fish and turtles. As mentioned before Koishikawa Korakuen Garden is located right next to the tokyo dome and less then a five minute walk from three stations the Iidabashi and Suidobashi Metro stations as well as the Suidobashi JR station on the west exit While also being about an eight minute walk from the JR Iidabashi station. the gardens are open from 9am to 5pm everyday with last entry at 4:30pm.20160718_155002

The peacefulness and beauty is amazing in my eye because of how well it can make you forget that you are in the city. Unfortunately like with all things there are downsides. For starters while you can escape from the hustle and rush of Tokyo it is hard to completely escape from the noise the city brings especially if there is a game or event at Tokyo Dome. Also there is an admission fee of 300¥ this won’t break the bank but is still a bit of a downer granted it is a necessary one to keep the garden maintained and to ensure that it is cleaned and always full of beauty.

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All in all the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is a wonderful example of the beauty of japanese history and nature that is sure to give you a refreshed feeling and a quick fix for a quite and relaxing walk or couple of hours of just peace in the quick moving city that is Tokyo. I hope this has given you all an idea to if nothing else walk around the area you might be in and explore the parks and gardens around you.