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Thread: WizardOfOss in Japan (May 2008)

  1. #16
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
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    Wonderful pictures of Japan! I can't wait till I go!

  2. #17

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    Thanks! There's more to come, 5 more days in Tokyo including a daytrip to Hakone.

  3. #18

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    14) Tokyo
    First, back to Asakusa. Right across the Sumida River is the Asahi Breweries headquarters. The tower is supposed to look like a glass of beer. The weird building in front of it is the Flame d'Or building (Golden flame), designed by Philippe Starck. However, most Japanese call it Kin no unchi, Golden Turd



    On to the oldest remaining temple of Tokyo, the Senso-ji, originally built in 645. Most of the temple was destroyed during WWII, but has been rebuilt later.



    Around the Senso-ji are numerous other small temples and shrines, most of them very quiet and peaceful. The walk towards the temple from the Kaminarimon gate however is a whole different story...



    Just some more scenes from Asakusa. There's more than just temples...


    After a great Vietnamese dinner I go to Roppongi Hills, a huge complex of office space, shops, restaurants, museums, hotels and even TV-studios. The centerpiece is the 238 meter tall Mori Tower.



    The top floors of the tower house the Mori Art Museum, with an exhibition of Turner Prize winners (the kind of art I really don't understand), but also some of the BMW Art Cars (the kind I do understand). But the main reason to go up this tower is the roof, from where you have an amazing, unobstructed view of the city.



    Roppongi is an area mostly known for its night life. However, it's aimed mostly at western tourists, and it's impossible the walk more then ten steps without being annoyed by (mostly Nigerian) guys trying to talk you into a "gentlemen's bar". And they don't take 'no' for an answer. So after visiting the Hard Rock Cafe, I had seen more than enough.



    A not as short as expected walk took me to Tokyo Tower, basically a 333 meter tall copy of the Eiffel Tower with an ugly concrete cube underneath it. Visiting two observation decks on one evening is a bit too much, so no need to go up the tower.



    Time to go back to my hotel, but not before I visited the other Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo, inside Ueno Station. Too bad the cafe was already closed, but at least I got a nice shirt...


  4. #19

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    15) Tokyo & Hakone

    Time to get out of the city for one day. After finding my way trough the maze called Shinjuku Station, I got a Hakone Freepass from Odakyu Railway. A so-called "Romance Car" took me to Odawara (with a 7 minute delay!), along the way I could even see a glimpse of Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, it would be the one and only time I would see it, as it got more cloudy later.



    In Hakone-Yumoto, I change tot the Hakone-Tozan Railway, one of the steepest adhesion-only rail lines in the world, with maximum slopes of over 8%. The line even has three switchbacks to get around some of the most difficult parts. The scenery is great, but nearly impossible to capture on camera.



    After a nice tempura and a great conversation with an old Japanese guy speaking maybe three words of English, the cablecar took me from Gora to Sounzan.



    Here I changed to the aerial tramway to Owakudani, the highest point of the route, at 1,044 meters. The area around the station has a lot of volcanic activity, as a result there are lots of hot springs and sulfur mines. A local specialty are eggs boiled in very sulfurous water, which makes the eggs turn black. Eating one is said to prolong one's life by seven years. Who could resist such an offer? But don't worry, only the outside is black, and they taste just like any ordinary boiled egg.



    Back to the aerial tramway for the last part to Togendai. On a clear day, during the ride you should have a phenomenal view of Mount Fuji. But too bad, not even the slightest glimpse of the 'Shy Mountain'. From Togendai, I took a boat across Ashino-ko, from where you should also have a great view. But even without Fuji-san, the scenery still is very nice.



    After a green tea flavoured ice cream (wasabi-flavour was sold out, unfortunately) in Hakonemachi, I pass the Hakone Checkpoint, a reconstruction of an important checkpoint along the Tokaido, in the old days a highway connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. From here it's a nice walk towards Moto-Hakone, alng the lake.



    A bus takes me back to Hakone-Yumoto, from where I take a train to Tokyo.


  5. #20

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    While Japan is suffering from this horrible disaster, some more pictures from better times:

    16) Tokyo
    (Wednesday May 28th 2008)

    Akihabara Electric Town:



    Senso-ji temple in Asakusa:



    Ginza:



    Tokyo International Forum (GT4 fans might recognize it):


  6. #21

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    17) Tokyo
    (Thursday May 29th 2008)

    Not just air-cooled subway, but mild air-cooled...


    Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku:
    (no, it's not designed after a Star Wars Imperial Destroyer, it's supposed to look like a traditional Japanese warehouse...)


    Lunch: unadon, short for unagi-donburi (grilled eel and some other stuff on rice):


    Around Ryogoku (a.k.a. Sumo Town):


    At Akihabara station:


    Nissan Gallery, Kabuki Theatre, Nissan HQ in Ginza:


    Dinner: kare raisu (Japanese style curry):


    At Ueno Station:

  7. #22

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    18) Tokyo
    (Friday May 30th 2008)

    The last day, which I spend mostly on buying way too many souvenirs...

    Asakusa, Ueno and Akihabara:


    At Shinjuku Station:


    Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku:


    Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Shinjuku:

  8. #23

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    19) going home...
    (Saturday May 31st 2008)

    View from the Keisei Skyliner (nowaydays the Cityliner, the current Skyliner goes another route) to Narita Airport. This is basically what you see for over an hour, endless suburbs:


    And that's the end of this trip!

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