Around Tokyo

Another Shinkansen and several more Japan Rail and subway trains found us at last in Asakusa, one of the oldest districts in Tokyo. By contrast, the Richmond International Hotel is new and modern and we are surrounded by arcades full of fascinating shops and restaurants open day and night. Our room on the 11th floor affords us great views including the nightly sunset. And on the lower floors of our hotel is a collection of upmarket restaurants, as well as food and lifestyle markets. A short walk away is the fantastic Sensoji Temple complex, one of the best preserved we've seen.

From our seats at the front of the train

Bullet train (Shinkansen)

View from our 11th floor hotel room

Sensoji Temple Complex

As we have done in other parts of the world, we took the hop-on hop-off bus around Tokyo and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city. If it weren't for the Japanese signs that adorn every building, we could have been in Sydney, or even New York! Amongst the sights were the Tokyo Skytree, a broadcasting and observation tower and Japan's tallest structure (second tallest in the world), The Imperial Palace (outside only as the public isn't allowed in), the Sumida River, the Fuji Television complex, the Rainbow Bridge (lights up like a Christmas tree at night), the historic Kabuki theatre building, Tokyo midtown and various impressive government buildings.

Sumida River


Tokyo Tower

Rainbow Bridge

Fuji Television Complex

Kabuki Theatre


But for us, the best attraction was the Edo-Tokyo Museum, a futuristic structure that holds a wealth of information about the history of Tokyo from its earliest days to the present. The museum, which is vast and modern, has bilingual displays and enormous scale models of various important places in Tokyo's history. We spent several hours there and took a stack of photographs.

A full size bridge, the entry to the museum

Scale models

Lifesize model of Kabuki (theatre)

Penny practising for Evandale...

Interactive models

An escalator that just goes on and on

The Edo-Tokyo Museum
We also took a day trip down to Yokohama. Even though our ship leaves from there we knew we wouldn't see anything of the city beforehand, and the experience of finding our way around the subway system, purchasing rail tickets and simply feeling part of the vibrant Tokyo buzz was a real drawcard.
Yokohama is a lovely city and we enjoyed walking from the main station to the promenade to have morning tea at a French boulangerie, followed by a spot of shopping. We accidentally came across the Global Headquarters of Nissan and enjoyed viewing brand new vehicles including a two-seater that looks like a motorbike with a roof.
We then caught a train to the Kannai station and wandered down the famous Bashamichi avenue towards the waterfront. There we discovered the World Porters department store complex where we stopped for lunch, and watched hundreds of people enjoying themselves in the beautiful sunshine in the park opposite, close to the shipping terminal, and boys fishing from the bank of the river.


The walls were covered with pictures of you know what!

Traditional Japanese restaurant
After two weeks of travelling around Japan we're ready for our next adventure - but it won't be all relaxation. We board the ship this afternoon but our first shore excursion is tomorrow, at Mt Fuji, and two more days of sightseeing follow in Kobe before we have our first sea day. Bring it on!
The Skytree from our hotel lobby