Sayonara, Tokyo!

As strange as it seems, even though we’re on a relaxing vacation (despite the walking) we still can’t seem to sleep past 7 A.M. I normally get up at 6 A.M during a regular work week so I kinda feel ripped off by not being able to enjoy a longer state of unconsciousness. Oh well, there are certainly worse places in the world to wake up.

The extended weather forecast we had been looking at had been suggesting possible rain on Saturday. Our own accu-weather update (done by sticking our head out the main door of the lobby) verified the day to be only somewhat cloudy, warm and a little less humid. An excellent day for visiting more areas of Tokyo.

High hopes for the day ultimately turned into much walking and sitting. We did manage to cross off another 2 items from our list however. After breakfast we made our way once again to the Shinjuku Train Station. We knew we had to go back to Asakusa and we are (now) quite capable of finding our way successfully. As many times as has been mentioned before, you will walk and use stairs (in both directions) almost as much as you ride the trains. About an hour later we have returned to where we were Friday.

After making our way back up, to the streets of Asakusa, the Tokyo River Cruise terminal was our destination. But…where? One thing we have confirmed is that if you are looking like a lost tourist trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, in just a couple of minutes someone will step up to help you. Language barrier notwithstanding, politeness and helpfulness abound. This was proven again and soon we were entering the building to buy our tickets.

A lesisurely cruise down the Semeda River (through the middle of Tokyo) seemed like a pleasant way to NOT WALK and yet still see some of the city. Coupled with the wonderful weather, that is exactly what it became. There were 2 routes offered – one direct to Odaiba, the other having one transfer. By the time we got to the terminal, the first choice was full leaving only the second still available. No matter, there is no haste in our pace.

It seemed prudent for each of us to sit on either side of the ship so pictures could be taken appropriately. Although not a guided tour it still offered a view that was completely different from other modes of transportation. Life along the river is varied as is evidenced by the structures that include both home dwellings and buisness buildings. The trip took us under a total of 15 bridges and also gave a backside view of Tsukiji Market. The Rainbow Bridge, easily the most impressive given its robust handling of many different types of traffic, is aptly named given the rainbow of lights that are turned on in the evening.

Odaiba is a man-made island that started life as a landfill. Now it has become a shopping mecca and a local retreat for simply sitting back to enjoy a picnic, shop or do nothing at all. It is here we chose to have a late lunch at a restaurant called Gonpachi. Soba noodles with a duck broth and soba noodles with tempura mixed veggies along with slivered tuna, seaweed leaves, shredded spicy squid tempura and slices of avocado. All complimented by yet another Sake. Most notable (at least to me) is that each Sake enjoyed seems to have it’s own unique character. This one is Very smooth, a little more flowery with a shorter finish and zero bite. This could be problematic over time. 😉

The lost tourist approach, this time at the train station, helped us get a direct connection back to Shinjuku (as we were just about to get tickets for a 2-train solution). Much better because it was only 1 train, yet still took the better part of 45 minutes to get back.

After leaving Shinjuku for the last time we thought it best to cross one more item off our list. Skytree tower, although the tallest free-standing structure in world and certainly worth the observation deck trip, is also a long way from where we are right now. On top of that is the wait time to get up to that viewing deck and the cost. To go to both decks (floor 350 and floor 450) it will set you back about $30 USD. Directly behind our hotel is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. A trip up to the observations decks on the 45 floor of both the North and South towers costs…$0 in Any currency. Easy decision although admittedly not quite as impressive.

By this time the feet are demanding a return to our hotel room where slippers and elevation will silence their complaints. Pedometer count has reached a new high of 12,803.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we say Sayonara, Tokyo as we make our way to our new accommodations for the next 16 days.

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