15 Aug 2014 Day 10: Tokyo view and strolling through Shinjuku, Shibuya & Harajuku
We started the day by walking from the apartment to Shinjuku station as a practise run for the next morning when we would be walking with our luggage. We decided it would be easier in the early morning to walk instead of taking the subway. The route was very straight forward and didn’t take us long at all. As we were in the station we decided to buy our tickets for the Narita Express for the next day to save us having to do it in the morning. NEX trains require seat reservations which means you have to choose a specific departure time. I purchased our tickets from the small office outside of the station entrance from an attendant who spoke enough English to make the process simple. I had written down all the information just in case it would be needed.
After buying our tickets, we went to the Krispy Kreme store in Southern Terrace to have their special limited edition donuts. The previous year we were a little later and had sampled the Christmas pack. This time we were there before Halloween so Krispy Kreme had themed donuts to suit the occasion. The donuts are baked fresh throughout the day and the delicious scent wafts outside.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has two towers, each with an observation deck 202 metres high and they are both free to enter. It is about a 1 km walk from Shinjuku station. Outside of the building were two giant metal Ladybugs which impressed our two year old. The elevator to the observatory is located on the first level and we got confused as we didn’t realise we had walked into the building on the second level. We had to take an elevator down to level 1 and then get in line for the elevator to the observation deck. After riding the elevator up to the 45th floor we entered a room with a small cafe and souvenir shop. All around the room are windows looking out over Tokyo. From one side we could just make out Mt. Fuji’s snow-capped top and weren’t sure it was really it. Once the fog cleared a bit more we could make out the rest of the mountain. The view showed how huge Tokyo really is, the city stretched as far as we could see.
We spent about 20-30 minutes looking around the observation deck before Fletcher became bored. We rode the elevator back down and then went up the escalator to the same door we had entered from. We stayed in the courtyard area for a little bit, letting Fletcher play around the ladybugs as promised.
We then went for a walk around and Fletcher was wanting to go to sleep so we had to try to avoid the bright sunlight. We strolled around the area and then went to the bakery near Shinjuku station and chose some items to have for lunch when Fletcher woke up. I had thought a picnic in the Shinjuku Gyoen national park would be perfect but we didn’t know how long Fletcher was going to sleep for and didn’t want to walk around the same area for over an hour.
We decided to walk towards Shibuya station and got a little lost wandering through park land around Yoyogi Park. Fletcher was out of the stroller and running/walking along near the bushes to the side of the path when he screamed and ran away. He told us there was a snake in the bush and we don’t know whether he really seen anything or a noise just spooked him. He still talked about it when we returned home. We got out of the forest area and found our way back onto the street.
The gate entrance to the main Yoyogi Park area was closed off with a warning sign about recent cases of dengue fever being linked to mosquitos in the area. We spotted an old wooden playground with bench seating off to the side so crossed the road and ate our lunch there. Tim had chosen a black focaccia out of curiosity and didn’t think much of the flavour. I had one with bacon, cheese, avocado and spinach on top and I thought it was delicious. Fletcher enjoyed a quiche type pastry and as this was Japan I was able to find a vending machine for drinks just a few metres away.
After lunch, Fletcher got back in the stroller and we continued walking to Shibuya. The main thing we wanted to see was the Hachi statue outside of the station as the last time we went to see it, it was very crowded as it was a weekend. We saw Hachi, crossed the famous Shibuya crossing and then took a short train ride to Harajuku to get the famous crepes we missed out on last visit.
There was a long line at one crepe stall and hardly anyone at the one just across from it. Not feeling very patient I went for the quieter stall, I’m not sure if the other ones are superior. I got us the two special limited edition crepes . Tim’s was an oreo cookies and cream and mine was a matcha cheesecake and strawberry. They were both filled with a lot of cream and were very sickening in a delicious, this can’t be good for me sort of way. I was glad mine had strawberries that cut through the sweetness, although Fletcher ate most of them.
After our crepe fix, we practically rolled back to our apartment and got everything packed up and organised for the next morning as we were taking the Narita Express to the airport for our flight home.