Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Landmark Tower/Queen's Square Yokohama/New Sanno

The tour is New Sanno Brunch and Queen's Square Yokohama. We went today and had lots of fun!!As always, the New Sanno Brunch is a MUST DO!! We had about 4 hours when they dropped as at the Queen's Square area. They actually stopped right in front of the Yokohama Art Museum. I didn't go in, I shopped too much!! I will go back for that!! In this area, you have way too many things to choose from! Queen's Square buildings and Landmark Tower all have upscale wonderful shopping. Hard Rock Yokohama is in the Queen's square building. There is a book store called "Yurindo". In the back of the book store, they have a whole section for English speakers. If you are teaching English, there are a lot of books here. They carry my personal Favorite: The Original Point and Speak Phrasebook for 1500 yen. Hard Rock Yokohama is in the Queen's square building. For some weird reason they were closed today so we have to go back. I have heard the prices are almost double from the states, so you may just want to get dessert there! Landmark Tower is the tallest building in Yokohama (Rappongi Hills Tower is the tallest in Japan.) However, it's pretty darn tall! It has the fastest elevator in the world!! *TIP-If you are having any problems with your ears DO NOT get on the elevator!!!! It takes 40 seconds to go 69 floors!! That is FAST!! Your ears pop!! This is a must do destination!! The admission is 1000 yen for adults and high school students are 800 yen and junior and elem is 500 yen and little ones are probably free. On the 69th floor there is a cafe, a gift shop, and some other small shops. There is a poster map you can purchase that is the view from the tower and it actually has NAF Atsugi on it and lists all the Mountain names. Very nice! There is an amazing 360 degree view from the observatory. You can see the Cosmo World (?) amusement park from up there! Very cool! Cosmo World has a bunch of kids ride, a huge ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a log flume type ride, and lots of other stuff. Nippon Maru is there, you'll have to look that up, it's some kind of old tall ship you can explore.There's lots and lots of other things too! Do some research before you take the tour or go there on your own!! You can spend a whole day for sure!!My whole family enjoyed this tour and it was well worth the money! You don't have to spend any money eating because you've already had brunch!!

Sensoji Temple Tokyo

If you are looking for a day trip that includes history, sightseeing, shopping and food, plan a day to go to Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. It is the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo. It is a very beautiful and interesting temple to visit. Frommer's Review:Also popularly known as Asakusa Kannon, this is Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple, with a history dating back to A.D. 628. That was when, according to popular lore, two brothers fishing in the nearby Sumida River netted the catch of their lives -- a tiny golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and happiness who is empowered with the ability to release humans from all suffering. Sensoji Temple was erected in her honor, and although the statue is housed here, it's never shown to the public. Still, through the centuries, worshippers have flocked here seeking favors of Kannon; and when Sensoji Temple burned down during a 1945 bombing raid, the present structure was rebuilt with donations by the Japanese people.Colorful Nakamise Dori, a pedestrian lane leading to the shrine, is lined with traditional shops and souvenir stands. In fact, the whole Asakusa area is one of my favorite neighborhoods, and you can easily spend half a day here.You can actually spend a whole day from dawn until dusk here and if you decide to take the Sumida River Cruise which is in walking distance, you can really make a super day of it.From Atsugi, go to Chuo-Rinkan on the den-en-toshi line. Take it all the way to Omote-Sando. (NOTE: the line actually turns into the Hanzemon Line. Pay attention to the English announcements to make sure you are on the correct train, I have had to transfer to make sure it changes into the Hanzemon line.) You can transfer at Shibuya, but it is easier to transfer at Omote-Sando due to the smaller station size. Transfer to the Ginza Line and take it to Asakusa, which is the last stop. Keep in mind that the train ride is about an hour and a half. Also keep in mind that on the way back, the trains are PACKED.TIP: If you haven't already picked up a temple book, this is a good place. You can purchase one near the temple for 1000 yen and have it stamped for about 500 yen. This is a wonderful souvenir that you can pull out and remember your temple and shrine visits for years to come at a reasonable money output.MUST DO: Across the street from the Entrance Gate is the Asakusa Tourist Center. They speak very good English! They can provide you with a map of the local restaurants that breaks them down by specialty. They will be honest about recommending the best restaurants. We ate at a newer place that we asked for and it was yummy. It was only about a 4 minute walk away. The center has some really nice cultural items and you can ask questions about them. A very nice gentleman spent about 20 minutes with us explaining some items we were curious about. On the front of the building their is a clock. Every hour, on the hour, the clock opens and a mechanical portable shrine, with people carrying it comes out, plays music and it is really delightful.Other things to do: Get your fortune at the temple, waft incense your way for good health, light a candle for someone, enjoy lots of local food, shop, shop, shop, baskin robbins, KFC, a couple of good bars, Karaoke, Sumida River Cruise, see the torch shaped building. If you want to take the Sumida River Cruise, I recommend that you check out the times early. Take a round trip that goes to Pallett town. Venus Fort mall is at Pallett Town and that's a REALLY NICE MALL. It looks like a Vegas Fancy hotel upstairs. I think you have to take two diff. boats to go there.

Sumo Elimination Tournament

My family and I went on the MWR tour to see the 2009 Sumo Elimination Tournament. It is a little different from the normal Sumo Tournament. The tournaments are 4 times per year and last 15 days. The once per year Elimination Tournament is all done in one day! SUGGESTION: Do a little bit of research the day before about sumo and the current wrestlers, this will improve your enjoyment of the day! The bus ride took about an hour and a half. We arrived at the Ryogoku Kokugikan at about noon and promptly were shown to our seats. They were just starting the next to highest level of tournaments. We easily found a food booth to grab some hamburgers/fries/hot dogs and my hubby had a meatball inside a hot roll. The food was a little high, but not ridiculous. You can also find snacks and sodas and ice cream. We were able to get some nice souvenirs for a reasonable price. The seats that we were given were very good seats. MWR purchases "A" seats, which are on the 2nd floor in chairs right at the front. We could see the matches very well and take wonderful pictures. We even were able to have our picture taken with a sumo wrestler. He was HUGE. The matches make for a long day, so I suggest taking the first part of the day to walk around, take pictures, grab some food and if it is open, go to the museum. Then settle in for the kids training which you don't want to miss!! They pick boys 12 and under to go out with two sumo wrestlers and knock around a bit. It was delightful. If you have a 12 or under boy, you may want to try to get them in training. Just remember that they have to put the diaper thing on and may feel very self concious in front of all those people!! But, boy is it worth it!! The matches themselves do not last long. Some are more exciting than others! You will see some of the wrestlers have attitude and the crowd really gets into those matches. Of course as the elimination goes forward, the crowd gets more excited. You will be able to tell the crowd favorites when they shout out their names over and over. My whole family loved this event and I recommend it for everyone. This is definitly worth the money and the time!