Friday, 18 December 2015

Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December

On Thursday the group went to the Tokyo Sky Tree, at 634m the tallest free-standing tower in the world. Whatever the record, it is a very long way down from the observation deck to the ground. Although cloud covered Mt Fuji, we had great views of the whole of Tokyo, from the sea to the edge of the Kanto plain.
The tower visit was followed by free time around the shops at the base of the tower, and then we moved to Asakusa. The purpose was to visit the famous shopping street that leads to the temple and pagoda. We entered through the Kaminarimon gate and made our way through the lines of souvenir shops to the temple. It was very crowded as Asakusa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tokyo.
We were guided around both sites by Kaoruko, who has just returned from a year studying at Cashmere HS. She was happy to give up a day of her holiday to help us. Kauruko lives about 20 minutes' walk from where we are staying. Her mother helped organise our dinner which was in a small Japanese restaurant where we sat on tatami mats rather than chairs. Following dinner, Kaoruko introduced the group to the nearest game centre, where Mr Smith won the drumming battle and others tried the photo-booths and other games on offer. 
We then headed back to the YH and said goodbye to Kaoruko, thanking her for a great day.
Here are photos of the day:

Tokyo Sky Tree.

Tokyo metropolis from the observation deck (the first deck in the photo above).

At Asakusa - Karinarimon gate.

   Asakusa Temple

   Lewis's birthday surprise cake, at dinner, on tatami mats.

   Kaoruko and Kate at the photo booth at the game centre.

   Two tuna heads outside a restaurant next to the game centre. 

   Adapting to the commuter lifestyle, riding the trains. 

On Friday, the last full day, the group went to Tokyo Disneyland. Although it was not crowded by TD standards, there were still a lot of people of all ages in the park. The groupmhad free time for the day, and were given money for food of their choice to keep them going. We stayed to see a spectacular electric light parade and Christmas fireworks display.
Today was also the first chance to get a look at Mt Fuji as the weather was cold but clear.
Here are today's photos:

   Outside the entrance.

    My Fuji from Disneyland.