When we were with Tim’s friend on Saturday, we aquired subway cards that are similar to our Daegu Toppass in that they can do any train or bus and you can recharge them easily in a subway station. The difference is that in Daegu, there is a flat rate to ride a train or bus and in in Tokyo, you pay based on how far you travel.
With our new pasmo passes, we decided that we would be adventurous and check out some different train lines and go out of the city a little bit.
We only went one town over to Mitaka, but still. We took the JR Yamonote line to the JR chuo line to the metro Marunochi line. Then, we got off at the train and took a bus to the Tokyo Edo Open Air Museum.
We had to walk through a park to get there. It was a nice park with trees and grass and families playing. There was even a big train. It was behind a fence though, so Clarissa was disappointed that she couldn’t get super close to it.
I was really excited to see what the houses and buildings looked like in Japan in the past. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was closed. We planned the trip to go home on December 28 because we read that a lot of things close for New Years the last 2-3 days of the year. Apparently, this museum closed on December 26. Oops.
All was not lost though. We walked back to the train station instead of taking the bus so that we could see what a normal (not in the big city) neighborhood would look like in Japan. There were houses and duplexes. A few villas, but not tall apartment buildings like in the big city. We did see a shrine on the way. I think most neighborhoods have their own shrine.
Also, I thought it was funny that they had 7-11 in Japan, but most of them had this sign…
We took the train back to Nakano, which is supposed to be the most crowded neighborhood in Tokyo. Tim’s friend told us about a shopping area there that Tim should check out for video game, anime, and gundam model stuff. So we headed to Nakano Broadway, as it was on the same train line.
We were hungry so we went to Lotteria for lunch. They have them in Korea too, but the sandwich choices were way different. I got a teryaki burger with egg and Tim got the Kobe burger. Clarissa, of course, ate french fries. We ended up sitting next to a mom and her little girl. Clarissa made a new friend. They had a great time playing together, even though they didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Japanese. The little girl was three.
Then we headed to Mandrake. There were several different stores in the four story shopping mall. Tim found a Gundam model he has been looking for for a long time. Clarissa found a Ponyo doll. We also bought a Totoro puzzle to do together. It was a very successful trip.
We thought we would head back to Shibuya for dinner. We went to Shibuya Hikarie becasue it is supposed to have several shops and places to eat. It did. But most were overpriced. We decided on a Chinese restaraunt, but the service was terrible, and they wouldn’t let us order a bowl of rice for Clarissa. So we left. The trip wasn’t a total waste though because the views from the 11th floor were pretty cool.
We went back to Shinagawa and ended up at Royal Host. It was actually a nice little restaraunt. They had a special menu for kids and brought Clarissa a bib with a bee that she actually wanted to wear. Tim ordered pancakes, french toast, and sausage. I ordered a steak burger with fries. Clarissa wanted fries, but surprised me and actually ate some of my burger after she finished her fries.
The cool thing about the pasmo card is that you can return it and get a refund of the cost of the card (500 yen, about $5) and whatever amount you have left on the card. So we returned our cards on our walk back to the hotel.
We headed home on Monday. We took the airport limosine bus back to the airport and were pleasantly surprised that there was a special line for families. Most people had to wait in a long line, but we only had to wait about five minutes before it was our turn.
They also asked us if we wanted to use their stroller while we were in the airport. The check-in girl was confused because we were headed back to Busan on our American passport. She wasn’t familiar with the special visa that we have. Tim had been warned to bring his letter of employment, and that was exactly what we needed to get through.
The food was great, yet again. Japan Airlines really feeds you well.
The flight attendants were very nice and even walked by to tell us we could see Mt Fuji out the airplane window. Tim got a couple of really cool shots.
We got through immigration in Busan without a problem. We were able to catch the next bus back to Daegu. That was totally a God thing because we only had to wait 20 minutes and ended up with the last two seats on the bus.