Winter Vacation Part 3 – More Tokyo


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This is continued from Tokyo, Japan. If you missed that part, I encourage you to read it first. Also if you missed the Tokyo GoPro video, here it is!

Our Third Day in Tokyo – Ghibli Museum

Our third day in Tokyo was freezing, well, less than freezing. It was snowing…a lot. It was also the day we planned to visit the Ghibli museum. The Ghibli museum is a museum dedicated to Studio Ghibli, the studio behind Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and most famously Spirited Away. The museum is wildly popular and issues tickets for specific dates and times to keep the crowds down. Because of this, our tickets were date specific so we had to brave the snow. Nicole and I put on every piece of winter clothing we had and caught a train to the museum, or tried to.


During snow, Tokyo’s fantastic subway system becomes a bit more convoluted. One of the trains we tried to take wasn’t running the full length of its route so we had to hop off and transfer to a different train. Several announcements on the matter were made. However, they were all in Japanese, and, alas, I do not know Japanese.

Once we arrived at the nearest station we had a 1km walk. During agreeable weather this walk is beautiful and through a park. During snow, this walk is cold and terrible. Weather aside, we eventually made it to the Ghibli Museum. It’s a small building nestled in the corner of a park. From the outside it looks like a little cottage. Inside it feels like one too. There are characters from the movie all over and little tunnels and doorways for kids, and Nicole, to play in.

Our Fourth Day in Tokyo – Fancy Day

We met up with Robin and his wife for lunch downtown. Rob took us to one of the fanciest meals I’ve ever had. We had venison and a number of other fancy dishes I can’t name. After lunch Robin dropped us off in Ginza, the fancy area of Tokyo. We strolled past designer shops and stopped into the world’s largest Uniqlo so I could buy a thermal shirt and some long johns since it was so cold.

Bear Comic and Robots

That afternoon Nicole and I visited TEPIA, Tokyo’s emerging technology gallery. It’s a bit like Innoventions at EPCOT. There were lots of cool examples of new technologies. Nicole and I got to play video games, try on a jacket that changed colors in a mirror, and even star in our own bear comic.

Indian Dinner

Naan and curry
Naan and curry

That night Nicole and I visited a quaint little neighborhood where we ate more crepes and visited a bar/flowershop. It was really nice. The bar was a flowershop first and a bar second. There were flowers everywhere and squeezed between them, Nicole and I found a place to sit at the bar.

Flower Bar
Flower Bar

Our Fifth Day in Tokyo – Gundam Cafe and Temple

No the Gundam Cafe isn’t a temple as well. They were two different things we did that day. In the morning we went to Sensoji Temple and walked around. The place was packed. Nicole and I walked through crowds shoulder to shoulder to get up to the temple. Strangely enough the crowds were only in the market area leading up to the temple. The actual temple grounds weren’t that crowded and the gardens behind the temple were almost empty. The temple interior was beautiful but I preferred the view from outside and the small garden and Koi pond behind it more.

Gundam Cafe

Later in the afternoon we visited the Gundam Cafe in Akihabara. The cafe is based on the anime series Gundam. It’s about people fighting using giant robotic suits, similar to Pacific Rim. Inside the cafe there are models of the Gundam suits everywhere and TVs playing episodes from the series. The cafe is a real tourist trap, but it’s fun to visit for a drink and some light food and the prices aren’t bad. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Gundam series there’s enough novelty in the place to keep you entertained.


The gundam cafe is right in the middle of Akihabara, a mecca for all things geeky. There are tons of arcades, shops selling retro video games, and at one time cosplayers, although I didn’t see any while we were there. Nicole and I walked through a few of the electronics shops. They were selling NES, SNES, N64s, and tons of old and hard to find games.

Sushi and Setsubun

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.10.24 AM

That night, Nicole and I visited Roppongi. We had some amazing sushi and we found a little basement bar serving Japanese craft beer, called Ant ‘n Bee. However, that’s not all. The night we visited the bar they were celebrating Setsubun. A waitress gave us some origami paper and instructed us to make a box. Once we completed our boxes, she gave us soybeans and told us to throw them at the bar tenders, who were dressed as evil spirits. It was a lot of fun.

So I know I said last time…

I know I promised two entries, but there’s just so much to say about Tokyo. I’m going to split Tokyo into 3 parts, with tomorrow’s post being the last one. If you missed the first Tokyo post, it’s here.

Update: Final Tokyo Post 

3 responses to “Winter Vacation Part 3 – More Tokyo”

  1. Winter Vacation Part 2 – Tokyo, Japan – Austin Gilmour

    […] I’d hoped to write just one post for all of Tokyo but this post is running absurdly long so I’m splitting it into two posts. To read about the Ghibli museum, the Gundam Cafe, and Sensoji shrine read More Tokyo. […]

  2. Winter Vacation Part 4 – The End of Tokyo – Austin Gilmour

    […] posts ended up running a bit long so I split them up. The first two parts are here. Tokyo 1 and Tokyo 2. Also, Nicole bought me a GoPro video camera and I made a video of our trip to Tokyo. Check it […]

  3. Day 5: The lost day, museums and such – EnRoute

    […] this anime by Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, called Porco Rosso about a pilot that is turned into a pig and his adventures as a pig pilot in […]

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