We woke up early, and went to the convenience store to get some breakfast. We checked out of our hotel and transferred back to the mainland for our last hotel of the trip. We dropped off our stuff and walked a few minutes south to Hinode Pier. There we purchased tickets (760 per adult, 380 per child) for a trip up the Sumida River. We had to wait in line for a little bit to board the first boat of the day, but there weren't too many people in front of us, so we made it onto the boat easily. Because the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, they were running extra boats that day.

We had kind of an odd experience for Japan while we were waiting to get on the boat. There was an old Japanese woman who kept trying to get ahead of us in the line. This is very strange for Japan, almost everyone is extremely polite in line. Even during rush hour, people wait in single file lines to get on the subway, so it was odd to see her trying to skip ahead in line. When it got time to board, she was right behind me. When we got to the boat and went upstairs, she tried to push me out of the way to get a better seat. It was pretty funny, since I outweighed her by about 100 pounds. We managed to find good seats and set off on the cruise.

Enjoying the Sumida River cruise

The cruise heads up the river and crosses under many different bridges. The banks of the river were covered in cherry blossoms. We got so lucky to see all of them as the peak blossom season was supposed to be almost two weeks after we left Japan. It was one of the earliest seasons on record in Tokyo.



Views from the boat

There was a different boat company that also ran boats, but their boats looked like spaceships. It would have been fun to take one of those boats, but their first cruise wasn't until about an hour after we wanted to leave. We did pass a couple of them coming down the river.

Spaceship boats

As we continued on the trip, we got some nice views of the Tokyo Skytree.

Tokyo Skytree

We also got to see the Asahi Beer building which looks like a giant foam topped beer. Asahi, also built the "golden poo" building next to it. It is supposed to look like a golden flame, but that's not what most people think it is upon seeing it.

Asahi Beer Buildings

We got off the boat in Asakusa in a little park that was full of cherry blossoms.



Park near Asakusa Pier

We took the subway over to Ueno to see the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park. Ueno Park is just a short walk west of Ueno station and it is full of cherry blossom trees.



Ueno Park

It was absolutely spectacular with all of the trees in full bloom. It was also packed with people. We couldn't get over how many people there were there considering it was a Tuesday morning. We walked through the main path of the park and it was amazing. It is absolutely covered in cherry blossoms everywhere you look.





Amazing views of cherry blossoms

We stopped a young Japanese woman and asked her to take our picture. She took it and then kept saying just one more picture. She did that several times and we ended up with all of these:


Family portraits

We saw lots of people that had spread out tarps or blankets and were enjoying the day with picnics.

Picnics in the park

After we finished walking through the park, we went back towards the station to look for lunch. We walked around for a while trying to find a tendon place, but stuck out and ended up at a small cafe which served pasta. After lunch, we took the subway to Ginza. Ginza is a famous shopping area that has lots large stores from famous brands. Our first stop was the Sony showroom. They had lots of Sony products on display including some new 4K resolution TVs which looked awesome. They also had a really cool 3D demonstration of a PS3 racing game which included a real seat and a steering wheel with pedals.

After the Sony building, we started heading in the direction of our hotel and stopped at a toy store along the way. The store was pretty standard on the first few floors, but on the top floor they had a really cool slot car track. You could just pay a couple of hundred Yen to rent a car and drive it for five minutes. We put in our coins and let Tyler take control of the car.



Racing slot cars


Slot car video

After the slot car racing, we walked back to the hotel and were able to check in. We went up to our room and our bags, which we had dropped off in the morning, were waiting for us again. That is certainly something I could get used to. I wish that hotels in the U.S. had as good of service as they do in Japan. There weren't very many restaurants near the hotel, so we walked to the nearest train station to find dinner. We walked around outside the station for a while but couldn't find anything too exciting, so we went back into the basement of one of the buildings near the station and found a restaurant that served Japanese style curry. Erin and Tyler had curry and I ordered a Japanese fried rice omelet.

After we got back from dinner, I took some pictures of the Tokyo Tower which we could see from our hotel room.

Tokyo Tower

It was our last night in Japan and we spent it at the Intercontinental Tokyo Bay.

Continue to Day 13

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