Day 2 was another day with nice weather so we set off early in the
morning to get over to Ueno Park. We walked to Shinjuku Station
and caught a nice view of the beautiful Tokyo Metropolitan Government
building along the way.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
We took the subway over to Ueno and found the exit for Ueno Park.
We were headed to the National Museum of Science and Nature. We
got there about 15 minutes before it opened at 9:00, so we walked
around the park and grounds before heading back to the museum to
purchase our tickets (¥600 per adult, ¥0 per
child). There's a giant life size replica of a blue whale outside
the museum, so it is hard to miss. We got in the doors right
around 9:00 and went to the back building of the museum. That
building is newer and has more displays and signs with English as well
as overall better displays. Tyler really enjoyed this display
with all of the crabs.
Tokyo National Museum of Nature and Science
They also had lots of weird things on display, like fetuses and
intestines. It was pretty strange and interesting at the same
Some odd displays
They also have a neat spherical theater that was included with the
admission price, so we went back to the first building to watch the
movie. It was pretty cool as you walked in and stood on a catwalk
inside the sphere and the movie was literally all around you on the
entire inside of the sphere. It was fun to watch even though it
was only in Japanese and we had no idea what was being said.
After the movie, we went back to the 2nd building and found the hands
on exhibit flow. That was a lot of fun and there were lots of
cool things to try and play with. Tyler really enjoyed it and
hopefully learned a few things as well. There was a really fun
magnet exhibit, which was made even cooler when a helper came over and
stuck nails on Tyler's hand.
Hands on fun with magnets
After the museum we walked back through the park and went back under
the train tracks in search of a large toy store called
Yamashiroya. Tyler and I could have spent all day there if we
were given the chance. There's just so much stuff in it and so
many unique and different things that you can't find in the US.
There are 6 floors just crammed full of stuff.
Erin did manage to eventually drag us out of there to find lunch.
We wandered around the neighboring streets trying to find something to
eat and eventually settled on a vending machine restaurant. In
case you don't know, at a vending machine restaurant, you put your
money in a machine and push the number of what you want to order.
It then prints out a ticket which you give to the person behind the
counter and a few minutes later you have a plate of food ready to
eat. We had mixed success, Tyler and I liked what we got, but
Erin ended up with a croquette and some noodles that she didn't really
like. It was one of her least favorite meals on the entire trip.
Eating at a vending machine restaurant
After lunch, we walked south to Akihabara. We could have taken
the train, but decided it would be more fun to walk to see more
stuff. It is just over a mile between the stations, so it didn't
take us very long. We realized we were in Akihabara when we
stumbled across a robot shop. They had all kinds of robot parts
and kits in there ranging from about ten dollars to several thousand
dollars. We turned up the street and found the main part of
Akihabara. Akihabara is the electronics and Otaku (geek culture)
center of Tokyo. There are all kinds of anime related stores,
electronics, hobby stores and arcades. We went in a few of them
and walked around and just looked at all of the buildings. I was
amazed at how many trains they had in their hobby stores. They
have entire floors just full of N gauge train engines. I took a
couple of pictures of a small section of the display cases.
Examples of a hobby shop train case
They had many more cases full of engines and cars as well as racks of
buildings and other things. Trains are still really popular in
Japan and that is probably directly correlated to how much they are
used as a major form of transportation.
We finally called it quits and headed back to Shinjuku to rest at our
hotel for a little bit before heading out to find dinner. We
ended up at a Yakitori place which is basically grilled meat on a
stick. Tyler and Erin wanted to try it so we went in and got
seated upstairs. We got a menu and then Erin and Tyler were less
excited about eating there since most of the things to order were
strange parts of animals grilled and on a stick. We tried to get
as normal of stuff as possible and it was good, but the waitress looked
at us pretty strangely when we ordered since we didn't order very much
stuff to begin with. Once we found one we liked, we ordered
several more sticks worth and got enough to eat. We walked around
the streets of Shinjuku for a while before heading back to the hotel
Continue to Day 3
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