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 time.

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 for bed.

Continue to Day 3

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