Friday, November 03, 2006

Japan - Asakusa, Tokyo

For our last day, after visiting the Studio Ghibli museum we had planned to visit Asakusa, take a water cruise around Tokyo on the Leiji Matsumoto-designed Himiko boat, then visit the Sega Joypolis in Odaiba. The Himiko is a really cool boat designed to look like a spaceship, and on night cruises it lights up inside like a giant disco. Like a lot of our days in Japan, it was going to be a day mixed with modern pop culture and Japanese traditions - and it was jam packed full of events.

We hadn't planned originally on visiting Asakusa, but it is coincidentally where the Himiko is launched from, and that was really going to be the big event of the day (Leiji Matsumoto and Hayao Miyazaki back to back - it was an anime day, alright). You've seen Asakusa even if you don't know it - it's a huge tourist spot, and the part of Tokyo most often shown in stock photos whenever anybody wants to show off traditional Japan. It's home to a temple and a lot of the same type of souvenir shops I mentioned in earlier posts - that area with the gate that flanks a giant lantern. We figured we may as well check it out as long as we would be in the area on the way to the Himiko cruise.

So we regrouped at our hotel after the Ghibli museum, then headed out for Asakusa. We arrived about 4PM, having checked the cruise times online - the last one was scheduled for 6:30PM. Unfortunately for us, we had looked at the weekend schedule - by the time we got to the ticket office, we had missed the last cruise by 30 minutes.

This was one of the main events I was looking forward to on this trip, and being that it was the last day, I was pretty bummed. I was so depressed about it that I didn't even care to see Asakusa - we walked through the gate, saw that it was pretty much like every other temple we'd seen so far, and left. Even if I hadn't been so depressed, I don't think we would have gotten much out of Asakusa by that point - we'd been to temples in Kyoto and we'd been to one more temple and the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, and by comparison Asakusa almost seems fake. It's just a complete tourist trap.

I almost didn't even feel like going to Odaiba anymore - we'd planned on riding the Himiko there, but without it running, we weren't even sure how to get there from Asakusa. It seemed like too much time and energy, as tired as we were by that point, and as irritated as I was to have missed my chance completely to ride the Himiko.

But my wife convinced me to find the train to Odaiba and at least salvage the Joypolis out of the deal. We still had time.

Up next (and soon!) - Odaiba and the Sega Joypolis! End of trip!

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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