Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trip to Japan, Day 7+ (Tokyo and Home)

Back to Tokyo we go today. Osaka is a great central city to stay in if you're planning to travel around the lower half of Japan or even up to Tokyo.

We initially tried to book for accommodation in Kyoto but had no luck as every single one that we had checked was booked up during the cherry blossoms season. So next best was Osaka and staying at Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda was an excellent idea as it is located just 5 minutes' walk away from the train station. The rooms that we booked were comfortable. Nothing fancy at all but was great. One of the rooms faced the railway tracks and you could not hear the trains go by at all. Also you get a good view of the Umeda Sky building.

So anyway, on the way back to Tokyo I was trying to catch another glimpse of Mt. Fuji. The weather that day was slightly overcast so by the time I could make out the outline of Mt. Fuji I quickly grab my camera and managed to only grab a few photos but without its peak. Luckily we spotted Mt. Fuji the first time round when on our way to Osaka. Perhaps next time we will make the trip and stay in a Ryokan near Mt. Fuji.

When we arrived back in Tokyo we decided to split up and went on our separate ways for the day. Not everyone has the same interests as you so best that we all do and see what we want then meet up later on to check-in and have dinner etc. For me I wanted to head back to Akihabara Electric Town because that was one of my main places that I wanted to check out and we didn't spend that much time there the first time round.

@ Akihabara Electric City

@ Akihabara Electric City

As this was my last day I said to myself that I wouldn't buy too many things but sadly once I got there, immediately I walked out with two Gunplas from the first shop I popped into and that was the Yodobashi-Akiba store. I simply could not resist. The price was great and the selection was plenty. Next stop was the Radio Kaikan/Kotobukiya building which is just a short walk away from Yodobashi-Akiba.

@ Akihabara Electric City

This place is supposed to be the holy place for anime and manga lovers and they were correct! The building is full of the latest pop culture items. Kotobukiya is located on the first floor and has a large variety of figures, as well as Ghibli characters. When I got there the place was absolutely decked out and packed. Lots of goodies to check out and it was near impossible to move around with so many people covering almost all areas. If you have the time, you can easily spend a good few hours here checking out all the figures/ toys they have on display and which to buy... :) I had to tell myself to refrain from impulse buys. It was very hard to do.

My next stop was LaOX AsoBitCity 2. This place would be my second favourite place next to Yodobashi-Akiba. It's slightly smaller than Yodobashi but I think they have better discounts on slightly older items. At that time I was comparing the 1/144 HG OO Gundam Seven Sword (GN-0000 GNHW/7SG). Price difference was ¥400 which is enough to have a cheap lunch really. So yeah definitely pays to shop around and between these two places first. Also another thing in these two places is that prices quoted do not include tax so it's added on at the counter.

@ LaOX AsoBitCity 2

After this I just roamed around the area and landed myself at the Bellesalle Akihabara building where they were hosting the Street Fighter IV Japan National Tournament 2010. Whoa! A bonus for the trip! I only stayed long enough to watch them finish the semi-final round before I left. They were letting people play the new Super Street Fighter IV on the rows of arcade machines there for free too. After this it was getting close to our meet-up time so headed back to Akasaka to our hotel.

Street Fighter IV Japan National Tournament 2010 @ Bellesalle Akihabara

Next morning we woke up to catch the N'EX aka Narita Express from Tokyo Station to Narita Airport to catch our flights back to our homes. A most enjoyable holiday and saw lots of things most loved while growing up. I would thoroughly recommend going to Japan to see the cherry blossoms and everything else in Japan. Would definitely recommend a longer trip as well as we found that eight days was just too rushed.

If you're after a map of Akihabara Electric Town click here. Otherwise if you have the time check out these guys for a free tour of the area. Or even just general duty-free shopping shops around this area click here.

For more pictures head over to the Tokyo link by the Snapshot area on the right.

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