Thursday, November 23, 2006

Imperial Palace, Ginza, Ebisu, Odaiba, Roppongi & Disneyland

Photos of Imperial Palace courtesy of Fuji Film Staffers

The Imperial Palace

"The Imperial Palace, formerly Edo Castle, is still surrounded by its original innermost moat. Handsome gates and old guard towers are set at intervals around the grounds. The main entrance is approached by the elegant Nijubashi or Double Bridge and is open to the public on special occasions. The East Garden (Higashi Gyoen) is where the original donjon once stood. The garden is graced with flowers and blossoms..."--Japan National Tourist Organization

*To get there:By train: Hibiya Stations of the Chiyoda, Mita and Hibiya subway lines, Nijubashimae Station of the Chiyoda line, Otemachi Station--Mita line, Tokyo Station-Marunouchi line, and Yurakucho station of the Yamonte and Keihin-Tohoku line.

If leaving from the TIC (Tokyo International Centre),turn left and go a couple of hundred metres to the moat that you will see to the right. Find the road that crosses the moat and this leads to a park.Crossing Nijubashi (Niju Bridge) allows you to see inside the Imperial Palace grounds. Higashi Gyoen or East Garden is just a little north and is open until 3PM on most days. It is an attractive Japanese garden. A nice walk can be had by strolling along the moat. In the spring this is one of the most beautiful places in Japan, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom.


Just a ten minute walk takes you to Ginza district, one of the most famous shopping areas of the world. "It is still the place to go and be seen emptying the contents of a bulging wallet. Even if you are on a tight budget, Ginza is aninteresting area in which to browse--the galleries are usually free and there are lots of discount coffee shops." --Japan, Lonely Planet There are also a few movie theatres in the area if you`dcare to see the latest movies. You can also watch Japan`s famous Kabuki theatre at Kabuku-zain Ginza. There are usually headphones available so you can hear what is going on in English whilewatching the action on stage. Kabuki-sa Tel. 03-5565-6000

Tsukiji Fish Market

"The long, cold trip to Tokyo came to an end for tuna number 197 with a thud, a bonk, and one last cavernousclunk as the huge fish toppled off the truck and skittered across the slippery concrete floor. Two, maybe threedays earlier, this torpedo-shaped bluefin had been searching for its supper in chilly waters off Boston."The Great Tokyo Fish Market Tsukiji, National Geographic Vol 188, No. 5 T.R. Reid

Tsukiji is by far the largest fish market in the world. It ranks at the top of every measurable category.You should try to get there after 7AM but before 10AM. It is an interesting place to go to watch theaction. Be careful though of the delivery carts that go speeding around the market. Ebisu (Yamanote Line)

Ebisu Station is next to Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. It is a pleasant, Western looking area and goodfor strolling around. There are some good restaurants and shops in the area. Ebisu Garden Place(Tel. 5423-7111) is very picturesque and can be reached easily from Ebisu Station. It is a romantic spot at night that is all lit up. There is a very nice French restaurant at the end of the square and the Beer Museum Yebisu which is open from 10AM-6PM and gives free admission. You can sample the various Sapporo Beers. There are manyrestaurants and cafes in Ebisu Garden Place and some are up on the 38th and 39th floors of Ebisu GardenPlace Tower. They offer excellent views of the city.

Odaiba (in Tokyo Bay)

Odaiba was built on reclaimed land and reminds me of a miniature version of English Bay in Vancouver. If youhaven`t been to English Bay in the summertime, you are missing a very beautiful and interesting part of the world.Odaiba is worth going to as well, if you are not from one of the very picturesque port cities, or if you simplywant a break from the crowds of Tokyo. Odaiba is like spending the day in Seattle or Vancouver. It has thatkind of atmosphere. It really doesn`t seem like Tokyo. To get there take the Tokyo Rinkai Shinkotsu Sen(Tokyo Waterfront New Transit Line or the Yurikamome Line). There are some very nice hotels in thisarea and it might be a nice area to stay in while you visit Tokyo. You can go into Tokyo for the day andcome back to your hotel in Odaiba to relax. There is even a white sand beach in the bay.

Fuji Television has a very interesting building in Odaiba with a large ball. You can`t miss it! You can pay a smallfee to see the view from the observatory. There are tours of Fuji TV too, but they are all in Japanese.

Decks Tokyo Beach Complex: Has many shops and restaurants. There is a movie plex too. You can saunter over to nearby Shiokaze Park and have lunch. It affords nice views of Tokyo Bay and is a romantic spot at night.


Roppongi is still the place to go for dancing and nighttime entertainment. You can reach Roppongi easily fromEbisu Station by taking the Hibiya Line. You can also reach it from the Toei Oedo Line. There is not muchof interest during the daytime here. Tokyo Tower (modelled on the Eiffel Tower) is not so far from Roppongi.Station.

Tokyo Disney Resort

This huge area comprises Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea,the Ipskiari Shopping Center & the Official Disney Hotels that surround the two amusement parks. Palm trees are in abundance and you can be forgiven for thinking you are in Hawaii!

(Near Tokyo, in Chiba) It is open from 8:30AM-10PM in the summer and 10AM-6PM in the winter. Though smaller it is very similar to Disneyland in California. Tel. 047-354-0001. To get there take the Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station and get off at Maihama Station. It only takes about 13 minutes.

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