Our adventure today takes us to Ginza. This is the Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills of Japan. It is estimated that this is the most expensive shopping area in the world. Stores such as: Swarovski, Burberry, Coach, Prada, Abercrombie & Fitch (12 stories of it!), Gucci, Tiffany & Company, and Dior line the streets of this shopping mecca.
My husband said that he read an interesting fact: Take a 10,000 yen note
(approximately $110 US @ today’s exchange rate) and fold it as small as possible. Drop it on the ground in Ginza. Your note couldn’t afford that tiny piece of land that it is sitting on. Ginza is EXTREMELY HIGH real estate!
Although we couldn’t afford even the shopping bags from these high priced boutiques, we did find a few fun stores.
Our son fell in love with a 6-level toy store, where he bought nano blocks. I’m sure he would’ve been happy to spend the entire day in there.
I found an adorable shop that specialized in chop sticks. You could find sets for as little as $3, and as expensive as up into the hundreds of dollars. I found 3 pair that I had to have. I actually own about 8 pair of chopsticks at home. I don’t use them for eating. I use them to put up my hair. My favorite ones? The set that look like colored pencils, of course.
We found another noodle shop for lunch. There are ramen shops all over Tokyo. They have pictures posted outside the restaurant with a number on each photo. You go in and place your order with a machine by the door (giving it your selection number). You pay the machine and get a ticket. You take the ticket to the counter and within 5 minutes, you have a hearty (and very filling) lunch for under $6. You can’t beat feeding a family of 3 for under $20. Also, there is no tipping in Tokyo.
After lunch, we hopped on the train to the Imperial Palace. The grounds are amazing with waterways, well-manicured grounds, gorgeous buildings, and cherry trees bursting with blossoms.
The grounds are surrounded by huge stone walls. They meander up a steep slope that levels out at the top. Here is where you will find a large grassy area surrounded by cherry and magnolia trees. There were several hundred people sitting under the trees and relaxing. It is said that having cherry blossoms fall on you is good luck.
The three of us took half an hour to sit in the sun under a beautiful tree. The light breeze made sure that blossoms blessed each one of us. It was a very peaceful break in the day.
The guys decided that they wanted to eat sushi for dinner. We found a cute little sushi bar where the chefs put selections on a carousel. Patrons grab what they want to eat and set their stacked plates aside. Once they have finished, the waitress comes by and adds up how much you spent on dinner. We ate for $30. Not bad for fatty tuna, sake, shrimp, eel, etc.
Tomorrow we are headed to hot springs and the Hakone/Mt. Fuji area. We were originally going to take the Bullet Train, but found out that it was going to be over $200 for a 25 min. ride. We decided to purchase the Hakone package where we get to take a different train, mountain rail, boat, and bus in the next two days.
I’ll be sure to post how everything went in a few days. Until then, Sayonara!