Friday October 2 – Saturday October 3 - Tokyo

Early in the morning the captain announced that our expected 8 am docking would be greatly delayed, because the port was closed because of the storm and the danger of passage into Tokyo Bay. Kirk laid on entertainment and we were allowed to stay in our suites until after lunch. The Intrepids enjoyed the services of our wonderful waiter, Alejandro, one last time at lunch. We had a bonus lecture on the life and music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and a bonus trivia round as well. Although the Intrepid 8 achieved our worst score of the trip, it was enough to tie with the H-Bomb for first place. We were rewarded with a corkscrew each. They’re very nice, but we don’t need 3 of them, so gave one to our substitute player, Myrna. Finally, around dinner time we disembarked in Tokyo, found a taxi and got to our hotel. It had been a surprisingly tiring day, so we searched out a tiny café for sandwiches, reserved a shuttle to the airport for Sunday and a tour of the city for Saturday, and turned in early. Our tour pick-up was at a different hotel at 8 am Saturday, so we took a taxi there around 7 and had breakfast in the hotel resaurant there.  Prices are steep, and the continental breakfast was about $35 each, but what an experience! The room was lovely, with views of garden and water. The service was impeccable, including bringing a little basket to set beside the table for all our belongings. The bill was a little metal tablet that the server set into a holder on the table. The others around us were all Japanese, eating from the buffet. The atmosphere was very peaceful except for the heated conversation at the next table. It was a nice way to start our day. From the hotel we were driven to the central bus terminal, then sorted into groups and put on other busses for the various tours. Our guide “Minnie” (she said, “like the mouse, call me Minnie-san") was the best we’ve had in Japan. Her English was near-perfect, though slightly accented, and she was responsive, humourous and engaged.

We visited the Meiji Shinto Shrine, the Imperial Palace East Gardens, the Sensoji Buddhist temple (very busy) where we watched a wedding party moving through various areas in solemn procession.

 Lunch was Western-style and very good. Then we took a short cruise around the harbour. As we came back we could see a wedding party arriving to one of the other cruise boats, with a fancy red car

that appeared to be a wedding gift sitting on the dock. After a short stop at the Aqua Centre in Odaiba, where we saw the replica Statue of Liberty, we crossed the Rainbow Bridge and were dropped at Tokyo Station, the hub of the train and subway lines for the city. Minnie had given us careful directions to go to Akihabara, where Larry wanted to check out the big electronics area of the city, and from there to our hotel, all by train.

 It was confusing, but with her instructions we first got to Akihabara. What a crazy place! Minnie had warned us it was where all the geeks, nerds, and gamers hang out. People in costumes, and crowds everywhere. We wandered for a bit, then found an English pub, where we had dinner. The trip to the hotel was much more of an adventure. First, we had trouble figuring out the right train to get on, but finally succeeded. When we got off, she had suggested we take a subway to a closer stop to the hotel, but we decided to walk. It was very dark, and we were not sure of the route. Luckily, an English-speaking young woman offered her help. She had to involve the local police, who gave good directions through her, and we arrived back safely. Hot and very tired once again, and ready for bed.
Click for other Tokyo photos over the 2 days

Click for more details on all the stops of the cruise