Day 15 – The Finale

Sometimes there are things we do in life that, no matter how great they go, we always want more.  This Japan trip follows this perfectly, and yet in knowing that I still tried my best to have as much fun as I could this final day.  I divided the day into two parts: day and night.  The weather was awful, yet these pictures are still so impressive.

The day started with a trip to the Marunouchi district, which is effectively downtown Tokyo and one of the largest mostP4150006 modern districts in the city.  It is also where the city’s busiest subway line get its name.

Walking around this area gives you an idea of just how big Tokyo station is, even after walking three blocks from the main station that I came up from, I was still over the station’s underground extremities.  And, of course, like most busy rail stations in Japan, unless you know it is there, you would not even notice it.

The real reason for the trip to this district was its proximity to the P4150010 Chiyoda district, the home of the Emperor.

To say this area is beautiful is an understatement, Japan being Japan you could only imagine how meticulous they are about how they keep the Emperor’s lawn.  According to what I read, this is the most expensive square kilometer of land in the world.  At the height of Japan’s economic growth, this plot of land was worth more then the state of California! Incredible.

Unfortunately, I learned too late that coming to the palace on a Friday (or Monday) is a bad idea because most of the public grounds are closed, so I didnt get to actually enter the compound.  This disappointed me, but I guess I have something to look at, along with Nagano, when I return to Japan.

The next stop was the district of Nihonbashi (listed in tour books as Nihombashi, but as the Japanese dont have an “m” sound, clearly wrong).  This district is very financially centric and even contains the P4160023 Tokyo Stock Exchange which reports the Neikkei and Topix averages.

This is the first time I have ever been inside a stock exchange as the one in New York is locked down pretty heavily and doesnt allow most people to even get close.

Truthfully, there are a lot of interesting things to see here, even for someone with little to no knowledge of business and economics.  I really liked the Economic History Museum; I got to see how the Japanese economy was affected and changed by the Pacific War.

At this point, I made a decision to head back and save the second part of the trip for night; I wanted to get some shots of Tokyo at night.  Along the way I stopped and saw an old friend: Tokyo Tower.P4160045   Strangely, when me and Kamin ascended the Tower 3 years ago, I was more excited and was so impressed with the view.  Now, after the Landmark Tower and TMG (Tokyo Metropolitan Government), I was hardly impressed.  If you asked me today, I would not recommend ascending it, unless you feel like burning money; still I got a few shots that were pretty nice.

I decided to return to the hostel to rest, recharge the camera battery and make more time for my friend Bruna (from Bosnia) to complete her activities; she had promised to walk around Odaiba with me.

Let us just say, the weather did not improve, but I was undeterred.  After resting for a couple of hours I decided to return to the TMG building and see if I could get some good night shots, you be the judge.

 P4160058 P4160048

P4160056

When I finally put these in my digital picture frame I hope that the view is shown in a form that is justified because it really is jaw-dropping, even with the rain.

Following this I grabbed a small dinner and met up with Bruna at Shinbashi station, our goal: take the Water Bus across the Bay of Tokyo, walk back across the Rainbow Bridge on foot.  Well, we were not able to find the Water Bus, it seemed to be closed, though we saw ships on the bay.  And Bruna probably saved my life by convincing me to NOT walk across the bridge.  The winds were howling and the rain was starting to come down hard.  So we settled for some shots of the city and the bridge from Odaiba.

P4160079 P4160084 P4160088 P4160075 

All in all it was a very fun time, despite the weather.  We headed back totally exhausted through the maze of subways that is Tokyo’s underground.

One of the things I learned this final day is the value of the 1000yen Metro/Toei pass.  This saved me probably 2000yen in the end and is a must for anyway sightseeing in Tokyo.  The reality is, you will take the subway mostly when you travel around Tokyo, its just more convenient then even the Yamanote.  Buying this pass lets you pass through all the stations for a one time charge of 1000yen, it might be the best bargain in the city, and anyone can buy it at anytime from any subway ticket machine.

So that’s it, tomorrow I am returning to America.  I admit, I was hoping that the volcano eruption in Iceland might cancel my flight for one day.  The only things that I sourly missed from being here was a shot of Tokyo Tower with Sakura and an experience of Tokyo nightlife in Roppangi.  I will have to save these for the third trip.  🙂

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