Here we go again, another day where we needed to pack up and check out of our room early ready for our final move of the trip. We knocked on Neil’s door at 9.15am and took our cases down and asked to leave them in their store for a while whilst we went out for a walk. It was another lovely day as we walked the short distance to Senso-Ji Temple. There were not too many people about as we set out but we arrived the grounds of the temple were already crowded. Unlike the shrine we visited yesterday, this temple was surrounded by high rise buildings and there was not a lot of greenery.
All of the temple and outer buildings including the pagoda had been destroyed during the war and subsequently rebuilt following donations from benefactors. Before going into the shrine both Karen & Neil donated 100 yen and selected at random a lucky drawer to open to be granted either good or bad fortune. They were both lucky enough to randomly pick sheets with good fortune on them which they took away with them. We then did the ritual cleansing and went up to the temple. This time there were figures and other objects that people were paying their respect to. Could this be the difference between a shrine and a temple?
As we came out I decided I would too like some good fortune. So I went to the same ’stall’ as Karen & Neil. However I managed to pick a bad fortune sheet. One of the things it mentioned was that thing that had been lost would remain lost. That will be that ruddy JR pass that had never turned up then. To remove the bad fortune, I followed the instruction to tie the sheet to a rod and as we left the temple then leave the bad fortune would be left behind.
We then wandered out of the temple grounds and along Senso-Ji shopping street, which was like a permanent market. Some of the stalls sold just 'tat' whilst others seemed quite up market. Karen & Neil both had ice creams. Karen chose another Green Tea one whilst Neil went for a Sweet Potato one with a flake of raw sweet potato.
At some point yesterday both Karen & Neil had been bitten by something. Neil is adamant it must have been a snake or something equally dangerous and venomous. By now Karen was in a lot of pain and her lower leg was turning dark red and throbbing. Neil’s ankle where he had been ‘attacked’ was also starting to swell although it was not until much later in the day that his started to become sore when he twisted it. Karen was taking antihistamines and pain killer as well as rubbing in some topical cream to take away some of the pain.
Slowly we made our way back to the Hotel via yet another Don Quijote shop where again we tried to locate the stationary section to no avail. Instead both Neil & I used a machine to made hanko’s of our own names (small stamps of our names written in Japanese). We then went back to the Hotel to collect our bags and use their facilities. Then we were off on the Tsubu Express. Neil & I had planned a route to Tokyo Disney that had the minimum of changes on the train to help Karen who struggled changing platforms with her luggage. The journey would take a further 15 minutes but we thought it would be worth it. It turned out to work well as we eventually pulled into the Tokyo Disney station.
It was quite a long walk from the station to the Hotel especially as we couldn't find the quickest route. We had to stop a couple of times as Karen’s leg was now really sore and an increasingly large area around the bite was going dark purple. Check in took 31 minutes, mainly because of confusion on the Hotel’s part in charging us for breakfast. They refunded the whole amount I paid and tried to start again. However their new calculations of the amount were wrong several times but in the end I gave up and paid for one breakfast, just so we could get into our rooms. Then because they had been charging and refunding large amounts to my credit card multiple times, eventually my card was declined, so I ended up having to use a different card.
Anyhow after a quick turnaround we decided to explore Ikspiari, this is the Japanese Disney Downtown. The nearest entrance to us was through one of their hotels. We explored the Hotel first and had some drinks and snacks for our lunch.
Ikspiari. was really like an indoor shopping corridor on multiple levels. That actually does it an injustice as it was much prettier than that and had lots of interesting shops and things to explore. It had an outdoor hub where all the levels and routes met. It had that typical happy Disney vibe and feel.
We then bought a day pass for the monorail and headed for the posh Disneyland Hotel which is just feet from the park entrance. Neil was now in peak form telling us what every building was and the history of how and where it was all constructed. It was lovely to see and hear his enthusiasm which was infectious. The Disneyland Hotel was very nice and had a feel of the Grand Floridian. We shuddered to think how much it would have cost us to stay here.
After this we went back on the monorail to the Hotel at the entrance to the Tokyo Seas Park. This was all built in an Italian style. Whilst it was nice it wasn’t as posh as the Disneyland Hotel. It did have one interesting feature in that it’s back wall was actually the perimeter of the park. Therefore looking out of the back windows you could watch the people in the park below you.
After a quick wander round we hopped back on the monorail and completed the loop round. Back at Ikspiari after visiting the official Disney store for the parks we headed to the conveniently situated Outback restaurant situated in the main hub. I had steak as usual whilst both Karen & Neil had the burgers. As usual the food was tip top. We had the most attentive waitress of the trip who was constantly fussing over us and refilling or replacing drinks even if you hadn’t touched them. I almost got a sore back from the amount of bowing that took place on the way out.
We were back in our rooms by around 9.30pm as we knew we had an early start the next day going into the actual theme park and wanted to be ready for it.
As usual Karen made cups of tea when we got back which brings me to grumpy old man moan with Japanese Hotels. Why don’t any of the mugs they provide you with in your rooms have handles? The cups get so hot it is almost impossible to pick them up. And on the same subject, in a country which is so obviously conscious of looking after rubbish why do they use so much plastic? Even in Starbucks the drinks wrappers to protect your hands are made of plastic, rather than cardboard. Don’t get me started on banana’s - why do I have to buy them in many places here laid on polystyrene wrapped in clingfilm?