Japan 2013 Day 7: Shinkansen to Tokyo and Shibuya

by - 11/18/2013

The day before Kevin and I left the hotel, we decided to forward our luggage to the hotel in Tokyo using the takkyubin service in the lobby. I highly recommend using this service if you are going to travel on the shinkansen, as there is no room for large luggage. We forwarded two large suitcases and one carry on suitcase for somewhere around $70.00. The only thing we needed to do was take a small carry-on with us to last us until the next day, when our luggage would arrive. It got to our hotel in Tokyo the very next morning, so it was very convenient! 

We left somewhere around 9:00 am. Before we departed, I purchased a bento from the little store on the platform. The whole bento, which was a good size, cost me no more than $3.00!  

The bento had three onigiri, a breaded fried fish, sausage, an egg, shrimp, a hamburger patty, and a tasty hard boiled egg. It was really nice! I was ready for our three-and-a-half hour trip to Tokyo! If our JR passes would have allowed us to use the faster Shinkansen, I think we would have gotten there in two hours or something like that. 

The view from the shinkansen was great! I was able to see schools, houses, apartments, small glimpses into everyday Japanese life. At one point we went through a tunnel, and when we emerged, I was greeted with this sight:

It literally made me go, "Wow!" out loud. It was much, much bigger than I thought it was going to be. I don't know why I thought it would be any smaller, It's a freaking mountain for Christ's sake. But there it was in all it's glory, on a really beautiful day. 

When we arrived in Tokyo we were again greeted by English speaking staff, which was quite nice. This hotel was waaaayyy more swank than Swissotel, and much, much bigger. I noticed during my stay there that most of the people appeared to be foreigners there on business. There didn't appear to be many people there on vacation.

The lobby
When we got to our room, we were greeted by an actual fruit platter, with a note telling us to call them if we need someone to come and cut it all up for us! This hotel did not have a pillow menu, but they did have a room service menu where you could circle what you wanted to eat, what time you wanted it delivered, and just hang it on your door! How convenient is that?? 

The room itself was humongous. Kevin and I decided to splurge a little bit as it was our honeymoon and all. We had a king size bed, and ample space. The bathroom was amazing. It had a gigantic shower/tub, a huge vanity, and one of those amazing Japanese toilet. They had one at Swissotel too, and oh man, let me tell you. It's so hard to sit your ass down on a non-heated seat after knowing the pleasure of a heated one. But I digress. 

The best thing about the room was the view. We had a gigantic picture window that you could sit at, and you could see from Shinjuku all the way to Odaiba. I can't even describe how great the view is, so I will just show you: 

Shibuya Scramble
As a side story, while we were staying at this hotel, we got a letter from management reminding us that there is no smoking in any of the rooms on this floor. Kevin thought, maybe my clothes with the cigarette smoke is leaving a smell in the room? So he went down to talk to management about it. They said that every room on that floor received a letter, because someone was smoking, but they knew that it wasn't us. The next night when we returned to our room, there was a box of candy and cookies on our table with a note: 

We don't know why they gave us these goodies, but we think that it might have been because we asked them about the letter. Maybe it was a "sorry to inconvenience you" gift? Who knows, but it was a nice gesture. 

The hotel also had a bakery attached to their restaurant in the lobby, and I just had to get something from there. I spotted this and I knew I needed to stuff my face with it. I assumed that it was going to be filled with apple in some way, shape or form. 

And it was! It had this yummy baked, spiced apple at the bottom, with this fruity mousse on top of it, with a crispy cookie bottom. It was slightly tart, but fluffy and sweet at the same time. So nice! 

One morning, I also decided that I wanted to get a traditional Japanese breakfast. What came to me looked like a piece of art. I love all the different foods in their separate dishes. 

We went up to the top floor to see what restaurants were up there. They were very expensive, so we decided not to eat there. But there was a gorgeous view!

Please excuse the weird filter thing going on, wrong camera setting.
From our room, the view got even more spectacular at night.

Tokyo Sky Tree
Shibuya Scramble at night
I'm not sure why Tokyo Tower was lit up in different colors. I read on Wikipedia that they often change the color of the lights to commemorate something. Like when President Obama went to Japan recently, they made it red, white and blue. Normally, Tokyo Tower is colored like this:

This is the amazing window that we had.

And this is what I had to do to get that picture above.

Maybe next time, I will pack a tripod...

Tips for Shinkansen Travel: 
  • Forward your luggage to your destination. We used Yamato Transport Co. LTD., and you will recognize it by the yellow logo with the two cats. You see it everywhere in Japan. Remember, there is no room on the shinkansen for your large luggage. It would just be a hassle. 
  • Pack a carry on if you choose to forward your luggage. It will not get there the same day, so plan accordingly. 
  • Buy food before you get on. The shinkansen makes stops (this one did), but it doesn't give you enough time to get food. So get a bento and some snacks before you leave. There are also vending machines in the shinkansen, and if you are a smoker, there are smoking sections. 

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