This was our last full day in Tokyo. Tear! There are so many things we didn’t get a chance to see yet – the Tokyo Tower, the Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza, and on and on – but instead of seeing brand new parts of town, we decided to return to the Akihabara area, one of our favorite places on the trip. We wanted to pick up extra gifts and see a few things we didn’t have time for the first time around including a visit to the Pokemon Center in the Sunshine City Mall!
The place was decked out for Halloween with loads of specialty items. This place is like Candyland for Pokemon fanatics, so of course I picked up a haul of plushies, socks, hats, cards and other gifts for my Pokemon-crazed family back home. Love this place!
The grounds of the Imperial Palace are stately and vast. So vast, in fact, we actually got lost looking for the palace itself, and I’m not entirely sure that we ever found it. The grounds that we did see, however, were impressive and perfectly manicured. The Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan’s Imperial family. TOURIST TIP: The east grounds are open to the public, but a guided tour of the inner grounds require a reservation ahead of time, which we didn’t have.
After leaving the grounds, it’s worth taking a short walk to view the facade of Tokyo Station (if you haven’t passed through already). It’s one of Japan’s busiest railway stations. We walked through the business district and stopped for lunch at a yakitori restaurant where we slipped into the culture by slipping off our shoes. The restaurant catered to the working crowd and the staff spoke little English. We fumbled our way through as humbly, and politely, as we could, pointing at something on the menu and hoping for the best. Luckily, we were in Tokyo and every meal was amazing, this one included. We walked away completely happy and grateful for the experience of being totally out of our element. It gave me a new perspective on the challenges facing foreigners to my country.
For the most part, Diver City is your run of the mill shopping center with one notable (and larger-than-life-size) difference: a giant-ass statue of the robot Gundam. The mall is located on the man-made island of Odaiba. If shopping and robots aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other tourist attractions including a ferris wheel, a statue of liberty replica, and a beach.
From ultra-modern electronics to ancient temples, we covered a lot of ground – and many centuries – on our second day in Tokyo.
One of the biggest goals of this trip was to track down elusive video games in Akihabara Electric Town, the “nerd capitol” of Tokyo. This district of the city is famous for its stores dedicated to video games, gadgets, anime, j-pop, k-pop, and – for some reason – a whole lot of claw game arcades. The cramped shops run for blocks and they’re stacked several stories high. After some intense hunting and exploring my huz finally struck gold and found the game he came for.
After making our contribution at the temple of modern gadgets, we traveled west – and back in time – to the Sensō-ji Buddhist Temple in the beautiful Asakusa district. It’s the oldest temple in Tokyo, pre-dating the modern city. From the oldest temple in Tokyo to the tallest tower in the world, we hoofed it across the river to take in the enormity of the Tokyo Skytree. I regret not making the trip up, but between the lines and our aching feet, we decided to leave it for the next trip.
Nestled on the edge of wilderness and reality sits an escape from work, computers, news, traffic, knots in my stomach… the list goes on. I just got back from my first proper vacation with my husband in four, count ’em, FOUR years! Life – that sneaky, selfish thief – has a way of robbing us of quality time with our loved ones. This time, we got the upper hand on that old miser Life with the help of a stunning and serene “home away from home” at the Log Cabin Resort perched along Lake Crescent on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I gazed at the view from our campsite at the resort. Look at that! Clear, blue-green water. Mountains. The city? Where is that again? Lake Crescent is essentially a deep valley between a ridge of mountains that filled up with water. The lake sits within Olympic National Park, so there are tons of places to explore in the area while you’re here.
Of course, if you feel more like being an away-from-homebody, there’s really no need to leave at all. Here’s what the Log Cabin Resort has to offer:
1. Accommodations to fit any lifestyle. If your style of camping is setting up a tent or an RV, there are designated lots with picnic tables and fire pits on-site. Prefer to travel a bit lighter? The resort offers a variety of cabin-style accommodations including Lakeside Chalets with beds/bathroom/mini-kitchen, Lodge Rooms, Camper Cabins, and Rustic Cabins.Pro Tip: Book early! We booked about a month out and got the very last tent spots. All of the cabins were gone!
2. General Store. Aside from the typical souvenirs, essentials and “oops, I forgot the s’mores stuff” odds and ends, you can also stock up on quality mix-and-match craft beer at the general store in the main lodge. I spotted Hales, Pyramid, Fremont and many others. After working up a sweat setting up your site, cool down with soft serve ice cream sundays (with honey lavender topping!) from the counter. And in true PNW fashion, you can get a latte or cappuccino made to order any time of day. OK, so we’re not exactly “roughing” it here, but I’m a city gal and I have needs, darn it!
3. Restaurant and Lounge. The lodge restaurant offers a full and generous buffet-style breakfast in the morning, as well as lunch and dinner off the menu. The breakfast turned out to be a godsend when we got drenched twice and didn’t want to eat at our site in the rain. Breakfast costs about $12 and we thought it was worth the price. Lunch and dinners were more expensive, so we stuck to hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill. Next to the restaurant is the lounge area with WI-FI! Sweet, sweet 4G. There are also a stack of board games for those rainy days. You’re looking at a 2-time Scrabble champ right here!
4. Water Activities. Take full advantage of the lake on those sunny days. The resort rents paddle boats, paddle boards, kayaks and canoes by the hour. It was $20 for an hour, $30 for two hours, and a little more for full day rentals.
5. Common Bathrooms. The bathroom facilities are nothing special. About what you’d find at a typical campground. There’s a coin operated shower. 25 cents for a few minutes. I had warm water for my shower. There was one sink in the ladies room and an electrical outlet – however I was “strongly urged” to leave my hair straightener home…