Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winter Illuminations Tokyo 2014

Last year, to see the illuminations in Tokyo I packed up the kids in their gloves, hats, winter coats, scarfs, extra layers of clothes and headed out on the train (this year we did our tour earlier, so only light jackets and hats needed).  We saw a lot of neat lights, froze our fingers off, and starved because I didn't pack enough snacks and both kids refused to eat anywhere I suggested (now I know 7-11 has yummy peanut butter sandwiches with a cute peanut imprinted on the front).  Also, I got to Yokohama when I realized I forgot my camera at home, so I took all my pictures on my phone.  Especially disappointing because Tokyo Tower was blue in celebration of Tokyo being selected for the Olympics in 2020.  

This year, we decided to do things a little different.  We booked a room at the New Sanno for Sunday night, with plans to get up early the next day and head out to Takao-san.

We made it to the hotel a little earlier than we thought, so we grabbed the sandwich stuff and headed out to the park to eat and take a little stroll.


Some of the leaves were turning yellow.

Oh, and to the dude in the grey sweatshirt....if you're going to buy a shirt with English writing on it, please know what it says.  And, if you do know what it says, shame on you!  I edited out the word, and am glad my eager to learn to read son didn't try to sound out that uck word.

Garytt was so fascinated with this fireplace.
He insisted I take a picture of him in front of it so he could see.
At three we made it back to the hotel where Kris took a little nap while I took the kids to the swimming pool.  A little shock to my momma-heart:  Mackenzie can now stand up in the deep end with her head out of the water, no problem.  Also, Boy can stand in the deep end with his head tilted back a little.  sniff sniff.  When did they grow???  Make it stttoooooppppp!!!!!


Around 5 we decided to get dinner and then move in the direction of the lights.  My plan was a little overzealous, I admit.  But, I figured if I put everything on the list that I wanted to see, maybe we could get half of it done and it would still be an awesome trip!

Last year the kids and I walked around Roppongi Hills (probably my favorite last year) and we saw the Caretta Shiodome show.  This year my list had: Shiodome, Roppongi, Ginza, Shinjuku, Midtown, Dome City, and Harajuku.  Where we actually went:

We hopped on the train at Hiroo and we were on our way to our first stop:  Dome City.  But, once we were on the train we saw an ad for Christmas Town at Sky Tree.  "Whoa," said I.  "We must go there!"  How can we pass up on a place called Christmas Town??  So, I axed my first stop and we headed for magical Christmas Town instead.

We left Oshiage Station and walked toward the magnificent tower.  Well, the Christmas Town wasn't as magical as I thought it would be.  Basically, it was a few rows of beer tents and treat tents.  Darn.  Oh well, it was still pretty awesome to see the Tree decorated in red.



Maybe not real appropriate, but here's Kenze posing with a very drunk looking Santa.  On the right, Garytt saw that giant bear and ran over for me to take his picture.  As he was walking back toward me I noticed the line of people waiting to take their pictures with that bear...oopsie!  I bow, and apologize, and plaster that "so sorry" look on my face as we quickly walk away.

The decorations around Sky Tree were very over the top.  It was certainly a Christmas town, but it was gaudy.  Tons of red-nosed reindeer and Santas everywhere.  The trees leading up to Sky Tree were pretty, they were a little more simply decorated.  


The steps leading up to Sky Tree were pretty fun.


Okay, when we were finished here, we went back to Oshiage and made our way toward Shinjuku and Harajuku.  But, on our way we were walking through Shimbashi Station and it hit me that this was where the Shiodome lights were.  Last year I had a hard time finding this place.  I walked around the outside a bit and then through some buildings before accidentally finding where the lights were.  This year would be different.  Or...not.  We walked and walked and walked.  And, still we didn't find the place.  We did have some fun along the way though.  

A few weird statue men crawling around on the premises.  




Finally, we saw some lights reflecting off a building and moved that way.  Once we got over there the kids squealed.





The theme this year is Canyon d'Azure with 25,000 LEDs.  The show plays for several minutes every twenty minutes starting at 5 and ending at 10:30.







After walking around for a while looking for the Caretta light show the kids were getting tired.  Perhaps swimming for an hour that afternoon (an activity that easily exhausts the kids) wasn't such a good idea.  Oh well.  We had to narrow our list down to just one more site.  I chose the place that was top of my list last year, but ran out of time to see.  We got back on the train and headed toward Nogizaka Station, then walked toward Midtown.

Tokyo Midtown

We chose the "Starlight Garden" as the last spot to see the lights.  We started out walking through the park.  Trees were lit up on both sides and there were lights in the water as well.


Look-y what I found...a beautiful gingko all lit up!


Champagne glasses with lights that moved like bubbles up and down the trees.


Once we walked down the street a bit we found the "Starlight Garden".  There are about 280,000 LEDs set to music and described as a "walk through the cosmos".  I thought the music was soothing and calm.  When it was done Kris turned to me and said, "Is that it?"  :)  It was only a few minutes worth of music and moving lights.  





Look who was hiding in the background.


We walked through the shopping complex across the street and went one stop from Roppongi Station to Hiroo.

We found this earlier in our day... Llama Llama, It's Christmas, Momma!