Posts tagged “Japan Sightseeing

Tokyo Disneyland

ImageTokyo Disneyland was much the same as Disney World in Florida (I’ve never been to California’s Disneyland, so I can’t compare). It was comfortable to navigate, even without Japanese; all sales transactions and the like were handled with ease. I didn’t have any sort of issues/emergencies, so I don’t know how well equipped they are to handle something like that in a foreign language, but I imagine they’re at least competent. 

The rides and attractions were largely the same as at Disney World. There were a few differences: There’s a Western Land “Shooting Gallery” (I didn’t go to this), a Westernland Picture Parlor, where you can dress up in western style outfits (Western here meaning cowboys and such), Pinnochio’s Daring Journey (also skipped this…I think it’s along the same type of track ride as Snow White’s Adventures or Peter Pan’s Flight), Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (a kid ride, skipped it), Chip n Dale’s Treehouse (a house for kids to climb through),  Donald’s Boat (similar, for children), Goofy’s Paint n Play House (Also skipped this, it’s in Toontown…the description says, “Use the special paint applicators to help Goofy redecorate the room”, I’m not sure what that actually entails, but I bet it’s not as fun as it sounds), Monsters Inc. Hide and Go Seek (skipped), Captain EO…a 3D Michael Jackson film, SKIPPED, and Star Jets, in which you ride a rocket very slowly in a circle, and you can control how high or low you fly. There’s also a kids’ roller coaster in Toontown called Gadget’s Go Coaster, that was quite fun. It’s a kiddie coaster, but it’s fast and fun with a lot of dips and quick turns. 

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Some attractions/shows are available with English subtitles, but most aren’t. I went to see Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D, a show with a lot of classic Disney songs weaved throughout the show. It was actually really interesting and enjoyable to hear those songs in Japanese, and Mickey’s “Arigatoo, arigatoo” at the end of the show was super cute. 

I would say the largest difference is the food selection. Food here is quite Japanese…expect to be a little disappointed by the churros at the food stalls, expect strange flavors of popcorn (curry, for example), the pizza is Japanese-style, there are spring roll carts, etc. There is some Western food available also, but from what I ate while I was there…don’t expect it to taste like normal American food. 

Another difference is the souvenirs which are offered. They’re, again, mostly the same, but there are a few things that specify “Tokyo Disneyland” on them, or seem to be specifically Japanese. For instance, there are floor cushions for sale (which Japanese people use to sit on tatami floors), key chains with Mickey and Minnie in kimonos, school folders which show Minnie dressed up geisha-style, handkerchiefs with Japanese patterns on them, etc. 

I’d pretty much always recommend a trip to Disney, to anyone. It’s the happiest place ever, after all. The staff at Tokyo Disneyland and the experience itself were wholly pleasant. Everyone was very polite and happy. The lines were long, but not what I would classify as insane. I went on a weekend in summer, and it was comparable to a day at Disney World during spring break (but it wasn’t as bad as Easter Sunday). If you want to go to Tokyo Disneyland during a summer weekend, I’d definitely recommend grabbing Fastpasses ASAP for whichever rides/attractions are a priority for you.

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Mt. Fuji (Fujisan)

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Fujisan was definitely the most beautiful and breathtaking sight I’ve seen so far in Japan. It may even be my top natural sight that I’ve seen anywhere in the world (Notre Dame is my top man-made sight). I would classify it as a “Must See” if you’re in Japan and have an even remote appreciation for nature. 

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Fujisan is 12,388 ft, making it pretty damn impressive (though, for perspective, there are some peaks in the Rockies that rise into the 14,000-something territory). I think (having seen both the Colorado Rockies and Fujisan) that it appears more impressive because of its shape and the fact that it’s essentially standing alone. There are other mountains in the area, but it stands alone in the fact that no other mountains are garbled onto it. You can clearly see its mostly smooth, nearly symmetrical, sloping outline and it’s volcanic conical top. It makes it more beautiful, and seem more gargantuan, than any mountain I’ve seen before. 

Fujisan is one of Japan’s 3 Holy Mountains (note that it’s called “Fuji-“san”, and not “Fuji”-“yama”, which is the normal suffix for mountain; “-san”is more respectful). Next year it will become a Cultural World Heritage Sight. Mt. Fuji is an active volcano (and as of early 2013 has been even MORE active…eek) but it last erupted in the early 18th century. 

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We took a bus tour up to the fifth station, which is at about the tree line, and as high as you can go by vehicle and during the spring. In the summer you can hike up to the summit, but those trails are closed in May. At the fifth station there are souvenir shops (where you can buy what I believe is canned air from the summit) and restaurants and a small museum, as well as picturesque views of the summit and the surrounding valleys and mountains. 

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We also stopped at a park with beautiful pink flowers (“ground” sakura? was the translation I got from my Japanese-speaking friend), and gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji. There were of course numerous food stalls open here as well, as seems to be the case anywhere in Japan that may have tourists. (You will seriously never go hungry in this country). 

So, if I had to wrap this up with one resound piece of advice, it would be GO TO MT. FUJI. It’s awesome. You won’t regret it, even if you end up spending a little more money on a sightseeing tour than you wanted. 

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