After a fantastic day at Nagashima Spaland, I woke up nice and early and finished packing up everything.
we were headed to Tokyo today, for a cooking class (that, spoiler, was amazing. . we learned how to make Gyoza & Yakisoba).
it was a free day, as long as we were at the cooking class in Tokyo by 6pm, and after the class? we were going to be headed to Tokyo Disney Resort Complex to check into our final hotel for the trip, and the Disney Days.
but on this day? Jon and I were gonna go on a Godzilla hunt!
Sunrise over Nagoya from my room. (and again, a pic out the window, but not a picture of the room. . d'oh!)
once again, I was up a bit early (I think by 6:15, as a few of us met up in the hallway to head down to the breakfast buffet that was on the 7th floor, and we got there just before it opens).
from just outside the Breakfast Buffet on the 7th floor, able to get a nice view of the Nagoya Station (and the lovely sculpture out front on this side).
I don't seem to have taken any pics of the buffet here, but it was more Japanese options than any of the other hotel breakfast buffets - which makes sense, as this hotel mainly caters to Japanese Buisinessmen on travel, rather than tourists. It was laid out like a reception buffet in a room with tables, rather than a permanent buffet set up with dedicated "islands" of food. Everything I had this morning was really good tho, and to my surprise, one of the options in the coffee machine was "American style". . so that was a pleasant surprise.
we didn't linger long over breakfast tho, as we had to go back to rooms to grab bags, and bring them down to the lobby by 8am for the luggage transfer to Hilton Tokyo Bay.
after handing our luggage off to Elissa in the lobby (she coordinated the luggage transfer - thanks again for that awesome arranging, Elissa!), we headed out to Nagoya Station.
here's a curbside view of that sculpture from the prior picture. (and the front of that awesome Bic Camera store that was closed this early, and I didn't get a chance to check out during our stop).
the trip on a Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo would take about 1:40 minutes, but we weren't headed there directly.
Jon and I were headed to Shinjuku 1st - home of not just the Robot Cafe (tourist trap alert!), and the, ahem, "Adult" area/red-light section, but also the home of Hotel Gracery: the hotel that's famous now for the gigantic Godzilla that's coming up over the side of the building.
William wasn't going to be joining us in Shinjuku, but he was headed that way for his daily activity (think he was going to watch Sumo wrestling?).
I found it very interesting that even tho Japan seemed to be very crime free? they did have Wanted posters plastered in the displays at the Train Station.
interesting enough that I took a pic of them. . they all look so. . "nice" - a couple of them even smiling in their MugShots.
speaking of Mugshots . . . .bye bye Nagoya! It's been fun.
I still had some $$ on my Suica card, and today was the last day that I might need to use it, since we'd be at Disney Complex later today. And I said "might" as my railpass was also good for booking not just on Shinkansen, but also on standard JR line (that we were going to be on once in Tokyo).
But Jon noted that we could use the Suica card to purchase from the snack kiosks (or machines), so I burned off the rest of my cash on the card getting snacks for the Shinkansen.
these were basically "off brand Pringles" and they tasted a bit stale. But really, I bought them for the packages, which I thought were pretty, and only munched a bit on the chips (was still full from breakfast)
Even tho we had gone to a non-reserved car (not getting specific seats for our train), it was pretty empty when we first got on, and had no issue sitting together in one row for the 1 1/2 hour or so trip towards Tokyuo, where we'd change to a regular train to get to ShinJuku station.
because we were going the other Direction, I got to see things I hadn't seen during our trip down to Osaka (as I had been sitting on the same side of the train going that way). . so it was super interesting to see the landscape (and the ocean!) as we zoomed back towards Tokyo.
once we pulled into the station in Tokyo, we said our goodbyes to William (until later), and Jon and I hopped on a train on the Green Line to head to Shinjuku in search of. . . Godzilla crap to buy!
Although I had been in the Shinjuku station earlier in the trip (when we went to Fuji-Q, our express bus left from there), it is a VERY large station.
and this time we exited in the opposite direction of the Express Bus terminal, so we stepped out into another lovely Japanese hub, with tons of stimuli and activity.
looking back over towards the station for all the construction and electrical that supports all the trains.
just like New York. . well, sorta.
hey, there's Pigeons.
this was blocked off, but it appeared to be a little shrine for hand-washing.
thought it was cute so snapped a pic.
a lot of super interesting architecture in this area. . is this a capsule hotel?
regardless, thought it was cool, so snapped a pic, as we took off towards the Giant Godzilla we knew was lurking a few blocks over.
This puzzle building was super interesting too.
Seriously, I could just walk around all day looking at the buildings. But we had other things on our mind - both of us loved the Godzilla stuff, and were hoping to get some G-crap. But Jon also really likes claw machines/games, and there were a lot of parlors in this area, so we stopped a couple of times to play (and for me to spend way too much $$ trying to win some chalky candy, since it looked like it would be easy to get, but nope. . and once I started trying to win, I REALLY wanted some. . LOL).
in one of the parlors, you could win a Jack Skellington statue.
i didn't play this one - I mean, if I won it, it would take up SO much room in my luggage, so didnt' even try.
but I did try a few other machines here, including one offering Godzilla 2K diorama that was beautiful - and the workers really kept trying to help us win. They kept opening up the machine, and repositioning for us to make it "easy". . sometimes even removing the "claw" and showing us where on the box we needed to connect to knock it into the win.
after a few too many tries (but still cheaper than buying it import from Japan), I finally won one! and shortly after, Jon got one too
so after spending probably 45 minutes in this particular arcade, we both walked out with Godzilla dioramas.
but just at the next intersection?
we saw the real thing. . . it's hard to get across in a picture just HOW HUGE this thing is.
it's incredible to see, and every once in a while, the eyes light up and he breathes smoke. I'll bet it looks incredible at night, but during the day it was great too.
Godzilla Geek in front of Godzilla.
i'm amazed I'm not making a more stupid face, as cool as this was.
we weren't just gonna look at it from far away - hell no. . .. Godzilla is attacking the Hotel, and coming over the side of a gigantic movie theater. So we figured if we wanted to get some Godzilla swag? this building was certain to have a Godzilla gift shop, right?
So we headed across the intersection and up the street towards him.
(notice the Rugby Cup 2019 flags. . yep, we were there during the Rugby cup too)
and turning around. . .hmmm. . . weird, this is literally right across the street from the red-light district!
well. . before we go in search of Godzilla stuff, let's take a wander and see what we can see in this area. It's the day-time, so it will be quiet, but we're here, let's walk around a couple of blocks.
the idea of a Gyoza place in this area certainly piqued my interest (but I figured it would be a tourist trap, and we were going to be making our own later). . but I was still pretty full from breakfast & chips on the train, so we kept going.
and on the right there? that's one of the infamous "used panties" vending machines.
no, I didn't buy one, tho I was morbidly curious! At only ~$5 it seemed like quite the deal (and there were a few empty containers on top, so the machine was doing business. .but really, what was *I* gonna do with this prize)?
so I just settled for a picture in front of the shop.
Thumbs up for Mannequin Bondage !!!
a few more blocks over and it morphs from red-light to flat out touristy again.
here's a billboard (building-board?) advertising the Robot Restaurant.
actually, I think maybe the Tourist area is just a big circle, with the red-light district in the center. as when we kept around the outer sections of this area, it was arcades, and claw machine parlors (with some gambling parlors mixed in). The sex shops, and "massage parlors" were all in the center several blocks/alleys.
well. . the Robot Restaurant certainly is. . . . subtle, right?
but of course I'll stop for a pic near it, even if we dont' go inside for the meal/show.
what's this? a photo op, where you can climb up and ride a giant Robot?
a typical street in this area. . with one of the large claw machine arcades on the left there.
headed back towards Godzilla, we came across this small shrine (temple?) in the middle of the area.
there was no one around, and the only offerings I spotted on the grounds were empty beer bottles, and crushed out cigarettes.
maybe it's a private residence?
i really, really liked it tho. . it was so different than it's surroundings, and had some really lovely design on it.
and just around the corner from that lovely place above?
I dunno. . . a traditional Thai Massage in Japan? if you're traveler, why not just go to Thailand?
yep, we cut back thru the red-light streets/alleys to get back to Godzilla
don't trust the touts!
(googling it on the spot told me that's slang for someone who "solicits". . . gee. . WHAT could they be soliciting or trying to sell here???) :P
this isn't the infamous "piss alley" that some on the trip took a visit to (that's famous for the tiny bars lining it).
but this was an alley, and it did LOOK like it probably smelled of piss.
so I took a picture of it.
look! a fully licensed (I'm sure) Playboy club in Tokyo.
It wasn't open so early in the day, otherwise I really would have gone in to have a cocktail and check out the bunny outfits.
a hairy pig with man-nipples.
no recollection what they were selling here - maybe it was a restaurant? - but no desire to check it out. . LOL
it really is such an interesting area. . lots of arcades and touristy stuff down one street.
It turns out in this pic, I caught the "Kabukicho gate" - the entrance area to this section of Shinjuku.
from Wiki: Kabukichō (歌舞伎町) is an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Kabukichō is the location of many host and hostess clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, and is often called the "Sleepless Town" (眠らない街).
Kabukicho is a famous entertainment district best known for adult-oriented nightlife. Small clubs, smoky pubs, and late-night snack bars are crammed into lantern-lit alleys in Golden Gai. Robot Restaurant hosts kitschy sci-fi dinner shows, while rock bands play at Marz and Ashibe Hall. Daytime visitors can dress up in warrior armor at the Samurai Museum and learn sneaky feudal combat tactics at the Ninja Trick House.
and the next street lined with massage parlors, and sex shops, and adult anime movie places.
we made our way back around to the Hotel with Godzilla on it, but before we were able to figure out how to get UP there (or into the hotel for that matter), we noticed a plaza with a few arcades, and a whole claw shop that was SEGA branded.
this sculpture was in the courtyard between a pachinko parlor & gambling arcade & the SEGA claw storefront.
there were some bums hanging out here too. . which was really the first homeless I had noticed in Japan.
that courtyard is across the street from the hotel building with Godzilla, and also the Toho Cinemas IMAX, that had this incredible digital display of Godzilla roaring.
going back into the claw place to look for Jon. . there were lots of goodies to try for.
such as this Chip N Dale pillow giant claw (not SEGA themed, but in the SEGA store. . . I think the entire 2nd floor were all SEGA properties tho).
and what's this?
on the right is the same Godzilla diorama that Jon and I had both won earlier, but on the left, is a Super-Deformed version.
I loved it and HAD to have one.
so. . about $40 later, and with - again - help from the staff who kept opening up the box to re-position it when I would knock it into a "hard" spot to get? I eventually won one of these too!
and huge thanks to Jon who let me take the win, when he could have grabbed it for himself (tho he knew how much I had spent trying to get it first. .LOL).
*almost* tempted to try for one of these for my Hello Kitty friend. .but I already had a few things for him, so was saving space in my suitcase for Godzilla and Disney stuff now.
we went across to the gambling arcade across the courtyard, and tho I didn't notice any signs saying no pictures, no one asked me to put the camera away (the change person even gave me a big smile and said hello).
this game is a bartender game, where you're supposed to slide the glass along the counter to land in the specific spots for points.
(I was NOT good at it).
they also had traditional slot machines, as well as pachinko in here. *way* less smoke than in the pachinko parlors we had passed thus far on this trip.
some of the Pachinko machines were really cool, tho I didn't play any of them.
wasn't gonna get sucked into gambling and lose the rest of the day!
they had some "regular" games in this casino too. . such as this "dance dance revolution" type game, with a very intricate LED dancing floor.
we then made our way across the street, and followed the signs up to the Movie Theater Lobby (not realizing it's not connected to the Hotel). . but since it was in the same building, once up there, we figured the theater MUST have a store?
we were correct, tho the prices were super Touristy high, I thought.
they sold a little bit of everything from many different genres of films - including superheroes, Disney, etc. . and they did have a small Godzilla section.
nothing here really floated my boat tho - I mean, these are cute, but I can get them in the USA thru my comic shop (and for cheaper).
this guy was adorable, and I almost bought him, even tho he was (I think) $20.
but the lady at the counter told me that if I wanted Godzilla things, that the lobby of the hotel had a Godzilla only store.
So rather than spend $$ here, we left the theater lobby, and went searching for how to get to the Hotel lobby.
a picture thru the windows by the theater lobby.
I like the "I heart Kabuki-cho" advertising on the side of the building, so it was nice to notice that from this angle.
awww. .the cute little chibi-Godzilla is a size chart for the kiddos to see if they can "ride" the MX4D theater seats.
at least I think that's what this is outside the lobby, before we took the escalators back down to the entrance level, and then down a walkway to find the elevators that take you up to the 8th floor lobby of the hotel (and right next to Godzilla's head).
uh oh.. this sign was in the elevator up to the lobby.
I knew I was in big trouble when I saw they take Mastercard at this hotel - and knowing that the cashier at the theater shop had told me there was a Godzilla store in the hotel lobby!
yep, and as you exit the elevator and head to the lobby? they have lit up displays of every Godzilla movie that has been made. at least the Japanese releases. .no Matthew Broderick and a Kaiju running around Madison Square Garden movie poster in sight.
didn't see King of Monsters or the 2016 version either, which was a little odd, since those were officially TOHO liscensed.
still really cool to see.
ooo. .there's more than 1 animated film? have to hunt down the one from 2017
they have a really nice cafe here, with a few fantastic Godzilla statues set up near it
out on the patio behind it, is the Giant Godzilla head and claw.
you are able to access the area via the cafe, or if you're staying in the hotel, but as we still weren't really hungry - and knowing we were about to drop a crapton of $$ at the lobby Godzilla store?
We went out on the patio and greeted the security guard standing there. He nodded good morning to us (we were the only two on the patio) and went about his business leaving us standing there under the giant head.
surrounding the giant sculpture are a few reliefs depicting famous scenes from some of the big G's movies.
HUGE. . and incredible.
he's gonna git me!!!
this really is so freaking cool.. it ranks up there among my favorite things I did/saw on this trip.
of course, I'm a gigantic Godzilla nerd.
see? even took pics of his claws coming over the side of the building.
even Japanese Jason Bateman is impressed.
there's a pretty spectacular view of the area from this deck too.
looking out from right under the Big G
looking down at some of the streets we had been walking on. Still loving the unique architecture
as noted. . so. freaking. cool.
and it lights up and blows smoke at night.
he's eating my head.
after a few more minutes outside, we made our way over to the lobby store, where - as noted- I spent WAY too much $$ (buying magnets, postcards, two T-shirts. .that fit, sorta. . and assorted other goodies), and then we made our way back down to the street to head back to the Shinjuku train station.
Never did figure out why - there was nothing close that he could have been advertising for - but on the side of one building as we were walking by, I looked up and saw Spider-Man.
gee.. wonder what they are selling?
cut the picture too close to make the juvenile joke. .but I'm enjoying my man-boobs outside of ManBoo
not really sure what they sell in there, but it looked like a video game or DVD place
as did this, with a sorta: Cyber/bug/Devil-Man grabbing his crotch giant sculpture on the outside of the building.
it had been a pretty packed morning, and we had decided that we still had a few hours until we needed to be at the cooking class, so we were gonna go back to Shibuya.
there was a souvenir shop that I wanted to visit (and try to buy a Shibuya crossing T-shirt I had seen in the window the night we had gone by in the rain, but the store was closed).
but before we went back to the train station to hop on a train to Shibuya? I wanted a little pick me up - so we went to Starbucks! Yay for white chocolate mocha.
yum.. . .and how cute, they were celebrating Halloween on the cups
they didn't ask name, as it was basically a small store with one window where you order and wait for them to make it and hand it to you.
but I got a bat along with my Happy Halloween and heart
I believe Jon got the mystery coffee drink we had seen advertised at Fuji-Q, and it turned out to be some sort of raspberry chocolate drink.
while sipping our warm drinks, we wandered around the small "mall" where the Starbucks was.
hmmm. .wonder what this store is selling: "Hotel Lovers" could be anything.. tho the images in the "O"s make me wonder if makeup really IS all they are selling here?
there was an escalator going down to "Big Mama" and I'm not really sure what that is. but the figures on the sign, tho cute, made me a little wary to even wanna go check :)
and with that, we finished our drinks, and headed to the train station to catch a ride to Shibuya.
some of the Godzilla stuff I got today: the Two shirts are at the bottom center
both have Kaiju on the back coming out of the "blue Wave". .so I got Godzilla, and a King Ghidorah shirt.
some of the Godzilla Magnets
one of the Claw Machine Godzilla's I got.
the other Claw Machine Godzilla
another Godzilla Magnet.
part II coming up in the next couple of days.. Shibuya and the DC comics pop up store we stumbled across
Last edited by bert425 on Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:47 pm.
SharkTums wrote:Great report! Love all the Godzilla stuff so much.
yeah, this turned out to be a great day (even tho we never got to meet up with Kristen due to the Typhoon messing with flights in).
but as huge a Godzilla / Kaiju fan i am, I'm a bigger DC comics fan. . so the day would only get better when we stumbled across the DC Pop Up store in Shibuya. . and then climaxing with that fantastic Cooking class! (before ending the full day at TokyoDisney complex).
Even without a single rollercoaster or theme park on this day, it ends up ranking pretty high on the list of days spent in Japan. Although, really, EVERY day on this trip was really spectacular - even the Typhoon Day in Osaka.
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:So you went to the red light district and got a latte from Starbucks....
oh my! Where in the world is that located? Amsterdam?
Condor wrote:Nice report! You're every bit the Godzilla and kaiju fan in general I am. I need to spend some more time exploring Kabukicho when I go back. So much to see there.
yep, big fan. . and I was thinking the same thing about you when you were posting your report with images from the films showing the landmarks.
I'd love to do a landmark tour like you were able to put together
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