Tokyo Disneyland -- Easy Day Trips
A Disney Parks Planning Articleby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 03-24-2016
In the final of this series of articles, looking at day trips from the various Disney parks around the world, we stay in Asia, and head over to the location for perhaps our favourite Disney park in the whole world, Tokyo.
Tokyo - Imperial Palace Gardens
Peaceful views in the Imperial Palace Gardens.
When we visited Tokyo Disney, we spent two weeks in total in Japan, taking in stays in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima, and finishing up with the parks. Public transport in Japan is ridiculously efficient, to the point where there are apologies if a train’s just a minute late. It’s certainly a very different culture to the one we have in the UK. As such, it is relatively easy to get into the city from the Tokyo Disney Resort, although you may need to change lines to get to where you want to reach. First off, there’s a monorail line around the resort, and if you’re staying at the cheaper Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels, you’re looking at a seven minute journey time to the Resort Gateway station, which is where you catch trains into the capital itself. If you’re at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, add another three minutes, while those staying at the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta have a much shorter journey at just three minutes. Why? Well, the monorail runs on a circular one-way route.
Once at the Resort Gateway station, then you can take either the Keiyo or Musashino lines into Tokyo station, from where you can easily access a number of sights. From here, it’s just a short walk to Ginza, one of Tokyo’s most famous districts. If shopping interests you, and in particular seeing the very latest gadgets in the world, then this is the place to come. We spent a fascinating couple of hours in the Sony showroom, which showcases their latest technological offerings. We saw some very interesting innovations, although as happens with anything new, they may or may not make it as the next big thing. Sadly, nothing we saw that day did.
On the other side of the station is the Imperial Palace, which is well seeing, although sadly you’ll only be able to see it from the outside, as the Imperial family still live here. On December 23, the Emperor’s birthday and January 2, for the New Year’s greeting, the inner grounds are opened up to the public, but the rest of the year, they remain strictly off limits. Despite that, I loved visiting the outer gardens, as they were so beautiful and peaceful, and exactly what you’d imagine a Japanese park to be.
Something you wouldn’t imagine necessarily is the Tokyo Tower, which frankly looks like a cheaper version of the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of those structures that people either love or loathe. I liked it, and the views from it over the city below are stunning, especially at night when we visited.
Further out, to the north of the city, there are a number of other things to see. From Ginza or Shimbashi, both close to the Ginza district or a subway stop from Tokyo, you can take the Ginza line north to Ueno. Here, I will say it’s well worth avoiding the subway in Tokyo at rush hour, although in fairness, if you’re staying at the parks, by the time you get into the city, the worst will be over and done with. Trust me, no matter how little personal space you’re used to on your own underground system, it will be nothing compared to Tokyo. We’d seen footage of people literally being beaten on to trains by staff to fit more people in, and I was a little sceptical, but we saw that for ourselves on our trip. It is a surreal and terrifying sight, and after that, suddenly when you return home, you find yourself able to squeeze on to much smaller spaces on trains, thinking “well, they manage that in Japan!”
Navigating the subway in Tokyo isn’t that hard either, as it is colour coded, and they are very keen to help tourists. They have an English language website which includes a useful guide to help you get around the metro, and perhaps best of all, they always have English language on their signs, as well as Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana, the peculiar three systems of Japanese writing. I did learn some limited Japanese before our trip, but we didn’t need it at all to navigate our way around Tokyo.
Once you get to Ueno, Ueno Park is a beautiful destination. We were fortunately enough to be there for the cherry blossom season, hanami, which is a major national celebration, which made the park even more special. It’s home to many things, including a pagoda dating from the 17th century, shrines, the Tokyo National Museum, and the National Science Museum. Sadly, we didn’t make it to either on our trip, as the cherry blossom kind of took over, but we definitely want to make it to the National Museum the next time we visit, and hopefully there will be a next time.
Tokyo - Senso-ji Temple
The Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s most sacred and spectacular temple.
If temples are your thing, and let’s face it, it’s one of the things many people think of when they think of in Japan, then the Senso-ji Temple, is the place to head for. Three stops further along the Ginza line from Ueno, it’s easy to find, and it’s well worth it. It’s Tokyo’s most sacred and spectacular temple, and the first shrine on this site dates from the seventh century. Sadly, World War II and the devastation it brought to this country meant that what you see do is only a replica, but it follows the historic layout.
There are many other parts of Tokyo to explore, and much more to see, so if you are visiting the Tokyo Disney Resort, you may want to consider spending a couple of days located in the midst of the city itself. We spent two full days exploring Tokyo during our trip, and a total of five nights there, as we took the opportunity to take some day trip excursions further afield to the famous Mount Fuji, and the beautiful town of Nikko, with its sprawling mausoleum from the Tokugawa clan. Both are well worth a visit, and I can’t stress enough how much there is to see in Japan. If you are lucky enough to visit Tokyo Disney, you won’t go wrong if you add in some extra time in this beautiful and diverse country.
Updated 03-24-2016 - Article #1275
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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