Back in February, my friends and my wife and I went on an epic trip to Japan. The first place we hit up was Tokyo, which is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. My experience can be summarized by the following pictures and blurbs below.
1. Mario Kart in Tokyo: the most terrifying and satisfying experience of my life. I knew it would be fun, but I wasn't quite prepared for the scary experience. You will see why as you read on (and watch the video at the end).
We booked our experience on maricar.com and chose their 2-hour experience tour, which took us from Shinagawa to Tokyo Tower, Roppongi, and Shibuya Crossing. This trip was long, but allowed us to sightsee as we drove. Our driver also allowed us to stop and take pictures at each of the sites. So, if you would like to hit all the sight-seeing spots quickly while doing something unconventional (and attention-grabbing), the Mario Kart tour is the way to go.
Anyway, we showed up at 1:45 PM for our 2 PM booking. We brought our international driver's licenses with us (this is a MUST; we saw a couple get turned away because they did not have international driver's licenses), signed our waivers, and began picking our costumes. The store divided their costumes into two racks, one for Disney characters and one for Mario characters. I ended up choosing Luigi to match with my friend who chose the Mario costume. All the little kids on the street wanted to wave to us and one even ran up to my wife (who dressed up as Yoshi) to take pictures with me!
2. The Robot Restaurant: the perennial tourist trap. You know it may not be worth the money, yet you feel your trip wouldn't be complete without a visit to the establishment. So you go. And feel super weirded out by the mishmash of random costumes, themes, music, and storylines. I never knew so many paradoxes could coexist in one show. A comment I heard from another visitor (while waiting in line) sufficiently sums up my experience: Have you ever done LSD? If not, this is what it's like!
3. Shinjuku/Harajuku: a place filled with animal cafes, yummy snacks, and interesting stores. We visited a cat cafe and an owl cafe here, as well as purchased some Japanese snacks. This is a must-see for first-time Tokyo visitors.
4. Meiji Temple: Our crew was tired after walking around Shinjuku/Harajuku, so we look things slow at Meiji Temple.
5. Shibuya Crossing: the Japanese equivalent of Times Square. It is also a must see, as is the statue of Hachiko, a dog known for his loyalty. His owner passed away, yet he continued to faithfully wait at the train station for his owner to get home from work everyday. Of course, he never saw his owner again. Richard Gere made a movie about it, but I recommend having tissues ready if you watch it!
6. Park Hyatt Tokyo: is one of the swankiest hotel I've ever stayed at! The movie, Lost in Translation, was also filmed here. Naturally, we woke up at the crack of dawn the next day to reenact the famous scene from the movie!