After being in Osaka for five days, it was time to make my way back to Tokyo for the remainder of my trip. Given that I missed my first Shinkansen on the way to Osaka, had to stand for majority of the ride, and was now going back to Tokyo with more luggage that I original had, I made it a point to arrive extra early at Shin-Osaka Station for the ride back.
I actually arrived super early but took comfort into knowing that I would be able to sit and relax for the two and a half hour train ride.
On the way back to Tokyo I happen to be able to see Mt. Fuji as well! There are some clouds in the way but for the most part you can see majority of the iconic mountain. Mt. Fuji is really only completely unobstructed for only about 80 days out of the year, so I’ll consider this lucky!
That night I would end up in Shinjuku meeting with my good friend Tina (simplyteee). I was on the way to her when I snapped this photo. Her exact instruction to get to her hotel from Shinjuku Station was “just follow the lights”. 10/10. Thanks Tina.
Didn’t really do a whole lot that night besides exploring Shinjuku a bit and also waiting way too long for Tina to decide what to eat for dinner (only for me to end up deciding to go to Ippudo). I did however happen to spot RWB 964 “QEEMA” ripping down the streets of Shibuya on the way back to my hotel which was a treat.
The next morning we arrived at TeamLABS Planets which is an interactive digital art museum. This was the first interactive exhibit called “Waterfall of Light Particles at the Top of an Incline”. It’s a little hard to see here but this is a hallway with running water covering the floor…
…and as the name suggests, there is a waterfall at the very top of the hallway.
Next we found ourselves in an unbelievably relaxing room where the floor was all soft bean bags. Appropriately named “Soft Black Hole – Your Body Becomes a Space that Influences Another Body”, this was a good spot to just kick back and relax.
After walking through this incredibly dark hallway for a bit…
…we arrived at the next exhibit, “The Infinite Crystal Universe”.
This giant room is filled mirrors (the walls, floors, and ceilings) and LED strips which make for a very trippy effect.
The first couple exhibits were good appetizers but this room really did it for me. We spent so much time here just taking it in, and there really are many different ways to view and enjoy this fabulous room. We also couldn’t figure out which way was the exit so we just stayed here for a bit longer…
Eventually we left the Mirror Dimension and came straight to yet another large exhibit, “Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and People – Infinity”.
The name may be quite the mouthful, but this room is filled knee-high with warm water and same some impressive projector work. The projections on the water vary between abstract art, flower pedals, and of course the koi fish as seen here.
Oh and the walls are also all mirrors here too.
Random side note, but if you’re in a wheel chair then you will be wheeled straight through the knee high water here…
We almost missed this particular exhibit and to be honest probably would have as we were actually looking for the exit. Named “Cold Life”, the water here is quite a bit colder than the giant projector room that it’s connected to. At the end is a digital art wall which made this the perfect place for photographing silhouettes.
Moving on, the next exhibit didn’t have any water but instead had plenty of balls (like actually).
If you think the last exhibit had a long name, this one is called “Expanding Three-Dimensional Existence in Transforming Space – Flattening 3 Colors and 9 Blurred Colors, Free Floating”.
In case the name is a bit too convoluted for you, all these giant balls are in free flowing so it’s very easy to get separate from your friends, as well as trapped in a corner by balls.
Some balls float, some balls don’t, and the room is constantly changing color, making for quite the fun interactive exhibit (oh and the floors were mirrors yet again which was cool).
The last exhibit was a good place to just lay down and enjoy. Named “Floating in the Falling Universe of Flowers”, the entire ceiling and walls were projected with constantly changing abstract flower patterns which would then reflect straight off that mirror floor that we were laying on.
Needless to say this was quite trippy, but also very relaxing and a good way to end TeamLAB Planets.
We explored VenusFort (which has a Studio Ghibli store by the way) and then made our way over to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, home of the life-sized Unicorn Gundam, but we’ll come back to this in a bit.
Tina isn’t into cars at all so once she left to go to a dinner that she had planned, I went straight to the Toyota History Garage.
Let me start by saying that this is a FREE exhibit by Toyota open to the public. Thanks Toyota!
It features many classic and significant cars of yesteryear such as the Toyota 2000GT a few photos above…
…and is styled in a very historical way to remind us all of what life was life a long time ago.
It’s not all just cars here either as there were many nostalgic items preserved here as well.
Despite being owned by Toyota, there are many of classic cars of historical significance preserved here too such as this Mazda Cosmos.
A replica of a traditional Japanese room.
An older style Japanese restaurant, although there are still quite a few places that still look like this today!
A pristine 1959 Cadillac Series 62 imported from America.
This weird bubbly looking thing is in fact a Messerschmitt KR200.
AWWW YUUUS a perfect example of an AE86, this particular one being a 1983 Levin Hatchback on Watanabe’s!
Despite it being the History Garage, there was a room dedicated to the new Corolla for people to checkout.
There is an entire corridor dedicated to all kinds of automotive literature on one side for you to read and flip through…
…and all diecast cars on the other!
One of my personal favourite cars, the Toyota S800.
How could we forget about the Hakosuka…
We will get back to the History Garage later since the layout is a bit spread out, but the main Toyota attraction here is the Mega Web Toyota City Showcase (this is also free!).
This is basically a giant showcase of all the latest and greatest offerings from Toyota, all of which are open everyone to sit inside and get a feel for. There’s even a small 1.3KM test track outback!
The ¥ 19,962,963 (or $238,058.85CAD) ultra-luxurious Toyota Century (roped off for good reason).
The Toyota Rhomubs concept is a fully electric vehicle featuring a single swivel drivers seat with two passenger seats in the rear. Neato.
The #83 Gazoo Racing LFA which finished 15th overall in the 2012 24 Hours Of Nürburgring.
The entire TRD lineup of goodies for the 86 platform.
Lots of simulators setup for people to try their hand at sim-racing!
The 2020 SuperGT GT500 Supra Concept sitting in all its glory next to a stock Supra.
The Toyota COMS which is an EV personal urban commuter.
Toyota 86 Police Car hiding in the elevator…
The Toyota CV Plus concept is actually a hydrogen powered car.
Yet more simulators on the second floor, however these ones are specifically to display how Toyota’s technologies can benefit you on the road in everyday life (ex. Toyota Safety Sense which is standard on almost all production models these days).
The #86 Gazroo Racing 86 which competed in the 2014 24 Hours Of Nüburgring, finishing 54th overall and 1st in the SP3 class.
The #48 Gazoo Racing LFA which also competed in the 2014 24 Hours Of Nüburgring, finishing 13th overall and 1st in the SP8 Class.
Yet another Nüburgring veteran on display was the #110 Gazoo Racing Altezza, showing plenty of battle scars. I like.
After Mega Web I stumbled into Palette Town (no not that Palette Town).
There is what’s called the Ride Studio here which is essentially an indoor driving park by Toyota for children of various ages. They also had this Camatte 57s concept on display.
Back at the History Garage, I was now in the Motorsports Heritage section, featuring of course past cars from Toyota’s motorsports history.
A juicy looking Jaguar Type E sitting quietly inside what’s called Restore Pit.
This is THE cleanest shop that I have ever seen in my life. Yes that’s right; this isn’t just another fancy display, this is a full functioning workshop for Toyota to restore and maintain old classic cars. すごい.
Inside the History Garage gift shop (there is also a café here too!).
Bit of a surprize to see a 1963 Corvette here but I really do appreciate Toyota preserving multiple makes of cars as well and not just their own.
The mysterious 222D that was originally built for competition in Group S and Group B. As we all know, Group B was eventually cancelled which actually also lead to Group S being cancelled, thus this amazing car never competed.
The 1990 Celica GT-Four ST165 Group A Safari Rally winner.
1995 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 which won the Tour de Corse in 1995.
The 3S-GTE which powered the old JGTC GT500 Supra’s (that’s right, no 2JZ!).
By now it was dark out, so I made my way back to DiverCity to get another look at Unicorn Gundam, now all lit up.
Obviously this life-sized Gundam is huge, but honestly being in its presence, its f*cking HUGE! It’s also extremely detailed and I now want to bring this back home with me.
The famous Fuji Television building in Odaiba.
That night I was supposed to meet back up with Tina but that didn’t happen (she ate too much and couldn’t move), so I took this opportunity to explore Shibuya at night on a regular day. Of course I couldn’t be here without snapping a photo of Hachikō!
The famous Shibuya Crossing, absolutely filled with people every hour of the day it seems.
Nightlife here is pretty much alive every single night of the week!
As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had very little real plans on this trip, so much of what I did was just going with the flow. I found myself in Harajuku the next morning in search of breakfast.
It was still early so it was fairly quiet here…
…but eventually I found my destination and first stop of the day, Deus Ex Machine Harajuku.
Their breakfast and lattes were SO GOOD that I forgot to take a picture of it with my camera, but just trust me it’s worth it!
In addition to the café, there is also a retail lifestyle shop, motorcycle service shop, and a surfboard and snowboard service shop on site which makes for quiet the mix all under one roof.
This is the basement which transforms into more of a pub/bar atmosphere at night.
After filling up on breakfast and lattes, it was off to explore Harajuku.
Again it was still early in the day so it was fairly quiet in some areas.
The famous Tokyu Plaza entrance.
Takeshita Street which was absolutely FULL.
A nice bit of subtle street art that I spotted in Cat Street.
Later that night I met up with Tina again at Han-no-daidokoro bettei in Shibuya where we feasted on gyutan, plenty of wagyu, and a personal favourite of mine, yukke. いただきます!
I’ve been wanting to try yukke for a LONG time so I was very excited for this meal. Sadly it keeps getting banned every few years because people get sick from eating it for some reason, but it was available when I was there so woo-hoo!
(I did not get sick by the way).
We had plenty of different cuts, all of which were incredible delicious. ごちそうさまです!
Of course we couldn’t just meet up on the other side of the globe and not shoot, right?
Japan’s streets offer such an amazing backdrop for photography and I was really enjoying it. Sadly however we ate too much wagyu so these were the only photos that we did together.
We finished off the night atop the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings which houses an observatory on the 45th floor (by the way this is also free!).
There is also a café and gift shop here too for you to snag some souvenirs.
This marks the end of day 12 of my trip and also the end of me being with Tina in Tokyo, so you can probably guess what I did the next day…
Click here to view the full photo set on Flickr.
See more from my Japan trip here !