Part 3 - Tokyo - Yokohama, Japan
Part 3 - Tokyo and Yokohama
After a final breakfast at the hotel, we said goodbye to our room and left our bags at the reception for the time being. Since we still had enough time to get to Yokohama, we ticked another box on our sightseeing list and took the subway towards Shinjuku.
From there we followed the signposted way through seemingly endless underpasses and moving walkways to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. First of all we saw some beautiful works of art in the large courtyard.
Above the 33rd floor, the massive grey building forks into two towers reminiscent of bell towers of a gothic cathedral and could have easily been placed in Gotham City in one of the Batman movies. It is often called “Tokyo City Hall”, but as Tokyo is not an independent municipal unit, this is incorrect.
On the 45th floor of each tower, 202m (663 ft.) above the ground, there are viewing areas with cafés and souvenir shops. Admission is free.
After a security check, friendly staff walked us to the lift, and off we were soaring to the upper floors.
From high above we enjoyed some final views of Tokyo, a city that had fascinated us in all its facets in the past two days.
From up here, Yoyogi Park was clearly visible as a large, green oasis in the otherwise grey desert of concrete.
Far off in the distance, only vaguely visible, the tip of Mount Fuji jutted out from the haze.
Eventually we took the subway back to our hotel, picked up our bags and went through the station towards the track from where our train to Yokohama would leave. Finding the right track wasn’t that difficult. But of course there were many trains leaving from the same track. For lack of detailed local knowledge, the indicated termini didn’t mean much to us, and it wasn’t easy, either, to find someone who spoke English and who could help. But in the end we managed, and a while later we had reached Yokohama Station, from where we took a taxi to the port.
Although there was also a subway connection, we didn’t feel like dragging our luggage through the many aisles and, therefore, went for the more comfortable option.
At the port, check-in took slightly longer than usual, as they had to check all the relevant documents that were needed for the visa-free transfer at our final port of Shanghai (proof of return flight within the deadline, hotel booking etc.). But after that we were able to enter our abode for the next two weeks.
Our stateroom was ready to use, so we could already stow our hand luggage right away. It was the first time for us on Celebrity that we hadn’t booked an Aqua Class cabin. So our stateroom on deck 8 (8038, Cat. 2B) was slightly smaller, which didn’t bother us. Instead, it wasn’t directly under the annoying overhang like the AQ staterooms one deck above.
Although the shower in the bathroom didn’t have the glass doors, like in Aqua Class, but only a shower curtain, this didn’t matter as its rectangular space was big enough.
From our balcony we had a view of Yokohama’s modern Osanbashi Cruise Terminal. It looked quite new to us and had a very interesting design. The roof of the terminal was covered with wooden planks and the vaulted, wave-like surfaces served as viewing platforms for visitors. As we should see in other ports later on, it seems to be very popular with the Japanese to watch the ships.
Soon, our bags were delivered, so we could already unpack and settle in. Since there was still time until dinner, and the muster drill was only scheduled for the following day, we decided to go for a walk along the promenade.
Along the way, we found beautiful light installations, and at the end of the access road, colorful cafés and restaurants were waiting to welcome visitors.
Instead of using the path along the shore, we walked along one of the major streets past several museums towards the big, illuminated Ferris wheel in the Minato Mirai district and the invitingly illuminated buildings in front of it, which looked like a shopping mall.
Soon we reached the big Ferris wheel, called Cosmo Clock 21, and the surrounding amusement park. When the Ferris wheel was built as part of an exhibition in 1989, it was the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world.
We quickly went through „World Porters” the shopping center next door, as we weren’t in the mood for shopping. However, it was nicely designed and besides well known places like Starbucks etc. it housed very nice shops.
Driven by the expectation of a dinner, we headed back towards the ship, which was already visible from here.
On our way we came across two old, beautifully lit red brick buildings which were old converted warehouses. They were nicely spruced up and inside, with the old steel structures retained, filled with small shops, boutiques and restaurants. I really liked the design of the modern shops in those old halls.
When we left the halls on the other side, we were in for a culture shock. Familiar music echoed from huge marquees, and huge billboards indicated the Yokohama Oktoberfest.
And this was us (as Germans) thinking that in Japan we’d be far enough away from it. But even here we weren’t safe ...
The Japanese, however, took well to it. The tents with various stalls of traditional Bavarian breweries and a stage, where an artist dressed in Lederhosen gave a yodeling course in German, were well filled.
The yodeler was only drowned out by drinking songs from the speakers outside. The beer tables were filled with visitors eating white sausage, pretzel and sauerkraut – with chopsticks! It was amazing...
Shaking our heads in disbelief, we returned to the ship. This time we took the way along the shore.
For dinner in the main restaurant I chose the „Jerk Spiced Chicken“. It was very delicious. But with the size of that portion you could have easily killed someone.
The food in the main restaurant was always very good, also on the days to come, and the service very friendly. But nevertheless, we missed the much more intimate atmosphere of BLU. Because in comparison to the restaurant for Aqua Class guests, the large hall of the main dining room was much louder and busier.
After our sumptuous dinner we went for a walk on the deck in the mild evening air. Even here we could hear the sounds from the Oktoberfest tents reaching us across the water, and we had to laugh again.
Up on the roof of deck 11 we looked at the newly installed Rooftop Terrace. A movie was just being shown, and some passengers were watching it from the lounge seats, snuggled up in blankets provided on each seat. By the way, with regards to the selection of the films, Celebrity always aimed at relating to our destination. This night, they were showing “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”.
After a long day, it was time for us to try out the bed in our stateroom. On our way, we passed the Solarium and found that they had set up new, cozy lounge chairs there as well. Everything looked very well maintained and inviting.
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