After arriving at Haneda, we quickly passed through immigration and customs and checked in at the Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo by Shinagawa Station. We then took the Yamanote line up to Tokyo Station where we had a quick dinner. Afterwards, we walked around the Marunouchi area to the west of the station before heading back via Yurakucho.
We arrived at Haneda late in the afternoon. It took just 30 minutes to enter Japan, the majority of that time taken up by walking from our distant gate to immigration and customs. Not having any checked luggage helped speed things up as well. Our IC cards still had sufficient money on them so we hopped on a Keikyu Line limited express train bound for Shinagawa. The non-stop trip took about 12 minutes. Shinagawa isn’t a really an interesting place as a tourist but it is extremely well connected with trains to both Narita and Haneda as well as the Shinkansen and many of Tokyo’s JR lines.
After arriving at Shinagawa, we walked a few minutes to the Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo. Parsing the name, the hotel is the Sakura Tower, owned by Prince Hotels, and is in Tokyo. There is some construction going on in the area so we ended up taking a longer route than necessary as the shortest path seemed to be blocked.
We were assigned a Deluxe Corner room, in the curved northeastern corner of the building.
The room had a nice view of the Tokyo Tower!
Thanks to the curved corner in the building, there is more or less a 180 degree view, from the northwest to southeast.
The three individual images that were used to form the previous panorama.
We opted to take a bottle of Mio sho chiku bai sparkling sake and chocolates as our welcome amenity. The sho chiku bai was pretty good but the chocolates were more or less ordinary.
We returned to Shinagawa Station to take the Yamanote line up to Tokyo Station. We discovered that the shortest path was still open, it just wasn’t very obvious from where the Keikyu Line’s exit where we arrived earlier. Some older buildings to the north of the station’s west entrance have been demolished.
After arriving at Tokyo Station, we exited on the west side and walked over to KITTE. We went upstairs to Nemuro Hanamaru, a kaiten sushi restaurant only to find out that they had already reached maximum queue capacity for the day. We walked back to Tokyo Station to find something else to eat. We ended up at Hinatomaru, also a sushi restaurant.
We had a great meal, eating quite a bit of sushi. As usual in Japan, the tuna was fantastic. We tried some other items as well, including a few we hadn’t had before. But the tuna was still the best. We also had some salmon, though we find the raw salmon available in Japan isn’t any better than the salmon we can easily get back home in the US, quite different from the tuna situation!
Illuminations at Marunouchi
The winter holiday season is approaching in Japan. Not all the illuminations have started yet and online information isn’t always good, at least in English. The illumination at Caretta in Shiodome was reported to be planned for 2023 but that seems to be untrue. We saw the last event back in 2019, just as the pandemic was starting to spread.
We found out that the trees were illuminated on Naka-dori, two blocks to the west of the Tokyo Station building. We headed there to take a look.
We walked by this sculpture that looks something like a mummy. Its not something we’ve noticed before but its probably been here for awhile!
When we visited back in 2019, Marunouchi Bright Christmas had a Star Wars theme. This year, Marunouchi Bright Christmas is Disney again but themed after their new movie, Wish, which has a December 15th release date in Japan. There are various displays in some of the Marunouchi buildings. This one was the Sorcerer’s Hat in the Shin-Marunouchi building on the 3rd floor. There was a small gift shop next to the hat but nothing seemed too interesting.
The primary event seems to be this Wish themed tree in the Marunouchi building. This seems to be the same building where there was a Star Wars tree in 2019. There is a periodic light and music show that can be viewed from the area around the tree or the floor above. There was also a small gift shop here, though once again there wasn’t really anything that seemed interesting enough to buy. Last time, in 2019, we got two Star Wars soup spoons! By now, it was almost 9pm and there wasn’t time to see any of the other installations.
After, we walked south along Naka-dori to the Yurakucho JR station. The trees looked quite nice with their fall colored leaves and lights! After reaching Yurakucho, which is only 4 or so blocks to the south of Tokyo Station, we returned to Shinagawa on the Yamanote line to end the evening.