Tokyobling's Blog

Disney Sea – The Shows

Posted in Places by tokyobling on September 3, 2015

Although theme parks are traditionally for children and families I have found the Tokyo Disney Sea park to be far more friendly to the older crowd (people over twenty years of age) than any other theme parks I have visited. Not only is the atmosphere in the park surprisingly laid back, they even put on the two things the older crowd is likely to be most interested in: alcohol and spectacular song and dance numbers! While beer is available at a few select points throughout the park there real gourmands head for the house wines at the Zanbini Brothers, or better yet, the cocktail bar at SS Colombia, preferably before or after taking in one of the great song and dance shows held at the stage just below the big cruise liner. These are photos from the last night show of last year’s Halloween, when the theme was food and the great dancers wore the most amazing costumes you can imagine. The Disney Sea costume designers are truly an amazing collection of masters of their craft!

If you are a mom or dad with kids large enough to let roam free, I recommend this show as well, to get a bit of a rest while being entertained. I saw this show three times I think and I was never bored. There are just so many characters, each one doing their best to maximize their performance. Tokyo Disney Sea might be quite expensive, but is excellent value for money, over all, at least compared to other theme park experiences.







Tokyo Disney Sea – Mermaid Lagoon

Posted in Uncategorized by tokyobling on September 1, 2015

You can tell that Disney is popular in Japan, by the fact that there are two, independent Disney attractions near Tokyo: Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea. Tokyo Disney Sea opened in 2001 and currently has the world record in reaching the 10 million customer fastest, it took them only 307 days! It is currently the fourth most popular theme park in the world. Unlike Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea is owned and developed by a Japanese company, which explains its slightly different feel, as all Disney characters and themes are merely licensed by the Oriental Land company.

One the many interesting place in the theme park is the Mermaid Lagoon, which has a few outdoor rides but most of the fun takes place indoors (there are eight rides and attractions in total in this area), under the water in Triton’s Kingdom, which is set up to look like how Triton would entertain human guests in the big wedding of his daughter Ariel the mermaid and Prince Eric. If you look up, you can see that the roof is made to look like the underside of the ocean surface and if you look carefully enough you can just about make up the underside of a big ship. The setting works beautifully in real life, more so than in any photos I managed to take. Mermaid Lagoon is mostly popular with the youngest visitors and their parents, but still worth a stroll through for older visitors. There are so many details and hidden gems in this part of Disney Sea!

I have been here a few times but still not seen half Mermaid Lagoon. More exploration is necessary!










Sawara no Taisai – Festival Wagons

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 4, 2015

The festival floats at the annual summer festival in Sawara City in northern Chiba is something special, famous for their huge top decorations, some lifelike images of Gods and heroes, others are more stylistic (and moving!) representations of animals and spirits. There are two major festivals in Sawara City, both drawing thousands of tourists and participants. Each of the two festivals are sponsored by one of the two shrines separated by the Onogawa River. The summer festival is traditionally under the domain of the eastern Yasaka Shrine, in the Honjuku part of town. Note the solid wooden wheels of the wagons, or dashi, as they are called, and the painted poles used to maneuver them. The pole in the close up looks almost unused, which you can tell from the fact that the end looks flat and neat. When the wagons have been maneuvered around the narrow streets and bridges of the town the poles look more like massive and badly sharpened pencils and there are splinters all over town! More photos of this fantastic festival to come!








Sawara City Canals – Chiba Prefecture

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 16, 2015

On the north eastern corner of Chiba Prefecture, very close to Ibaraki Prefecture, you find the historic little city of Sawara (佐原市), about 100km east of Tokyo and 27km east of Narita Airport. The town grew into existence in the 17th century after one of the grand infrastructure programs of the first Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu came into fruition: the diversion of Tone river, the second longest river in Japan. Instead of flowing through Edo the 60 year program was to send the river east diverting it to the Pacific Ocean in northern Chiba. The new river turned the fertile land in the area into prime agricultural land while at the same time establishing the river as an express route for agricultural products from the north east to the center of Edo. The grand spot on the middle of one of the most important river trade routes of the country made turned the town rich and prosperous.

The town has managed to preserve some of the old merchant quarters and city canals from the Edo period almost as it was back then and it is now one of the three “Koedo” or Little-Edo towns in the Kanto area. One of the main tourist attractions is the boat ride through the city canal, which is surprisingly enjoyable for the shortness of the ride. The photos I took does absolutely not do justice to the canal, which is really quite pretty. Not very photogenic though. The boat rides are 500 yen and the the boats are tiny flat bottomed craft run by a group of tiny old men and ladies.

Sawara Station (佐原駅) itself is unusually pretty for a standard JR station and the old town is fun to walk around and explore with lots of tiny restaurants and historic sake breweries. Sawara is a bit over two hours on the train from Tokyo or about an hour and a half on the bus from Tokyo station.











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