Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buffet + Museum = Happy Sunday

A few weeks ago when we went to Tsukiji, our plan was to visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum while we were in Tokyo.  Unfortunately that was a Monday, and 99% of all museums in Japan are closed on Mondays so we were out of luck.  One of the benefits of being affiliated with a military base is that we get to take advantage of the various tours and trips that MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) offers to base personnel and their families.  So, when I saw that MWR was offering a Sunday tour that provided roundtrip transportation from Yokosuka to Tokyo on an MWR bus, a buffet brunch at the New Sanno Hotel and a trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, I thought: umm, awesome!

We met the bus on base at 8:30 a.m. and after a short hour bus ride we arrived at the New Sanno Hotel which is located close to the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo. The New Sanno is operated by the U.S. Navy and is only open to active duty and retired military and civilians, just like the Hale Koa Hotel back home.  I hear New Sanno has really nice rooms at bargain rates - and if only I could get a reservation there, I could speak from experience (it's only February, but they are completely booked every single weekend for the rest of the year).  The doors to the buffet opened at 10:00 a.m. sharp and we were the first ones through the door.  The spread was impressive: caviar, pate, carving station, sushi bar, and most importantly for me, lots and lots of bacon.  Champagne was included with the buffet and of course it only took one person to say yes to the waiter before the rest of us jumped on the bandwagon and had our glasses filled.

After stuffing ourselves to death with food and champagne, the last thing we wanted to do was walk around a museum (the champagne seemed like such a great idea at the time but probably contributed to our sluggishness).  Look, all I'm saying is that the tour organizers might want to consider rearranging the order of events.  Luckily, the 20 minute power nap on the bus ride to the museum energized us. 

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is located in Ryogoku near the Ryogoku Kokukaigan where the sumo tournaments are held.  The museum provides a history of Tokyo and the exhibits include life size replicas of the Nihonbashi Bridge and Nakamuraza Playhouse, scale models of town, and buildings from the Edo, Meiji and Showa Periods. The museum is very English friendly and we took advantage of the complimentary headsets with guided narration. We had three hours to explore the museum and that was more than enough time for us to get through everything. Although, we still somehow managed to barely make it back to the bus on time - departure time was 3:00 p.m. and I think we made it back into our seats at 2:59.  Thank goodness our seats were in the front of the bus so we were able to ignore the dirty looks we got from the rest of the passengers .The best part was that at the end of the day, we didn't have to get on a train and then transfer and then transfer again (all while standing up cause it's very rare that you'll actually get a seat on a train to/from Tokyo); instead we were able to recline our seats and enjoy the ride back to Yokosuka.

Here are some pictures of a few of the exhibits at the museum.

A model of the Rokumeikan which was
constructed in1883 for the purpose of
entertaining foreign diplomats and digniatries. 
If you can't tell from this picture, the replica is
under the glass floor.
A life size model of a house (it's actually just one room) that
 an entire common family lived in....yikes!
A replica of the Ryogoku Bridge which was built in 1659 and
spans the Sumida River.
Can you imagine skiing with these?
A life size replica of the Choya Newspaper buiding which
was located in what is now known as Ginza.
A life size model of the Nakamuraza Playhouse where
Kabuki Theater was often performed.


Annie Kamiya said...

Caviar and pate? Gurl, you are living it up! I expect only decadence when we come over to visit. = ) Is that Kabuki playhouse still open? I feel like Curt and I saw a show there. It's very close to a Starbucks? Perhaps that's the dumbest question ever cause SBUX are all over.

Annie Kamiya said...

Hey, did you see that comment from someone who wants you to guest blog? HOW FUN!!! You should do it. See, I told you this writing thing would be awesome. Just imagine if it somehow turns into a paid gig and a Japanese touring agency sends you around the country, or around all of Asia, to write a travel blog. GO GET IT, GURL!