Day 25 - Tempura prawns and the return to Yokohama

Trip Start Aug 21, 2008
Trip End Sep 23, 2008

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, September 15, 2008

The decision we had to make this morning was whether we were going to make the trek to Hakone, or whether we were just going to have another exploration day. We had a look at the different activities in Hakone, and we decided that 2 days would probably be enough to cover what we want to do there, so we chose to have another quiet day. There is apparently museums and nature walks all around Hakone which could easily take up a few days by themselves, but I'm pretty much at the point where I dont want to see the inside of another museum for quite a while.

We left our hotel in Kawasaki, and just before getting on the train I tried to check the time, and realised my watch was still somewhere in the room. After that 5 minute backtrack, we got on a train, and were quickly reminded that weekends are not sleepy days off like they are in Australia. If anything, today was the most crowded we have seen the trains and the train stations. And this seemed to be a constant at every one of the stations we went to.

We had time before we could check back into our Shin-Yokohama hotel, so we headed down to the Yokohama harbour area to have a look around the theme park area we had photographed from the Landmark Tower a week ago.
There was a variety of sickness inducing style carnival rides at 3 separate park sections. There was a very tame looking kids section, a section devoted to larger rides similar to the portable rides seen at annual fairs, such as the Royal Easter show, and another section which contained some more exciting and permanent looking rides such as a large rollercoaster and a splashdown ride.

I unsuccessfully attempted to convince Charlotte to go on the rollercoaster with me. It was a fairly large and quite fast rollercoaster, where the final party trick saw the track plunge into a tunnel leading underground. Charlotte just could not muster the courage to go on it.

After we spent some time there, we headed back over to the massive interjoined shopping centres of the Queens Square and the Landmark tower.
Today for some reason we saw more foreigners than on every other day of the trip put together. All Americans. We saw no less than 40 or 50 non-Japanese people, whereas on most days we have been lucky to see more than 2 or 3 (besides ourselves). I'm not sure whether there is something happening in Yokohama today, or in the coming days, to cause the influx, or whether it was purely coincidence.

After lunch and a decent look around the area again we made our way to the hotel to check in. After a short rest, we headed out for dinner. I was yet to try tempura (on this trip), and I couldn't leave Japan without going to an authentic tempura restaurant. We walked down to the tempura restaurant next door to our favourite curry house, and realised that the entire menu was in Japanese, with no supplemental English. Veronica walked outside with the waitress and pointed out our desired meals to the waitress. Apparently she ordered the tempura prawn meal for me. Good choice.

I've got to say that the simplicity of a tempura battered and freshly flash fried tempura prawns is hard to beat. Fantastically good combination of 3 giant tempura prawns, some other tempura fried vegetables and a large bowl of rice filled me up nicely. Imagine my surprise then when I read the bill and it was $5.20 for my meal. Veronica ordered a tempura and udon noodle set, which was far more expensive at nearly $8. All up our 4 meals came to about $17, as the girls only had rice and some of Veronica's huge bowl of noodles.

As we were leaving the food complex, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before, a seafood restaurant. Veronica pointed out a lobster display out the front of the shop, and as I looked inside
I noticed the tank of large live lobsters. Veronica asked me why I hadn't noticed that before.

Back to the room for an early night, as we are all in need of a rest, and Hakone tomorrow is likely to be a fairly big day if we decide to do look around Hakone, ride the Hakone ropeway and do the Lake Ashi cruise all in one day, which is very likely, depending on the weather.
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Where I stayed
Toyoko Inn Shin-Yokohama Ekimae Shinkan
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