Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Cloud Nine at Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo

We had one heck of a day yesterday! It began with my alarm clock buzzing in my ear at 6 am and my friend picking us up at 6:45. We went to Showa Kinen (Memorial) Park on the west side of Tokyo today, and I can't believe we've been here one year and haven't been up there sooner!

Anyway, the drive took about 2 hours and 10 minutes thanks to morning rush hour traffic. We were waiting outside the Nishi Tachikawa gate at 9:24 am and had maybe 10-15 cars in front of us. The park opened at 9:30 and our group, composed of three moms and five kids, immediately began navigating our way to the Children's Forest area of the park. Oh, the cost was ¥400 for me (about $4) and the kids were free. My friend's son is 10 and he was ¥80 (about $.80). Parking was ¥820 (about $8.20).

On the way to the children's area we passed by so many beautiful flower beds and sakura (cherry blossom trees). Little streams, bridges and cut-outs for our faces delayed our arrival to the Sea of Clouds located within the Children's Forest, but the photo opportunities were too great to pass up. Flags were hanging saying "Flower Festival 2009," so I'm not sure if the flowers are always like that or if it's something special going on.

I'll do my best to let the photos and videos speak for themselves, but I really can't say enough great things about this place. I know we made it through maybe half of the park in our nearly five hours there, and I'm anxious to go back, this time with Bob, to see the rest. There are Japanese gardens, a bonsai tree area, paddle boat rentals, bbq pits...and the list goes on.

I took more pictures and posted them in my Shutterfly album. Click here if you want to see them. For those of you that subscribe via email you'll need to go to the website of the blog to see the four videos. Click here to be directed there. Speaking of videos, be sure to watch the one of me running...and think of the song "Wipeout" while watching...if I had the time to dub that song over the video I would have.

I learned how to "stitch" photos together, so I experimented below. Thanks to Jacquie and Heather on HMW for teaching me! I took five or six shots scanning right to left and overlapping each time by about 1/3. It worked on some of the pictures I took and looked awkward on others.




We 4 King said...

Katie WE WENT THERE!! THat was so much fun!! The roller slide was my girls fav and man that thing goes fast!!I went down it a few times too. But i think the my girls called that place marshmellow mountain... Soo much fun!! WE took some fam pics inside the dragon's mouth~

Dollars to Yen said...

I love the panorama pics of the park!

Inkspots said...

HOW FUN!!!! Like I told Julie, we SO need to go there! My boys would have a blast. I'd be there today if DH weren't working. I'm sure it must be a crazy zoo on weekends too.
FABULOUS photos, especially those panoramas. You need to print one or two of those!

terri said...

That looks like SOOO much fun!
I wanna go down the roller slide!!!

Lea said...

Soooooo cooooool! Thanks for sharing as always Katie!! I live through you vicariously!

Where's the Fork said...

Do you remember how you drove there? My family is going to be in town next week and I want to go and drive.