Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 Japan Vacation, Day 4: Cute Monsters, Hedgehogs, and Ninjas

I don’t know that anything would top owls, but we had plans to visit more unusual places in Tokyo on Monday.

We headed off in the morning to take the subway to Shibuya, home of Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest intersections.

It was still rush hour and the train was a bit crowded. We were on for several stops before we noticed that were on a Woman Only car. See the pink sign in the photo below? I looked around and saw that Kai and I were the only males on the car. Oops! Very embarrassing!

Just outside Shibuya Station is a statue of Hachiko, a dog revered in Japan for his loyalty. Hachiko is remembered for waiting for his owner at the train station ever day, and continued to do so for even nine years after his owner died.

Or course we had to see the famous Crossing, though on a Monday morning there were not many people.

There were a lot of Pokémon, though.. As we walked around Shibuya, popping into stores, Kai happily walked along, catching Pokémon as we went.

Then we headed over to lunch in Harajuku. Harajuku is a very colourful and crazy part of Tokyo that is known as a center of Japanese street fashion and theatrical styles. The Kawaii Monster Cafe fits right in.

Kawaii means cute in Japanese. And the Kawaii Monster Cafe features cute "monster girls" and colourful everything. I think pictures describe this better than my words ever could.

The drinks were colourful.

The food was even more colourful. Here's Kai and Mom with Kai's multicolored pasta dish.

And here are my wife and I with our hot dog and hamburger. Yes, that blue face is a hamburger.

While we were eating, the Monster Girls came out and put on a little show.

Then it was time for dessert. More colourful food.

After we ate, my wife and Kai do their own version of the Monster Girls.

After lunch, we walked down Takeshita Street, the hub of fashion in Harajuku. Kai didn't care about the fashion so much as the Pokémon he found there.

And then we headed over to Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower was the tallest structure in Japan until the Tokyo Sky Tree was built. There are two observation decks and we went to the higher one, where we had pretty good views of the entire city.

From there we rushed over for our 4 o'clock appointment at Harry's. A few weeks ago, I was talking about our trip to a coworker who had moved to the US from Japan a little over a year ago. I mentioned that we would be going to an owl cafe and she said that there is something even newer in Tokyo - a hedgehog cafe called Harry's. Well, we had to add that to our list of weird things to see in Japan.

Hedgehogs are very cute, but their "hair" are actually pointy spines that hurt if you try to grab it. The trick to picking up a hedgehog is to slide both of your hands underneath and pick them up by their soft underbelly. Kai got stuck when he first tried to pick one up, and the staff lent him a pair of gloves. He found a hedgehog that he took a liking to.

My wife also struggled to pick up a hedgehog and she did not pick up any, saying she was scared and would just take pictures. That's okay, because Kai and I enjoyed the experience and wanted a lot of pictures to be taken. Here's just one more to show you.

Our last activity of the day was dinner at a ninja restaurant.

The ninja experience begins as soon as you step inside. A ninja pops out from a secret doorway to escort you to your table. You wind your way through dark passageways before finding your seat.

We ordered a shrimp and grapefruit appetizer. When it arrived, Kai had to pull a sword out from the container.

That then caused "smoke" to come out from the pot.

While we waited for the entrees to be served, a "ninja" magician came to our table and entertained us with some very good card tricks.

For our main meal, Kai had lobster, my wife had sweet and sour pork, while I had thin slices of beef brought to the table with a very hot stone. I had to cook the meat on the stone, and it was so hot that it took only seconds to cook.

The food was tasty though the portions were small while the price was large. You definitely paid for the experience. But we were on vacation, and wanted to do some different, fun things, so this was a good way to cap a day of different, fun things.

Apologies for the delay in this post. Technical difficulties kept me from blogging for longer than I hoped. Please come back and I'll try to catch you up on our latest activities.


  1. You are definitely enjoying a very unique vacation. I am surprised at how it doesn't appear to be extremely hot and humid, as your wife is wearing a sweater.

    Kai must be having a great time searching for his monsters in Tokyo, while looking forwards to interesting and unique experiences and delicious food.

    The hedgehogs were cute. I don't think I would have picked up anything which could poke me either. :)

    1. Shiroi, it has been far cooler and less humid than expected, and than what we experienced last time.

      The hedgehogs are very very cute, but you have to be careful picking them up!

      Kai is having a lot of fun, which makes it fun for all of us. :)


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