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Photo TR: Garbels checks out Tokyo!

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When I was planning my international trips this year, I always said I would do London and Paris. Both were huge cities everyone seems to go to and it made sense for me to knock them out of the way and hit a few parks. However, when my trip to Paris got changed to Spain a week before, and London was looking expensive for what I wanted to do with the time off, I decided to use Labor Day weekend to check out Tokyo! Needless to say I was jealous of all the TPR trips there and wanted to see it for myself. While I wish I had more time, I am happy with what I got to see in 4 days and can't wait to go back for more! This whirlwind photo TR will include Tokyo Dome/La Qua, Yomiuriland, Toshimaen, Hanayashiki, Sega Joypolis, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Sea Paradise, and various neighborhoods around Tokyo. I can't wait to go back and spend more time at Disney under better circumstances (you'll see) and visit the likes of Tobu Zoo, Fuji-Q, and Yokohama Cosmoworld, plus a few neighborhoods of Tokyo I didn't get to see yet. Hard to believe after that there is still all the rest of Japan! No wonder everyone makes so many trips here.


Let's just jump into the photos


The idea came up two weeks earlier in Alaska...they had these signs to hold up and I figured the Japanese one was funny. Who would have thought two weeks later...


...I'd be at the airport heading to Japan! Today's ride was an American Airlines B777-200...quite old interior. Comfortable seats but no IFE really. Glad I slept for the 13 hour flight.


For me, the realization I'm going somewhere finally hits when I have my boarding pass. Like this is really happening!


Fast forward 13 hours and I am on the Narita Express in to Tokyo! The train is really easy to find, just right down the escalator when you exit customs. Stops at the big stations in Tokyo in about an hour!


I got off at Shinjuku, where I would be spending my first night! This area is popular with the young crowd and I can see why =)


Godzilla hotel! Passed this on the way to my hotel. Wish I could have stayed there but it was SOLD out on this Saturday.


I landed at 4:30, made it to the hotel around 7 after everything, so I decided to head to Tokyo Dome before the 9pm close! Luckily it is on the subway line that runs right from a smaller station on the northeast side of Shinjuku.


Like I would find for many Japanese attractions, you buy your own ticket at a kiosk! I love this. One ride was 1000 yen I believe, which is about 8 bucks.


Being a Saturday, it was pretty busy. I would say the wait was about 30 minutes. I ended up being on the 2nd to last train and despite getting off at 8:55 the queue was already shut.


Tired but still alive selfie! What a long day. But I got my back seat ride on Thunder Dolphin!


I walked around the Tokyo Dome area for a little bit. It is SUPER nice.


The impressive Tokyo Dome! Would love to catch a baseball game sometime.


My first meal was pot stickers! Made really easy to order just by pointing at the picture in the Tokyo Dome food court.


Back across the street, La Qua is an impressive mall with of course these two ridiculous rides on top/through it.


It's true Thunder Dolphin isn't very intense, but still a very fun Intamin ride. At least the back seat had some nice "pull" down the drops and twists despite being fairly forcleess.


I was just blown away by how nice this place was! I would definitely go back to experience the rest of while open and bustling.


Before heading back to the hotel I decided to get some Japanese BR! Some interesting flavors, but I played it pretty safe with cookie dough.


Back in Shinjuku, this was the view from my hotel! It was called the Granbell and was very nice. It was a far walk from Shinjuku station, but close to a smaller subway station.


One thing I had never seen before...no matter how foggy the bathroom got, there was always a square in the middle that stayed clear! Love it


Rise and shine...grabbed a snack that I loved and ate about 20 times in 4 days and started my first train adventure. The trains are super easy to use, just find your start and end on the map and see how much to get a ticket for. Of course you can always overpay and go to a fare adjustment machine to get change back at your final stop.


I arrived at my first true Japanese park, Yomiuriland! Love that you take a skyride from the Keio-Yomiuri-Land train station.


I have always wanted to check out Bandit due to how funky it is!


Holy crap does it go way over and down there! Huge ride. The skyride into the park was a great way to see everything before going in.


The park had an English menu at the ticket booths and opened at 9am sharp. Loved the early time to start my long day so I could squeeze in everything. My first stop was the kiddie coaster. I was afraid now being a bigger guy I would have some problems squeezing in, but it turns out nothing in Japan was ever a problem for me!


Banding was up a few minute after park opening! And only a one train wait. I was worried because it seemed busy at the park entrance but I don't know where everyone went.


Today was the last day of Splash Bandit! Being the dumb Texan I am, I didn't realize this and boarded the "wet" train and got sprayed by water cannons 5 times!


The last operating coaster was the Togo looper. Both sides were running, but I chose the sit down side.


The El Loco rip-off ride was still closed with the cars covered. It looked scary.


Of course everyone raves over the Japenese vending machines. They are just great and so many interesting options. Also cheap!!!! Water was like 80 cents.


I think this was the smoothest Togo I've ever been on lol


I rode it again because there was no wait. In fact I was a solo rider! Fun ride.


I rode Bandit a few more times (on the dry train!!!) and then headed out. This is a construction area for the park's new expansion next year that includes an indoor coaster.


Bandit was fast, had some insane airtime and great layout, a few transitions did slam you around in the back but not bad if you were prepared for them!


Heading back down into the endless suburbs.


This is where you buy your ticket for the skyride BTW. Very easy to use and there is a discount for buying your RT ticket, just don't lose the 2nd one!


4 trains later, I was on my way to Toshimaen. Every train station has English signage luckily, making the trains much easier to figure out =)


Here we are at Toshimaen! The park was also empty.


Started off with the powered (shame me I know). We had to wait quite a bit for a few riders to join.


Next up was Mini Cyclone! Cute kids ride and I'm surprised I didn't break it!


The corkscrew was up next...they let me ride this one solo. I went for the magic seat...the trains seemed pretty new.


One thing I noticed is how popular crepes were EVERYWHERE.


Proof to some fellas that the Corkscrew was actually open ;)


I got lucky with this one...Cyclone had been closed when I arrived and still was when I finished the 3 coasters. But I decided to sit down for a little bit and rest and sure enough it started testing and opened! This was such a fun and unique coaster. Was not expecting the crazy track into the long tunnel!


Fastforward an hour and 3 or 4 more train rides, I was on the complete other side of Tokyo in the Asakusa district! I had to buy a belt here because my jeans were falling down...maybe it was all of that walking ;)


This was more like old school Japan. I enjoyed walking through all of these street vendors.


This was my first view of Tokyo Skytree hovering in the background. With the overcast weather it was hard to see much in the distance this trip but this was an impressive sight and building. Maybe up it next time if it's clear enough!


At the end of all of the shops and temple, I found Hanayashiki Amusement Park! I think it's the oldest in Japan. You pay a small entry fee and then can buy tickets just for the coaster. I think it was 5 tickets (100Y each?)


The roller coaster doesn't seem like much, but holy crap it picks up speed and some of those drops into tunnels and hills at the end were insane! Great ride.


I climbed the stairs to the rooftops to check out the views.


Loved how they stack all of the rides on top of each other RCT like in this very small area =)

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Lucky enough you are to see Garbels over Asakusa!


I did walk around the nearby temple to get a little bit of culture :)


Next I made a quick stop in nearby Akihabara which is the electric town...lots of electronics and anime! First stop was Yodobashi, which was floor after floor of electronics.


Love all the mario guys!


They sold any electronic or appliance you could dream of...


This is when the rain started for today sadly. Didn't check out too much here.


Love the arcades everywhere though! I spent some time in one when I went back to Shinjuku to pick up my bags.


Here is Yodobashi from the outside. The train station is right at the base so it's super easy to find.


My last touristy stop for the day took me to Tokyo Teleport! This was easily a favorite area of mine.


I saw all the neon lights and headed this way cause my wifi was messing up...turns out Joypolis is not on this side! But lots of cool shopping.


On the other side of the train station is the Decks mall, with Joypolis easily being the star and most popular thing.


Like most parks, you can pay a small entry free (800Y) and do per ride, or unlimited for a higher price. I just bought a ticket for Veil of Dark since I was tired (800Y so 1600Y total to get the credit, or about 13 dollars!)


The first floor is home to the half pipe ride and Veil of Dark! This had a 75 minute wait on a Sunday night! wow


Veil of Dark was almost as bad...50 minute wait for me. It really needs a single rider with the 4 person cars, saw so many groups of 3 go out.


The first half of the ride is a shooting dark ride with screens in front of the track in total darkness. I scored over 100k being the only person in my row (the front 2 seats shoot the bottom of the screen while the back 2 rows shoot the top)


Almost there after a long slow wait!


The locker system is great though. In one side, out the other. Attendant takes keys once used for pickup and gives them to next in line.


The coaster part was about what I expected, launch while spinning, the inversion which was awkward at an angle lol, then a helix or two in the dark before finishing.


The other big attractions here are walk-thrus. I will do these next time for sure.


The famous toilets that include games while you piss!


This is kind of disorienting...but taken level. Inversion through the building into the back room where the helices finale is.


Monday morning brought me to Tokyo Disney Resort! I think Shin-kiba is my favorite station...can take you to Disney, Joypolis, or right to Shibuya (another favorite area coming up later).


Wow, I am finally here! The covered Main Street area was interesting.


I bet you've never seen this shot before! I was super excited at this point, just hoping the rain would hold off.


First off, the famous Pooh's Honey Hunt!


I was wise and grabbed a Thunder fast pass on the way to Pooh. Almost the same time as the wait without waiting in line!


Pooh was simple awesome as advertised. What Antarctica shoulda been!


Woah, trippy Pooh. Loved all of the random scenes and the 20 minute wait all day :)


The parks had just started Halloween, so these interesting snacks were out. Very yummy!


Pirates here just seemed so much better to me. I loved the long creepy part before the ship battle scene.


My fastpass was ready! Found it interesting how it was similar to MK's version but had a few tweaks (no turn between hills after the 540* helix and the different ending, which was a lot better!)


I had some time to kill before my next fast passes, so I waited in the full queue for Holiday Haunted Mansion!


45 minutes later I was inside...this was my first time doing a holiday version of the ride. Loved all of the detail!


Halloween meets Christmas...much better =)


I like that they have a lot of the old school dark rides. Even though New Fantasyland is much better IMO, I still like these.


Had to head back to Toon Town of course...


Even this ride looks so beautiful.


This is still the most random ride to me, ever. I was confused after riding Disneyland's and I think I'm still confused about what it is.


Almost time for my afternoon Tomorrowland experiences! I was happy with how I did with FP since everything was about an hour wait.


Space Mountain would be my 700th coaster =)


Had a little bit more time to wait so I did standby for Blasters...wow this version was GREAT!


Grabbed a quick lunch....loved the Mickey glove sticky bun! The chicken wasn't bad either ;)


First up...Monster Inc! I felt like I was in the movie.


They didn't seem to want pictures on this ride, but here is the loading station. Very cute ride...I enjoyed seeing what I could make happen with my flashlight! Lots of details.


Walking around shopping a bit...had to get my castle photo.


Yet another selfie...


Finally it was time for Space Mountain! Even though this is the same as California it seemed so much better to me! Lol


I was absolutely exhausted...so after conquering most of the attractions I decided to head back to my hotel for some rest.


I made a quick stop at Tokyo Teleport on the way to enjoy a Melon Fanta and take in the view. I was lucky the rain held off today! That luck would not continue...

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Last installment...


After a few hours of rest I headed to Shibuya, home of the famous crossing you always see on TV!


I had dinner at a Yakitori place, of course. This steak was insanely good, like possible the best beef I have ever put in my mouth.


Tons and tons of shopping.


The view of the crossing from Starbucks...quite the tourist spot! Heard more English here than anywhere


Selfie while crossing! And running way from the incoming rain! Back to the hotel, the wonderful Shinagawa Prince.


Tuesday morning brough me back to TDR...today for Tokyo DisneySea!


It was pouring, but still excited like a little girl. Love the hotel in the park entrance area, just wish I could afford it =)


This is where your jaw begins to drop...


Grabbed a FP for tower, being a 160 minute wait and all. I was shocked the rain didn't stop more people, but maybe the first days of Halloween stuff brought out the crowds?


My first ride was Indy...thank goodness for single rider!!! That was one of the longest queues I have ever seen. I loved the ride. IDK if it's the same as Cali but once again seemed so much better =)


I skipped Raging Spirits for now, hoping that the rain would stop later.


Continued around the park to the Arabian Coast. Beautiful area.


Sinbad may have been the longest dark ride ever. I was actually ready to get off.


The kids area of course is the best ever. It is in DisneySea after all!


Next up was 20,000 Leagues under the Sea! LOVED this. And it was only 20 minutes somehow!


This was the surprise of the trip for me. Crazy unique vehicles and the feeling of going underwater was so unreal. The whole thing was unlike any other dark ride I've ever been on and was happy it was an actual tracked ride and not just a simulator.


Selfie in Mysterious Island was a must. And thank goodness for the umbrella I picked up at Decks!


Sadly though, Journey was down for rehab!!! Next time for sure. 2016 or sooner is a must.


Still couldn't believe how beautiful the park was!


I kept walking around to check everything out despite my feet beginning to soak!


White Chocolate popcorn was honestly the best snack ever. Ugh I want more


The only major I skipped was this, due to the huge queue and I hear it's the same as WDW. The fastpass line in the morning went back to the park entrance, it was insane.


To get inside and dry for a bit, I had a sit down meal at the Italian restaurant. The 3 course meal was great and very reasonable for about 24 bucks!


I went ahead and bought a poncho that didn't quite fit for the outdoor rides. Aquatopia was so interesting but so boring at the same time. I can't decide what I think but need to come back at night when it's not raining!


Finally my FP for tower was ready!


Loved the Shiriki theme! The effect in this preshow room was so cool.


Spot the American!


Headed back in the park to finally get my coaster on. This was so beautiful and seemed like a whole nother world back here.


After being lead down a dark hallway to try the test seat, they said I was okay to ride. I got to zip through the single rider line which was great with the 110 minute wait! Crazy even though it poured all day.


Lastly I went ahead and got on Flounder. Luckily it was a walk-on!


My last stop before I couldn't walk of sogginess was the gyoza stand! And it was in a freaky double color scheme for Halloween! Gross image right? You're welcome


Tonight I just stayed in the hotel...everything was soaked. Needed time to dry everything!


A look down at Shinagawa station from the hotel. This area was so nice and convenient. Elissa found the best place =)


Wednesday was my last day, but I tried to squeeze in a few more stops. I took an hour train ride south to Sea Paradise. When I got there, the park had been open an hour but they were just drying off the train on the coaster as the rain had stopped somehow.


This coaster was insane! So much airtime and so forceful.


Love how it's built over the water. The structure just looks massive even though there are much bigger rides out there.


I got extremely lucky, because after just 2 cycles it began to pour again. Never saw it run again. And I never saw dryness again.


There is a huge mall like area that goes halfway around the peninsula the park is on. The stores were all open despite no patrons but I enjoyed a nice lunch. The lady at the cafe was super friendly and managed some English.


Of course this park is also home to the famous Blue Fall!


Sadly it was not open. The rain lightened up a little bit but it looked like some guy was going at it with a huge wrench.


A few more train rides back into Yokohama brought me to Queen's Square, a huge mall. IDK why but I liked this escalator.


Right across the street is Yokohama Cosmoworld!


Sadly it was closed. I am guessing due to weather they never opened that day. And they were smart as it never stopped. Next time! Not bad to only miss one park with the poor weather this trip.


At the advice of Joey Ray I tried a Mister Donut inside the mall. Not bad! Slightly different tasting than American donuts.


I had dinner at Taco Bell at Shibuyu before heading home! A little higher quality than at home =)


And last but not least it was time to fly home. I was lucky to sit in the Delta One cabin where I slept 9 hours straight. I was never so exhausted in my life!


And funny enough, upon landing at LAX I saw some friends coming in for West Coast Bash! Too bad I had to go home to Texas before coming back 48 hours later. Thanks for reading!

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Today was the last day of Splash Bandit! Being the dumb Texan I am, I didn't realize this and boarded the "wet" train and got sprayed by water cannons 5 times!


Go, go, Bandit!

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Thanks for the comments, even though some of you had to mention Journey


It was amazing to see so much of Tokyo in 4 days, but it was all possible thanks to R&E and other friends who had been for giving me tips. I would have been lost without yall!

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Reading about the 3 hour lines, I'm starting to think that DisneySea is the park you do during mild/good weather, not bad. I did Tokyo Disney in the snow and everything was a 5 minute wait by mid afternoon as people left from the cold and because most of the outdoor rides were down even though they got them open around 4pm. Perhaps with most of the biggest rides at DisneySea indoors that's where most people head in bad weather? I can never time my trips right to there, on both my trips I always end up there when Journey, Tower and Indy etc never drop below 3 hours until closing.


The photos policy of the Japanese park seem so varied, They told me it was fine to take pictures on Monsters but I got told to put my camera away when I was in Towers single rider line (oh I wish they had kept that line) of some of the queue theming. One op wouldn't let me take pictures of the cars for Journey on my first ever trip but I saw lots of pictures on TR's and on my second trip I asked again and they had no problem.

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The photos policy of the Japanese park seem so varied, They told me it was fine to take pictures on Monsters but I got told to put my camera away when I was in Towers single rider line (oh I wish they had kept that line) of some of the queue theming. One op wouldn't let me take pictures of the cars for Journey on my first ever trip but I saw lots of pictures on TR's and on my second trip I asked again and they had no problem.


I know what you mean about their photo policies. I was told to put my camera away while taking photos in the Tower of Terror's statue room (before you reach the elevators), which seemed a bit odd.

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^^It just seemed weird to me because Monsters was the only place I was told no pictures. I had my phone out in the Tower pre-show the entire time and around most rides. I understand nothing on ride like most parks in Tokyo I visited, but not in station platforms when I'm not yet boarding. It really is no different than the US though, photo policies seem to very so much everywhere. I'm just used to Disney being so easy going on loose articles/pictures. But it's not really a big deal

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My favorite camera "incident" was at Universal in Osaka. I was taking a photo with my little Panasonic Lumix during Backdraft's pre-show, and was politely told to "no pictures." Next to me was Dan, who was snapping away with a Nikon the size of a bazooka--yet not a word was said to him. I guess "size matters" in Japan.

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My favorite camera "incident" was at Universal in Osaka. I was taking a photo with my little Panasonic Lumix during Backdraft's pre-show, and was politely told to "no pictures." Next to me was Dan, who was snapping away with a Nikon the size of a bazooka--yet not a word was said to him. I guess "size matters" in Japan.


Ah, that is definitely what they say in other areas of Japan as well

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Thanks for the photos, Jake! Seriously impressive quick trip. I'm sure you're already looking at a return trip to take things slower! The potstickers and variety of different food and drinks seem endless..I'd love to look into a sushi tour of some sort there. How surreal was it to step into Disney Sea?

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