Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Train Stamps

Day Two – Tokyo Tourists

After an amazing day at Tokyo Disneysea and a good night sleep at a Disney Resort Hotel, I planned for us to take the long way home via Tokyo. Layla placed Pizza de Michele at the top of her “must go to” list during her visit. So, we went for lunch. 

The staff was so friendly and allowed us to take pictures while we waited for our pizza. They even let Layla help cook! 

It was delicious! Check out that pizza! 

One final shot of the kawaii jack-o-lantern pizza. 

Here’s more great news. I had train books ready for Nina and Noah when they arrived. We were able to start their stamp collecting as we explored Tokyo!! I was even able to get a few new ones! 

After lunch, we went to Shibuya Crossing. Here we saw the Hachiko Statue and crossed through the crossing three times! Yay, tourists! 

After collecting another station stamp and a couple Hello Kitty stamps, we headed to Harajuku. We stopped for the mandatory Takeshita tourist photo. Do you see the spelling mistake on the marquee? Wabi-sabi in real life! 

Our first stop in Harajuku was at Cafe Mocha, a fancy cat cafe. Nina and Noah put cat cafe high on their “must do” list. I’ve been wanting to visit this cat cafe because it looks pretty cool from the street. We planned to stay 20 minutes. It easily turned into a 30 minute visit. We just needed a little more time to give all 16 cats enough love. 

This cute kitty reminded Layla, Nina, and Noah of their cat Simba. Kawaii! 

Perhaps the furriest cat in Japan! 

Cat in a bowl. 

The cafe had two rooms connected by a hallway. It was decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme. 

Cat ears were available if you felt felined… I mean inclined. We did. 

Treats were available for purchase so you could feed the cats. The cats went crazy for the lollipop! We asked when we were leaving what it was made of. They were frozen chicken broth lollipops! Who knew? 

My favorite kitty was Pumpkin. He was a real life Grumpy Cat. Although he did seem a little happy to lick the lollipop! 

We had to tear the kids out of the cat cafe. We reminded them there was still cotton candy to eat and a toy store to shop! 

After a quick stop for a pair of cat ears, we made our way to the cotton candy place – Totti Candy Factory. 

Let me make a promise to you. When you visit me with your kids, I will spoil them with a HUGE mountain of cotton candy. 

All I ask for in return is a cotton candy face plant photo! This was a highlight to my day!! Pure sugar happiness. 

We finished walking down Takeshita street (so much kawaii) and worked our way to Kiddy Land. 

Kiddy Land is a four story toy store in Harajuku. It has every imaginable Japanese and U.S. toy. From Star Wars to Hello Kitty. 

We shopped until we dropped. On Pusheen! 

By the time we made it home the train count was up to seven. Seven different trains in one day! Some were pretty crowded. Especially, during rush hour. Nonetheless, we were all smiles! 

I had a great time sharing the Tokyo experience with this crew. They were flexible, inquisitive, and excited! Once again, I want to give photo credit to Layla for helping me document our day. And props to Dave for having dinner ready for us when we finally got home at 8:00pm! 

Train Stamps

About six weeks ago, my friend Sonia told me about the Eki stamp. Eki means train in Japanese. An article she shared with me, discussed how each of the 9,161 trains stations in Japan each have their own unique stamp. The station stamps usually feature a picture of a local attraction. The stamps are free and fun way to document your travels around Japan. The article also pictured a Eki stamp book. Dina and I searched for about a month to find them and when we did, we bought one for us and Sonia. A cute and inexpensive (¥600) book to fill with stamps!

Since finding the books, we have been diligently working on collecting stamps. We collected several on May 17th when we went to visit the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens in Tokyo. The first stamp we found was at the Kami-Nakazato Station in Tokyo. It pictures the house at the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens.

The JR trains have a series of 77 stamps to collect. I took a picture of the sign of the different stamps to help us on our Eki stamping scavenger hunt!

As we traveled home, we stopped at several extra stations just to hunt for stamps. And I must stress – hunt. The stamps are not always easy to find. We have learned they are typically located near the “Central Exit” of the station. This is key because many of the larger stations have multiple exits.

Ueno Station alone had four stamps! And no, they were not all in the same location.

Here is a picture of the map in the station to help you find the other stamps.

We stopped in Tokyo, Kanda, and Shinagawa station. Each of these stamps were relatively easy to find now that we knew to look for the sign around the Central Exit.

Perhaps the most tricky was Yokohama Station. We walked around for several minutes before asking at the ticket center. We were directed to the train office. It was down a side hallway and around the corner. But, we found it!

The extra fun part about the stamps is that they are not just limited to trains stations. They are also available at many parks – Jogashima Island Park.

Dave and I were able to collect several during our trip last weekend to Hiroshima. The Shinkansen, Hiroshima Castle, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

We found them of course at the JR Station in Hiroshima.

And even at the Shukkei-en Garden, Tsuruhane Shrine, and Toshugu Shrine in Hiroshima.

This past week, Dina and I went over to Hase Station in Kamakura and discovered another series for the Endoshima Line.

I am planning on buying several the next time I find them at a store. I want you to have one when you visit. I think it will be a fun way for you to document where you/we went around Japan. Especially, if you are coming with a kid or two in tow.

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