Today we decided to go to the Japanese baths before making our way to Tokyo Disneyland Resort.
The guys woke up around 6am but I stayed in bed until a luxurious 6:45am (kill me now). The room was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit because Joe decided to shut off the heat last night, thinking the heating element of the space heater made too much noise. I guess he didn’t think the earplugs we’ve been wearing every night to drown out the sound of Steve’s snoring would work on the (comparatively) quiet sounds of the heater, too? So after some good-natured ribbing about ice forming on the tips of our noses, we started our day.
Today’s breakfast in our room included scrambled eggs, Vienna sausages, a variety of breads and spreads, OJ, coffee and, you guessed it, salad and soup (cream of something…not bad though…actually comforting, since it was so damn cold in the room!). The coffee came with 2 teeny-tiny itsy-bitch creamers again, but this time I was prepared and had looked up how to ask for more, in my Japanese-English dictionary. So when the server lady came in, I said, “Mo sukoshi miru-ku, kudasai?” (“A little more milk, please?”), with my best deer-in-the-headlights look (I should just patent “that” look by now, for all the times I’ve used it in this trip). She smiled and said….something…in Japanese (I hoped it was “Sure, hold on just a sec and I’ll get you a decent amount”), then left. And after some anticipation-filled minutes (did she understand me and would she come back?) then my Milk Savior returned!…with 2 more teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy creamers. So now I had maybe about an ounce of the white stuff. Tops. And to add insult to injury, it turned out that IT WASN’T EVEN MILK! It was non-dairy creamer! Grosser than gross, even worse than celery! Needless to say, I bought another canned ko-hee that morning.
We finished packing and left our suitcases with the ryokan staff at the top of the cable car station and went to Yunessun.
We took a total of 4 pictures at Yunessun because water parks and digital cameras don’t mix (MODERN DAY NOTE: that’s no longer the case and I found some pics on the ‘net for you – scroll down just a bit). So Click Here to get to their web site in English and then click on “Yunessun” on that page to learn more about the water park and what it had to offer.
Yunessun (“bath park”) was a short ride by bus. So short, in fact, that Joe said maybe we should walk it. Steve and I quickly veto’d that idea and it was just as well…think of Lombard Street in San Francisco. Uphill. With no sidewalks. For what turned out to be about 2 miles. Sorry Joey…but no!
We paid to get in (about $35 per person) and changed into our bathing suits. The place has about a dozen and a half different kinds of baths that you can soak in. We didn’t do them all, but managed to try out jacuzzis with plain water, rose water, lavender water, coffee, sake, green tea, red wine, Dead Sea salt (where the salt burned every boo-boo you didn’t know you had…not the most comfortable place to be after you’ve shaved your legs in preparation for going to a water park [grin]) and a few others.
This sign at Yunessun had some of the best Engrish for the whole trip. Sorry that it’s not very easy to read….verbatim, it says:
For your comfortable stay
-No food and drink arrowed ahead.
-Person who is not in good physical condition, over drunk or tattooed is not permitted to enter.
-Manners disturbing other guests, such as running or shouting around in the premises, is prohibited.
-Dyeing hair, washing clothes in the bath room or restroom is prohibited.
-Children under 5years should be accompanied by adult.
-Your wristband is a very valuable thing(same as your purse).Please make sure that you wear it on your wrist at all time. Please notify staff immediately the wristband is lost.
-Beware of losing contact-lenses.
Yunessun had full shower facilities, which we took advantage of, especially since our room at the ryokan didn’t have a true shower…just the bath area with the buckets of hot springs water. Being sticklers for rules, we did not dye our hair while there.
Overall the bath park admittedly wasn’t the highlight of the trip, but it was an interesting way to spend 2 or 3 hours. Anyway, after our showers, we went back to the ryokan cable car station and picked up our luggage.
We had just left the luggage there, almost completely unsupervised, the whole time we had been at Yunessun and, as expected, they were safe and untouched when we came back to pick them up. Japan is SO cool!
We took a bus to the Odawara train station, then a train to the Shinjuku station. From that huge, crowded train station, we caught a train to Tokyo Station. Finally, we found the train on the Keiyo Line and stopped at Maihama Station.
WE’RE HERE!!! Tokyo Disneyland Resort!
“First view” of TDLR, from the train. Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain are pretty “obvious” and if you use your imagination, you can make out Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, to the left of the castle. That tall, rectangular building to the right of the castle is going to be TDSea’s version of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror…complete with a new building (to match their NY Waterfront area) and new storyline.
Tokyo Disneyland, as seen from the Maihama Station. It’s so close, I can almost taste it!
Sign above one of the escalators as you exit the train station platform
We went to the Welcome Center to try to get early check-in and have them bring our luggage to the hotel, but since they ended that service at 4pm and we got there about 6pm, we had to take the monorail to our hotel. Pity.
As with the rest of Japan, there is an extra charge for the Monorail, since it is considered to be “public transportation.” We got an all-day pass for ¥500 and took the monorail to the 3rd stop (Tokyo DisneySea Station).
A map of the monorail route. We were at the Mainhama Train Station station (which was also the stop for the Ikspiari shopping plaza and the TDL Ambassador Resort Hotel), colored in red, and the route went counter-clockwise to Tokyo Disneyland Station, Bayside Station (where TDL’s “sister” hotels were…sort of like Hotel Plaza Blvd at WDW) and Tokyo Disney Sea/Miracosta Station.
A wide view of the monorail station closest to Maihama Station
Anal-retentiveness is definitely the rule!
Here it comes!
Outside of a TDL monorail trail
The windows of the monorail are in the shape of Mickey heads and the grab handles are “hidden Mickeys” as well.
Plus they have old Disney memorabilia in clear cases in each of the cars. VERY cool!
The inside of the cars are so unlike the monorail cars we have at WDW or Disneyland…more open, “subway-style” seating, padded seats and everything!
Lots of space to sit “up front” too…and when people leave, others simply and quietly take their spots. There’s no “driver” of the monorail trains…it’s all automated
Our hotel, the Miracosta is just BEAUTIFUL. The attention to detail is amazing…so much so that words can’t fully describe it. Inlaid wood on the floors and in the elevator, Mickey says full sentences in the elevator (in Japanese…”Konbanwa! Shi desu!” “Good evening! This is the 4th floor!”), the initials of the hotel on the light stands, elevator floor indicators like Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (but done “right,” with class), and the list goes on and on. I actually had tears in my eyes to see what Disney can do if there is money to be spent.
After drooling over our hotel and room for a while, we went back down to the main lobby. Stopped off at the hotel gift shop and realized that whatever money we hadn’t spent on junk this trip was going to be blown away at TDL. Instead of the crap we’re used to at DL and WDW, almost everything at TDL is cute, useful, you name it. Even Joe, who is not into shopping, was finding stuff that he wanted to get.
Before shopping though, we still needed to get something to eat, so we took the monorail to Ikspiari, the shopping mall owned by Oriental Land Company, who owns most of TDLR. We found a pizza and pasta place…Joe had a 4 cheese pizza and Steve and I both had spaghetti Bolognaise. Nothing special but certainly not bad.
By the time we were done, many of the stores in Ikspiari were already closed but we found a few interesting ones that were still open. One store had a bunch of American stuff and we smiled at the Wrigley’s gum, Diet Canada Dry ginger ale, Tide detergent and Fiestaware dishes.
Japan has a lot of soft ice cream but you have to search to find hard ice cream. I was in the mood for some hard ice cream and had seen a picture of a store that had some but couldn’t read the name of the place to correspond it to the map. So I asked the Information Booth…which was a trip!
Me: Sumimasen, konbanwa (Excuse me, good-evening) Do you speak English?
Info Girl: A little.
Me: (going into my simplified English mode because I’ve already exhausted the extent of my conversational Japanese): I want to buy ice cream but I don’t want soft ice cream. I want hard ice cream. I found what I want on that map but I can’t read Japanese writing. Can you help me?”
And the girl not only came out of the Information kiosk to look at the map with me, but she brought us to the gelato shop!!! Where on earth would you see that kind of service in the US???
Anyway, the Gelato shop was right near the Disney Store. So of course we went in. I don’t even bother to go into TDS in the States anymore…there is nothing there that I want or need. Even this TDS catered more to kids than they did to adults, but the selection of stuff was just unbelievable…SO many more types of merchandise. And get this…they have ORANGE BIRD merchandise! (MODERN-DAY NOTE: Remember, this was 2005. Orange Bird couldn’t be found ANYWHERE) I couldn’t believe it!!! Just blew me away! Anyway, I bought about a half-dozen Disney CDs that I didn’t have (yes, there are a handful I don’t own yet!) as well as a set of stickers for some friends.
Joe was getting tired by then so we went back to the hotel and met up with Steve, who was nursing a migraine (he had left us after dinner). It’s 11pm as I’m typing this and both guys are already asleep. We’re gonna wake up at 7am tomorrow so I think I’ll stop and write more tomorrow. Until then, sayonara!
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