Day 11
(December 31st, 2014 - New Year’s Eve)

We had the day at our dis­pos­al. With the sub­way, we went to Shibu­ja again on our own, with­out a guide. That worked out well, we already know a lit­tle bit about the pro­ce­dure - but still a some­what queasy feel­ing of being alone in a for­eign coun­try remained. First we vis­it­ed the famous cross­ing again and took a new pho­to in bet­ter weath­er.

Then we walked around Shibuya and when it got dark we took the sub­way back home.

In the evening we had a table reserv­tion for the New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion in the restau­rant “Musashi” on the “Skytree”. The tele­vi­sion tow­er is a land­mark of Tokyo. It was opened on May 22, 2012 and is with a total height of 634m cur­rent­ly the high­est tele­vi­sion tow­er and the sec­ond high­est build­ing on earth after the Burj Khal­i­fa in Dubai. There are two view­ing plat­forms. At an alti­tude of 350 metres, behind large win­dows, there is a restau­rant, a café and shops. The high­est plat­form is at 450 metres. We first went to the very top and had an incred­i­ble view over the gigan­tic met­ro­pol­i­tan area with its night­ly lights.

In the restau­rant we ate very deli­cious French-Japan­ese food. The food was exquis­ite, here are some pic­tures:

The view over Tokyo is spec­tac­u­lar, unfor­tu­nate­ly the restau­rant does not rotate like in oth­er TV-Tow­ers. From up there, you can see all of the gigan­tic dimen­sions of the city. Tokyo stretch­es to the hori­zon and then merges seam­less­ly into the oth­er cities of the met­ro­pol­i­tan region. With 36.9 mil­lion inhab­i­tants it is the biggest met­ro­pol­i­tan region in the world.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we could not stay until mid­night. There are also no New Year’s Eve fire­works in Japan. The turn of the year is cel­e­brat­ed rather con­tem­pla­tive­ly. Japan­ese peo­ple usu­al­ly go to a Shin­to shrine at mid­night to wait for the new year. After mid­night they pray there for health, hap­pi­ness and wealth for the New Year. So we were very kind­ly com­pli­ment­ed out around 10:00 pm and took a taxi back to our hotel. There we met in a hotel room.

Our daugh­ter had dec­o­rat­ed the table with typ­i­cal Japan­ese New Year’s Eve dec­o­ra­tions (small fig­urines, ani­mal of the year cards, chains). At the turn of the year we toast­ed with sparkling wine from paper cups, which we had pre­vi­ous­ly bought in a Com­bi­ni (a Japan­ese con­ve­nience store). That was a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence. Around mid­night we called home, which was received with aston­ish­ment by the peo­ple who stayed home, because there, at around 2 pm local time in the after­noon, the New Year’s Eve prepa­ra­tions there were still in full swing.