The Tokyo area (let alone Japan) has so many must-see attractions, amusements and places to eat I worry that even if I stay here for years I won’t see them all. But last week I went out with a friend and added another notch to my traveler’s bedpost: Tokyo Dome City.
I love this place. From the moment I stepped out of Korakuen station and saw a giant roller-coaster snaking its way among the Tokyo skyscrapers, I knew this was a fun place to be full of exciting things to do. The main attraction is (of course) the Tokyo Dome Stadium. Maybe it’s the white, egg-shaped dome, that reminds me so much of Toronto’s own stadium affectionately known as the Sky Dome, that makes me like the place so much.
Or maybe it’s the amusement park next to it. There is a little girl inside of me that will never grow up — a follower of the church of Peter Pan. And that girl loves the sight of a roller-coaster or carousel or Ferris wheel. And a roller-coaster that twists among the buildings, literally passing through a hole in the nearby LaQua shopping centre — how fantastical is that? With God as my witness, I will ride that roller-coaster!
Unfortunately the rides at the amusement park weren’t the focus of my trip that day, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a blast! It started out doing one of my favourtie things — eating good food — at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
It’s not exactly Japanese food: If you haven’t guessed from the name, this is a Forrest Gump themed restaurant. There’s a recreation of the famous bench outside, Forest Gump’s white suit is inside a display case, and they’ve got the movie playing on screens around the restaurant. When you sit down you’ll notice there’s a sign on the table that says “Run Forest Run,” to let waiters know to give you some space, but if you want their attention you just flip the sign up to say “Stop Forest Stop”. Genius right?
It’s a bit expensive, but what do you expect of a theme restaurant within an amusement park? Lunch (baked salmon and rice with shrimp) cost about 1200 yen, but it was a set that came with soup and a drink.
The food was actually pretty good, especially the garlic bread appetizer. If you like shrimp, this is a where to go.
We had to walk off all that food, so we took off for a leisurely stroll around Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. The word that comes to mind when I think of this beautiful garden is “wonderland”. It’s an oasis of calm and green right in the middle of the city. The trees shut out the noise and it’s so easy to lose yourself inside the secret world the garden creates. It made me want to play make believe, pretend I was a princess in a fantasy world.
I was really moved, and inspired by the by the fusion of art and nature, and I got camera happy. Would you like to see?
And I wasn’t the only one. We saw one couple dressed in kimono taking pictures with the pond and cranes as their backdrop.
I had a fantastic time at Tokyo Dome City, and I would go back in a heartbeat, especially to check out the Spa LaQua — a spa/hot spring inside the LaQua centre. The hot spring water is brought up from underneath the building. Sounds like a great way to relax after a fun-filled day exploring the thrills of Tokyo Dome City.