TOKYO/東京 /とうきょう (2)

I still owed you the post on my second visit to Tokyo. Verrrrrry late, but here goes!

Tokyo Roppongi city view panorama with stroller

My second time in Tokyo. This time it was with the baby and without the husband. Three days just the two of us meant a lot of great moments, but also some tears of exhaustion. In this article you can read my new discoveries in Tokyo and my experience visiting this metropole with a baby.

Best things I’ve seen in Tokyo this time:

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– The exhibition ‘Catastrophe and the Power of Art’ in the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi with works of Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono and even a Belgian artist. It’s strange to first spot the work of Helmut Stallaerts, who is based in Brussels, on the other side of the world!

Tokyo National Art Center

-The impressive National Art Center Tokyo, an architectural beauty by Kurokawa Kisho, who happens to be the same architect who designed the Toyota stadium near my house. I absolutely loved the souvenir shop!

Ginza. Wandered around in this lovely neighbourhood. I spotted nice architecture and lots of art galleries. Shopping walhalla too, but I didn’t have a lot of time nor energy left.

Tokyo architecture Prada shop 2

– Walked the famous Omotesando shopping street for the second time and spotted some more designer boutiques from Japan’s most creative architects. The above picture features the Prada store by Herzog and de Meuron (2003).

We’ve also:

– seen the Ghibli clock (but not in action) and the nearby Nakagin Capsule Tower. That’s another iconic, yet early design of Kurokawa Kisho. I wasn’t overwhelmed by neither of them. I think the building must be more interesting on the inside than it is on the outside.
– visited the old Tsukiji fish market where I -of course- ate a sushi lunch, but also bought a fine Japanese ‘Sugimoto’ knife and I spent some time choosing pottery.
– entered the Momat (National museum of modern art). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to visit the collection, so the next best thing was to sit in a fancy chair and go through the catalogue.

Travelling with a baby:

  • It was perfectly doable to visit some musea with my son, but I guess that depends on your kid. He wasn’t walking around yet, only crawling, so I guess that is an advantage.
  • If you are about to lose your mind, go to the nearest mall. You will always find a kids corner. I absolutely loved Ginza’s Mitsukoshi store with not only a diaper changing station and a nursery, but also a ‘family’ room where you can heat the baby’s food and let your kid play (it has books, toys, a tv,…). There is also a rooftop terrace with a small garden.
  • KITTE mall, next to Tokyo Station, also has a nice rooftop terrace with garden, you’ll find a lot of locals there.
  • Another quiet place (yet no kids corner) is the terrace of the brand new building where the old Tsukiji fish market used to be.

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  • The Roppongi City View is a great spot to let your kid crawl/walk; it’s 360° (endless) and covered in soft carpet. My kid particularly liked the ventilation. And last but not least: it has the perfect backdrop for awesome pictures!

Tokyo landscape

  • Tokyo has a lot of parks and gardens, but don’t make the mistake to walk to the nearest green spot when it is the Imperial Garden, because there is only one entrance. That’s right, I walked for more than 1 hour AROUND the gardens 😉
  • So if you looking for some peace and quiet go to Ueno park instead. There’s a zoo as well.

Don’ts:

  • Taking the stairs with your stroller in a subway station is not a good idea. You will always get help, but it is very tiring nevertheless. Look for the elevator.

Tokyo elevator

  • Why am I taking the stairs with a stroller? Am I out of my mind? Maybe a bit, but it is not always easy to find a station with an elevator (near the old fish market for example) or the elevator might be far away from where you are heading. Stations in Tokyo are huge and you can easily get ‘lost’ in them. Sometimes looking for an elevator means a significant detour.
  • Never ever cross Shibuya crossing on Halloween with a stroller (du-uh!)

Tokyo is an awesome city which you can easily visit with a baby. For older kids it will be even more interesting with the famous Ghibli museum, Kiddy Land, the Odaiba area where they can meet with robots, amusement parks like Tokyo Dome City, Tokyo Disney Resort and Disney Sea (a little outside of Tokyo) and much more.

I sure will be back, there is still a lot more to discover!

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