The day started out sunny, but chilly. We decided to visit the Koishikawa Korakuen Park listed on that Japanese Fall Foliage Report we’ve been following. We want to see as much Fall color as we can before the winter comes roaring in and finishes off the leaves.
Getting off at the Iidabashi station and going left from the Tokyo Dome, we headed to the gardens. Upon paying the 300Yen (less than $3) per person, we entered into a green oasis and found ourselves facing a large pond. This park was once belonging to a feudal lord and built back in the late 1600s. I read that it covers over 17 acres, but it really did not seem to be all that big, especially since you see the Tokyo Dome, a roller coaster, and several tall office buildings looming over it from most angles. In this regard it was not as nice as the Rikugien gardens, but there were definitely more colors here.
Strolling around the pond there were quite a few little paths going in different directions and as with seemingly anything in Tokyo it was rather crowded. Besides the varied bird calls—I saw on a board that there are twenty types of birds and ducks found here in this park—we could also hear the sound of the roller coaster whooshing by with its screaming riders, as well as quite a bit of ambient traffic noise.
Getting lost on the various pathways, we found a stone bridge, a bright orange Chinese-style bridge, a strolling pond, various birds and ducks, a profusion of trees teeming with greens, oranges, and yellows, and a series of wide, flat stepping stones that allowed one to ‘walk on water’ for a few moments.
We stayed for a couple of hours then left so we could go to our next destination: Tokyo Dome City. We were going there to see the lights. I was expecting it to be set up for Xmas because I’d seen it listed on various websites as a place to go to see lights. As it turned out, it was really just an amusement park with lots of lights set up. There are a few rides there and it would probably be a fun place to hang out for a love-struck teenager perhaps, but for a bitter adult with the weight of the world on her shoulders, it was good for a quick run through. We did stop and have dinner at an Italian restaurant located there and were surprised at how good the food was. And for under $50 we had two big bowls of pasta, two glasses of champagne, two glasses of beer and a large green salad.
While eating, we spied a Don Quijote store out the window and decided to go do some shopping after we ate. Known as Donki by the Japanese, it is a discount chain with tons of stuff. We buy mostly food, snacks, booze, and cleaning items from them and we proceeded to buy three bags of stuff that is not available at our local Donki. I actually bought a bottle of CA Woodbridge wine for less than $7! Score!
Heading home with our 3 bags of food and booze, and with tummies full of Italian-style pasta, we could have been home in NYC—except we had spent a whole lot less money.