We knew we wanted to spend Christmas day in Tokyo, so our plan was to eat a big breakfast at the on post so we could get a fat American portion of food. I misread the dining times and got us there too late to eat, so we settled for the mini mart on post and the 7-11 right outside of the gate.
We had to get Josh a pass from the visitors center the day before, and they told us to make sure we returned it. We did that, but just like at home, this was a rule no one generally followed, and the people at the desk could not have cared less when we returned it.
Our next stop was the Tokyo Tower in Minato. The Tokyo Tower is not only a famous observation tower, but also the second tallest structure in Japan. It has an Eiffel Tower inspired design, and was only about $9 for us to take the full tour. The best part of the tour was the ability to view sites like Mt. Fuji.
On Christmas, the Tokyo Tower was packed with tourists and locals alike.We ate a tasty lunch in the café at the top. While trying to figure out where we would go next, I got stuck in an uncomfortably long conversation with one of the tour guides. He told us about one of the famous holiday light shows in Tokyo Midtown. It was only about 2 train stops from where we were.
When we arrived to Midtown, the sun was still shining, so we killed some time at the park, and walked into a few local art shows. We also took this opportunity to stuff our faces with more Ramen.
Christmas in Tokyo is an informal holiday. Most businesses are open, but feature Christmas themed meals and sales. The streets were still packed and full of all the people it takes to run a major city. The buses were no different. Children rode with school uniforms and business men slept on the bus in suits. Christmas celebrations are often centered on the light shows. The light show we watched was mesmerizing, and definitely made it worth braving the cold.
We were sad to see Josh go, but after the show, we had to split up, so he could go back to work. He added another level to the memories of the trip. Honestly, we’ve been so isolated from family since we moved to Hawaii, that we felt more at home when we were with him.
Of course we got another snack in the train station on the way back. A baked sweet potato with sweet filling.