Our last full day in Tokyo can be summed up on one word: gardens! First, we headed to the Shinjuku National Gyoen Garden, which was just a short walk from our hotel. We actually tried to go there the day before but got rained out. It was supposed to thunderstorm all the next day as well (hence the umbrellas you see Jesse carrying) but thankfully we were rain-free!
It is just so impressive how manicured and beautiful these gardens are!
Soooo romantic! (Poor Rachel)
We stopped for a ramen lunch at a little restaurant in the alley near our hotel and planned our next move. We were originally planning to go to Kyoto, primarily to see the bamboo forest there, but we ultimately decided that the (crazy expensive) cost of taking a bullet train all the way there for a day trip to see the bamboo forest was not worth it. But bamboo was a must, so we found a garden in Tokyo that had a bamboo grove: the Tonogaya Park.
We love bamboo (cue a lot of bamboo pictures):
This garden was truly tiny, but it was full of the coolest trees:
a cool bamboo tunnel,
and pretty flowers. This was my favorite garden by far.
For our last dinner in Tokyo, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice sit-down restaurant. We had Japanese curry and this great stew.
We also splurged on dessert at this ah-mazing dessert shop. We had one parfait that had juicy tart mango and another one that had decadent chocolate. Words cannot describe it!
We ended our evening at the top of the Metropolitan Government Building, in the heart of the business/government district, which was fun to walk through. They have the top floor open all day and (almost) all night so that you can see and take pictures of the city.
Our last day in Tokyo was short because we had to leave to catch our early evening flights. We started the morning with a cute pastry (everything you eat there is cute!) and then headed over to the even cuter Ghibli museum.
This was Rachel's #1 must-see in Tokyo. We got to see how they made Hayao Miyazaki's films -- the animation is quite amazing. The museum was really cute, but you couldn't take pictures inside so I don't have a ton to show you.
The best part was Totoro! I have to admit that I did not fall in love with Totoro until we watched a short film that only plays at the Ghibli museum where the tiny girl (about the size of Totoro's eyes) is so excited to see him that she runs up and jumps and hugs his chest (grabbing on to his fur). Totoro just stands there a minute, and then gives a little grunt and smile. All three of us essentially agreed that Jesse was Totoro and I was the little girl, so now I love Totoro.
We had such a blast in Thailand and Japan and were so blessed to have been able to take this trip!