Day 22: Chiba and Tokyo

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Continues from: Day 21: Zao Onsen & Tokyo

Today we travelled out to Chiba City for some indoor go karting, then later returned back to Shibuya to have lunch at an all you can eat sweets cafe.

Chiba is a neighbouring prefecture and city to Tokyo and we caught a train to Hon-Chiba Station and then walked one and a half kilometres to Harbour Circuit Indoor Karting.

Although there were signs at the front, we felt a little apprehensive entering the building as it was pretty empty inside and we had to go up to the second floor.

Once we arrived and signed in though our slight worries evaporated.

The track took up most of the floor area, and probably two or three levels and the rest of the space holds race car themed reception, waiting, equipment, spectator, and amenities areas.

Upon arriving we paid around 5000 yen each for four, seven minute rounds and all equipment.

Although expensive, this is quite reasonable for go karting.

As it was our first time go karting at this location (and first time ever for Kate), we had to watch a short energetic instructional video first.

After the video we were given helmets and hair nets (to keep ourselves and the helmets clean), and then it was time to race!

As we arrived early in the morning it wasn't very crowded at all, so we didn't have to wait. However we were not the only ones there and we raced with a young Japanese teenager.

The track wasn't super long, but it was heaps of fun to be driving around and cornering indoors at high speed.

I've since driven around another indoor go kart track in Australia, and I have to say that the theming and lighting really added positively to the experience at Harbour Circuit.

After each race we got instant feedback on a printout. Statistics indicated how long it took us to complete each lap, and how we fared verses others during our last race, today, and this month.

Yep, that Japanese teenager completely smoked us!

Go Karting was heaps of fun and although we spent two hours there I wished we could stay even longer!

Once it was time to leave we found that due to Valentine’s day there were currently running a promotion and our tickets allowed us to participate in the lottery.

We managed to win four boxes of chocolate and two chocolate bars- not bad!

Our winnings set a sugary theme for the rest of the day as our next stop was a visit to Sweets Paradise in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Sweets Paradise is a chain of all you can eat sweet buffet restaurants. We paid ¥1500 yen which gave us 80 minutes to stuff ourselves with sugar.

You are probably thinking that you can only eat a small amount of sweets at once before feeling ill?

Well, the operators of Sweets Paradise are well aware of this and have prepared a number of savoury pastas as well as a slice of pizza each in order to give your taste buds a glucose overload reprieve.

So yeah, we ate a lot of cake!

Blue Hawaii, Strawberry, Matcha
Apart from cakes there were also pancake, waffle, ice cream and shaved ice machines which could be used freely.

Now, you might think that eating a bunch of shaved ice is a waste of money, however it is actually quite expensive to buy in Summer (like 300-500 yen) and also doesn't fill you up too much.

I had a lot of shaved ice!

Another plus was that I could easily try the many different flavours that I wasn't sure if I would like or not- such as green tea.

One final thing worth mentioning about Sweets Paradise, which applies to many all you can eat buffets in Japan, is that in order to prevent food wastage you have to finish what you take.

Basically if you take whole bunch of stuff, get full, and can't finish, you will be charged a fee. This isn't unreasonably applied, so if it’s just one item that you really don't like the taste of its OK to leave that.

The basic idea is to just take a small amount, eat that, and then get a new plate and go back for more.

After our 80 minutes were up we vowed to never eat again, and spent the rest of our day looking around Shibuya.

One location we spent a large amount of time in was Tokyuu Hands.

I especially liked their science equipment section where you could buy beakers, glass pipes, Bunsen burners and all sorts of other cool sciencey stuff.

Shibuya is actually their flagship store selling toys, games, novelty items, gift cards, gift wrap, costumes, bicycles, travel products (such as luggage and camping gear), hobby materials, household hardware, tools, do-it-yourself kits, pet supplies, office supplies and stationery, calligraphy, painting, drawing supplies, furniture, lighting, home appliances, storage solutions etc etc.

At the top there was a little cafe and an outdoor balcony garden high above Shibuya.

The top of the Ikebukuro branch wins though as they boast a cat cafe full of 20 cats!

After finishing with Shibuya we returned to our hotel (Toyoko Inn Tokyo Kanda Akihabara) and packed up all our stuff for our plane back to Australia tomorrow.

Tomorrow is our last day, however before flying out we had enough time to visit the Sumida Aquarium!

Continue reading: Day 23: Sumida Aquarium (Tokyo)

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