Mitsubishi Ichigokan and Tokyo Tower

My leave started yesterday…hooray! It doesn’t feel like as much of a needed break since I’ve had a few days off already because of the holiday but it is really nice to spend quality time with SMS. I’ve taken a week off and we’re hoping to catch an AMC flight out of here at some point, but for now, we’re staying local due to lack of flights.

 Our day got off to a slow start. We had breakfast and headed to base for some errands. Most pressingly, I had to print out my leave chit and gram my orders/DEA in case we went on an AMC flight. We also decided to return some Christmas presents by mail and that’s what really slowed us down. Re-packaging, filling out the return labels and filling out customs forms took way longer than it seems it should have. But, we persevered and headed out from base.

First, we stopped in More City, located in the basement of the department store adjacent to Yokosuka-chuo. Not only did mailing things take too long, it also made us hungry! We each got a bento box filled with 3 different types of rice, 2 pickled veggies, 2 small meatballs and a piece of chicken. We finished off the meal with a split order of tako-yaki. Yum!

We hopped on the train and off we went. We took the train to Shinagawa, then hopped on the Yamanote line to Tokyo station. That place is enormous! We exited via the Marunouchi South Exit and walked two drizzly blocks to the museum. On the way, we passed two businessmen who ran into each other on the street. One was middle-aged and the other quite a bit older and the middle-aged man bowed so deeply and held it for so long. The other man must have been very important!

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The Mitsubishi Ichigokan museum opened in 2010 and puts on approximately 3 exhibitions a year, mainly from their collection focussing on Western Art of the late 19th century. This corresponds to an era of modernization in Japan, the Meiji period. It’s housed in a restoration of the first Western-style office building in the Marunouchi district. It housed the banking department of the Mitsubishi company, although others rented out office space as well. It was torn down in 1968 and rebuilt based on the original plans in the late 2000s.

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The collection was fantastic!  There were 149 works from Pissaro, Monet, Cezanne, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec and Vallotton.  Interestingly, in the 1890s, there was a influential show of Japanese woodblocks (ukiyo-e).  Vallotton, in particular, turned to a wood block technique for a lot of his work after the exhibit.

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Highlights for me included two beautiful Pissaro paintings of grassy open areas and farm buildings, Claude Monet’s “The Evening in the Field/Le soir dans la prairie,” and two beautiful color pastels by Odilon Redon.  SMS really liked the Redon’s black and white lithographs from the “Dans Reve” collection.  

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We had a wonderful time and spent just under two hours there.  Afterwards, we decided to make the most of our travel to Tokyo so we decided to go the Tokyo SkyTree.  We walked back to Tokyo station and took the Yaesu South Exit.  We actually walked through the station, which always causes problems at the ticket exit since we used our PASMO.  But the conductor took it, asked a few questions that we couldn’t answer and then coded our cards to let us through.  We walked to the bus loading area where there are numbered pillars.  The bus to Tokyo SkyTree is #4 and costs Y500.  I recommend swiping your PASMO!

At 634m, Tokyo SkyTree is the tallest tower in the world and second-tallest structure after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  It costs Y2,000 to go to the first platform and an additional Y1,000 to go to the higher, smaller observation deck.  There are children’s rates, too.  We decided not to go up since it was drizzly and both the visibility and cloud ceiling were low.  We will be back though!

We walked through “The Japan Experience” displays and walked around the mall called SkyTree town.  We had BiBimBap bowls for dinner, followed by a crepe.  Yum!

Getting home was super-easy.  We headed to the Oshiage station, which is the A1 station on the Toei Asakusa line.  The line turns into the Keikyu limited express to Yokosuka so we didn’t have to switch trains and we had a seat the whole way home, which was important since it was the end of rush hour.  This is an awesome piece of information to know since Hyperdia didn’t give us that as a route option.  In addition, we can take the Keikyu to Asakusa for our next field trip, since that’s an awesome area known for it’s “Old Edo” feel!

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