It is a branch of the harbour in the city centre containing wonderful restaurants, a shopping centre, a convention centre, a glamorous casino, a maritime museum, an aquarium, chinese and japanese gardens, an IMAX cinema, and the Powerhouse Museum (a power station converted into a costume museum and other wonders).
via Monorail from the shopping district
Every Sunday the handicraft market is held on the (upper) Esplanade at St Kilda... this being the extension of the famous Acland Street. Melbourne has lots of weekend markets from Red hill to the Queen Vic (not forgetting all the suburban ones) but for position and variety, the Esplanade ones is tops.
The (upper) Esplanade St Kilda between Acland St and Fitzroy St, a short walk along Fitzroy St from the light rail station
It's a Westfield Shopping Centre but it's honestly got such a huge range of shops from your designers, Australian and overseas (Wayne Cooper, Alana Hill, etc), to chain stores and even a few little quirky ones as well.
Has a main bus stop/ train station next door
Cabramatta is the centre of the Asian community in Western Sydney, most notably the Vietnamese. Here you can find the most eclectic array of asian food, from Vietnamese through to Laosian. The cost of eating here is amazingly cheap for the quality of food, too.
Up until recently the area was given a lot of bad press, but people have become to realise that the food and shopping (fabrics, ethnic supermarkets, electrical goods) make Cabramatta a different Sydney experience.
Cityrail to Cabramatta – about 30 minutes.
Absolutely stunning twin towers. Go during the day and there is a free guided tour and then again at night to see the towers lit up! There is also a shopping centre, cinema and restaurants at your disposal.
Junction of Jalan Ampand and Jalan P. Ramlee
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Just look for the towers you can't miss them!
If you want to know what the Japanese do on a Sunday afternoon, then head off to Yoyogi Park. The whole of Tokyo seems to descend on this wonderful park. Families come for a picnic, unsigned pop bands play inpromptu gigs, theatre groups practise their latest plays and people just hang out letting the world go by! Everything seems to happen in this one place! When I went there a year ago, I felt like I saw the real Tokyo - seeing the Japanese at play.
Don't miss it!
Adjacent to Yoyogi-koen and Meiji-jingumae Stations on the subway Chiyoda Line, and Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line
Kiddy Land, one of Tokyo’s largest toy stores, is a shrine to all things “kawaii” (cute). Spread over six floors, the shop features all major global toy brands and characters, including Dick Bruna’s Miffy, Disney and of course Hello Kitty. Character-branded stationery, cards, stickers, stamps, and gift wrap can be found in the basement.
The first floor offers an eclectic mix of fancy dress gear, watches and accessories. The second floor features a fabulous array of stuffed animals, while the third floor concentrates of American characters such as Barbie and Spiderman. The fourth floor is geared towards pre-school kids and toddlers, and the fifth is full of games and gadgets. With such a fantastic range of toys, this Tokyo institution will win over even the most jaded of shoppers.
ADDRESS: 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
PHONE: +81 (0)3 3409 3431
WEBSITE: www.kiddyland.co.jp/index2.html (Japanese language only)
Woven baskets, hammocks and mochilas (a local bag) are all worth a look, as are reproductions of pre-Colombian pottery and gold work.
Try the pricey but high quality Artesanias de Colombia next to the church Iglesia de las Aguas on Carerra 3A, 18-60.
It is not so well known that Tokyo shelters geisha communities that are as old as their Kyoto counterparts. The streets behind Asakusa temple provide a glimpse of the 'flower and willow world’ and offer possibly the best chance you’ll get in this sprawling metropolis of spotting one of these elusive, enigmatic creatures.
Head down the nameless side streets that lead off the touristy Nakamise dori at Asakusa temple to discover high-class kimono parlours and discreet booths selling slender hand-painted bamboo fans, delicate tortoiseshell hair ornamentations, 10-inch-high ‘geta’ sandals and the white face make-up for which geisha are famed.
With a bit of luck you’ll also see a hooded rickshaw and black-clad puller with his distinctive wide brimmed hat and split-toed tabi shoes transporting one of these ethereal women to a nearby theatre or discreet teahouse. Squint your eyes and it looks like a scene from the 17th century.
Take the Ginza or Toei Asakusa subway lines - alight Asakusa station. If you feel like being more romantic take a boat-trip from Hinode Pier or the Hamu Rikyu gardens along the Sumida river alighting at Azumabashi bridge.
For more information about Tokyo's geisha district see www.asakusa-e.com
Asakusa Information centre (2-18-9 Kaminarimon) has English speaking staff 10-8pm daily)
There are traditional coffee houses all over Tokyo. Small - usually air-conditioned - places of calm from the hustle, bustle and summer heat. Your glass of ice cool water is constantly topped up, a cloth to refresh you, coffee, cakes and in many perfect toasted cheese. Excellent people-watching places too. Don't even think about using Starbucks or any of the chains.
Once you experience the service in Japan, going back to Britain will never be the same. Expect the finest courtesy and graciousness from bars, hotels, stores.
It is recommended we remember our manners in return, best to keep your irritations and road rage at home, it does not have any standing here.
We have lived here for 6 years and I have met 3 rude Japanese people compared to the useless attitude I experience when I come back each year to Britain.
I have walked home late at night after a Girls Night Out in Roppongi and never encountered any loud mouth louts, I could not do that anywhere in Scotland.
Tokyo is a wonderful place for those with a heart for adventure, we love it.
Basically Tokyo-on-sea, a big slab of reclaimed land in Tokyo bay where you can go and chill out, eat/drink/shop, enjoy sea breezes, even go to the (artifical) beach! There are stunning views of Tokyo (especially at night), and it's one of the few places in Tokyo where you can enjoy the great outdoors. There's a massive ferris wheel for even better views and you can even rent a dog to walk!! One of the best things about it though is the journey there - it's worth going just to enjoy the monorail ride across the enormous Rainbow Bridge.
Yuirkamone monorail from Shimbashi. A one-day ticket gives unlimited travel on the monorail all day for around £7.
One of dozens of department stores in the Ginza area; this is my personal favourite, mainly because of the food hall. You can find an absolutely stunning range of local and international delicacies here and best of all a lot of it is out on cocktail sticks for you to try - helpful where you're not sure what it is - so you can wander around, enjoy the frenetic atmosphere and have your lunch at the same time!
Ginza or Higashi Ginza subway
Try going on a Saturday night for Karaoke night, really over-the-top OAPs getting down to some of the worst singing you've ever heard. Go REALLY early to get a seat (5.30pm)
Great food, dozens of different open-air restaurants. Argentinian, Middle Eastern, incredible Mexican, Creole, Chinese, French, diners, bars, everything.
You can also buy truly hideous souvenirs here, snow globes with palm trees, bare-breasted salt and pepper shakers, kittens made of rabbit fur (eeek!) deeply un-chic, and perfect gifts for your boss.
It's next to the newer open-air shopping mall called "The Grove", as in Coconut, I expect, not Notting Hill. There you can find a big department store and tons of Gap, Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie type shops.
Great inexpensive day and or evening out.
On the corner of Fairfax and Third
Visit the Ginza district on a Sunday.The streets are closed to traffic and it's a great time to stroll around the area with it's many shops. Perfect for people watching!
Ginza is well connected to both underground and overland train services. The nearest station is, not suprisingly, called Ginza.
Probably one of the largest expanses of gadget heaven on planet Earth. Think of anything electronic and you'll find it here. The current sterling/yen exchange rate also means that you'll pay around 15-20% less here (maybe a bit more if you bring your passport with you to get a further 5% off as a tax-free purchase).
On the Yamanote line (and others) two stops north of JR Tokyo station. For a preview of one of the biggest stores go to www.yodobashi.com (Japanese language only unfortunately).
I'm thinking here of Isetan in Shinjuku and Tobu and Seibu department stores in Ikebukuro, although all the major dept stores at Shibuya and Tokyo stations should have similar food basements.
Always busy and noisy with the calls of the sales staff touting their wares, they give an insight into the astonishing variety and sophistication of Japanese cuisine. Also, they also frequently offer tantalising titbits to passers-by.
On an upper-floor, there is usually also a selection of reasonably-priced restaurants offering a variety of different styles of Japanese cuisine.
If you get off the JR Yamanote line at Shinjuku, you'll find Odakyu, leave by the East Exit, and turn right, Isetan is on your left about 200 metres.
Get off the JR Yamanote line at Ikebukuro and it will be hard not to find yourself in either Tobu or Seibu department store basement 1. Both have two whole basement floors of food.
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