Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buffet lunch and baseball game

As I wrote in the previous post, hubby and I had been to Tokyo on 21st and 22nd September during the silver week holidays. We visited Nagatacho district in the morning of 21st September and then went to Shinagawa for lunch. After lunch we went to see baseball game at Tokyo Dome.

Luxe Dining Hapuna
Luxe Dining Hapuna is located in the first floor of the main tower of Shinagawa Prince Hotel. The hotel is just two minutes walk from Shinagawa railway station. The restaurant is a food entertainment resort which serves very healthy food. In fact, hubby and I once had buffet lunch at this restaurant about eleven years ago (in 1998), and we wished to revisit the place during this trip to Tokyo. However in the past decade, Shinagawa railway station and the surrounding area have dramatically changed and we had some difficulty in locating the main entrance of the hotel. Fortunately, we could get proper direction to the hotel using internet service of hubby’s mobile phone.
Hubby searching for exact location of Shinagawa Prince Hotel using his mobile phone

Shinagawa Prince Hotel

Main tower of Shinagawa Prince Hotel

We can enjoy a leisurely meal in the glamorous black-themed modern interior of restaurant Luxe Dining Hapuna. Lunch is buffet of gourmet food which costs 3000 Yen per person. There is an extensive selection of food for lunch with over sixty varieties of Japanese, Western, and Chinese dishes. This ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet is a taster’s paradise and it does not have a time restriction. There are four buffet stations including an open satellite kitchen where we can enjoy watching fresh food being prepared by gourmet chefs. We can begin our lunch at any of the four buffet stations.
Entrance of restaurant Luxe Dining Hapuna

Restaurant Luxe Dining Hapuna

The restaurant was very crowded, and hubby and I had to wait for about 30 minutes for the buffet lunch. At about 1.20 pm, a restaurant staff showed us to our table. Hubby and I really liked the interior of the restaurant, the glass pyramid ceiling, and the open dining layout. Since the choice of where to begin the buffet lunch was completely ours, we began our lunch with cold crabs legs from one of the buffet stations. It was fun to watch hubby use crab scissors and pickers to break open the crab legs and take out the crab meat. We had the crab meat in a lemon flavored dipping sauce. The meat of crab legs was superb and delicious. Next we had a non-stop selection of roast beef, pork, fried chicken, soba, stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, cold salads, hot soups, bread, and many more items from other buffet stations. We ended our lunch with dessert of a variety of petit cakes, ice creams, and hot coffee. It was almost 3 pm when we finished having our lunch. We had over-eaten but definitely enjoyed the scrumptious lunch feast at the restaurant. Buffet lunch at restaurant Luxe Dining Hapuna was a memorable and special experience for us.
Beautiful interior of the restaurant

One of the buffet stations

Another buffet station with gourmet chef preparing fresh food

Cold crab legs and Chinese dumplings

Hubby breaking open crab legs

Various other food items we ate during buffet lunch

Udon and desserts

Hubby having udon

Baseball game at Tokyo Dome
After lunch, hubby and I went to see baseball game at Tokyo Dome. Hubby had not seen a professional baseball game at a stadium for more than two years and he wished to watch one. We used JR Keihin-Tohoku Line to go from Shinagawa to Akihabara railway station, and then used JR Sobu Line to reach Suidobashi railway station, which is one of the nearest railway stations to Tokyo Dome.

I was surprised by the hugeness of Tokyo Dome. It is the first domed stadium of Japan located in Bunkyo ward of Tokyo, which opened on 17th March, 1988. Tokyo Dome is a 55,000-seat stadium (actual capacity - 42,000 seats). It is the home field of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. In addition to the baseball games, several other sports like basketball, American football, and pro-wrestling matches, as well as music concerts and many other important events are held at the dome throughout the year.
Tokyo Dome

Another view of Tokyo Dome

Hubby standing near one of the entrance gate of the stadium

The baseball game between Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons was already underway, and more than half of the game was over. However, we just wished to enjoy the enthusiastic atmosphere of the baseball game. People in Japan usually do advanced booking for tickets, and it being a holiday, the game was sold out. We were lucky enough to get standing-room-only tickets, and so hubby bought two of these tickets. The minute we entered the stadium, we were transported to a different world altogether!

Baseball is probably the most popular sport in Japan. There are two professional baseball leagues in Japan; the Central League and the Pacific League, each consisting of six teams. Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons both belong to Central League. It was home-ground of Yomiuri Giants, and there was a frenzied atmosphere inside the stadium. Hubby and I are fans of Chunichi Dragons as the team is based in Nagoya (hubby’s hometown). In Japan, attending a baseball game in a stadium usually involves active and enthusiastic participation of the spectators. There was a coordinated cheering that was led by cheer captains in the outfield bleachers. The fans of the batting team chanted, sang, and rhythmically banged plastic bats. Their deafening and synchronized roar dominated the stadium. The fans of the team in the field maintained a respectful silence, interrupted only by a wave of applause after each out. The fans have an immense love for their team and an endless reserve of energy. I compiled a video of Chunichi Dragons fans singing and cheering a Dragons batter. I also compiled a video of hubby tapping his feet to the theme song of Chunichi Dragons. He looked so cute enjoying the baseball game!
Baseball game in progress at Tokyo Dome stadium

Crowd enjoying the baseball game

Hubby enjoying the baseball game

Chunichi Dragons fans (blue uniform)

Yomiuri Giants fans

A compiled video of Chunichi Dragons fans singing and cheering a Dragons batter (please increase the sound volume)

Video of hubby tapping his feet to the theme song of Chunichi Dragons (please increase the sound volume)

That day Yomiuri Giants baseball team won the game. The game was over after about one hour of our entering the stadium. After the game, the atmosphere inside the stadium calmed down, and everyone packed up their belongings and shuffled out of the stadium. After some time, we also left the stadium.
Hero-interview of Yomiuri Giants team

After coming out of the stadium gate

Tokyo Dome City
When we came to Tokyo Dome, we were in quite a bit of hurry to enter the stadium, and so we did not really notice the area surrounding the dome. Therefore after seeing the baseball game and leaving the stadium, we enjoyed the dome architecture and its surroundings for some time. The dome along with its surroundings is known as Tokyo Dome City, which is an entertainment complex.
Hubby standing in front of Tokyo Dome

Me standing in front of Tokyo Dome

Tokyo Dome City contains an amusement park facility known as Tokyo Dome City Attractions. There was a wonderful ride in the park known as Big-O, which is the world’s first center-less Ferris wheel. It appeared to be a giant doughnut floating in the air. There was also a steel hyper-roller-coaster known as Thunder Dolphin which has an exciting 1066 meters long thrill-packed ride course that passes through both a hole in a building as well as through Big-O. There was also an attraction known as Tower Hacker, which is a scream-filled machine dropping from a height of 80 meters. It looked very scary. There was another parachute-shaped attraction known as Sky-Flower, which goes up and down from a height of 61 meters to the ground. We also saw a towering Tokyo Dome Hotel nearby, which has a height of 155 meters with 43 floors above ground and 3 floors below ground. There were many eateries and restaurants at the dome city. All around us, people were having a fun time. Tokyo Dome City offers unprecedented access to pleasure, excitement, refreshment, and relaxation. However, we did not stay for long at Tokyo Dome City as we were rather tired due to a hectic but very fun-filled day.
I am standing at Tokyo Dome City. The attractions Big-O and Thunder Bird can be seen in the background.

Tower Hacker and a part of Big-O


Tokyo Dome Hotel

At about 6 pm, we left Tokyo Dome City area and walked up to Suidobashi railway station, which was just 400 meters away. After travelling in a few trains for short distances, we reached Aomono-Yokocho station in Minami (south) Shinagawa. We returned back to Hotel Toyoko Inn located adjacent to the railway station, where we were going to spend the night and had already checked-in in the morning itself. After taking rest for about 30 minutes, we went out and had a light dinner at a restaurant. After that we retired for the day. Next day in the morning, we went to see Sensoji Temple in Asakusa district of Tokyo, about which I will write in the next post.


Gobinda Kundu said...

It is really beautiful interior of the restaurant.
wowwwwwwww! Tokyo Dome is very titanic.

I try my level best but I could not see any bird in the background.....

Kazuo Nagata said...

Yappari kani umakatta

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment Gobinda. Yeah, the interior of the restaurant was really glamourous. The food was also very good and of high quality.

And yeah, name of the roller coaster at Tokyo Dome City amusement park is thunder dolphin and not thunder bird. Thanks for pointing it out. I was probably thinking about the e-mail software thunderbird while writing the post. ha ha.....

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Crab is really delicious, isnt't it Kazuo-san?

May said...

Hi Ms Manisha,

Its great to read your post regarding the buffet, expecially the cold alaska crab. I am going to have my Japan trip on March 2011. Will it be the season for me to try the crab. Because I heard that the crab is only available for certain time only.
Thank you.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment May. I had no idea about the type of crab though it tasted delicious:) I heard that crab is available through out the year in this restaurant. Probably they keep in storage? My friends have been to this restaurant in the month of April and they could eat crab....So I hope you will be able to enjoy crab.. Have fun during your trip to Japan.