This was the travelling we had planned for day eight, a beautiful, full trip to Hakone to see parks, hot springs, pirate ships and maybe a glimpse of Mt Fuji. Coupled with a forecast of late-in-the-day rain, we realised that this trip would be too ambitious for our family of littlies. It just took a little adjustment and we managed an entertaining day much closer to 'home'. We began at the Ueno Zoo, which boasts none of the space or beauty or quality of Australian zoos, but was enjoyable all the same.
They loved the pandas, monkeys and seals.
(I loved the flamingos.)
They had space to run.
They ate terrible Zoo food.
They peeked over the shoulders of high school art students, sketching hippos and okapis.
They inspected the snake enclosures and called 'there it is!' to their siblings when they found one.
They had a good time.
In the afternoon we strolled through Ameyoko Street and browsed through stalls boasting seafood, shoes and sportswear. We are grateful to be only a few stations away from our hotel as the rain begins and stays for the evening.
Travel tip on using money and shopping: Conversion to Yen is simple, as one hundred yen is approximately one dollar. We exchanged cash while in Australia, and this was easily the best way to access and use money. Our bank offered a decent exchange rate and minimal fees on their travel card, compared to using our existing credit card. This visa debit travel card was accepted at most shops in Tokyo. Withdrawing money from the card is not difficult, but finding at atm that accepts it, is.
My advice would be to take as much cash as you feel safe carrying, use your travel or credit card for large purchases, and find an atm where you can use your card before you are out of money, in case it takes awhile to find a suitable machine.