Sunday, March 2, 2014

The fanciest carpark in Tokyo is in Ginza

This isn't an art gallery or some fancy event space.
This is actually a carpark in Ginza, Tokyo.

Today, in Tokyo living a Travelife, we went to have a kaiseki lunch at a restaurant in Ginza.

It's not an internationally famous restaurant compared to its neighbor in the same building, 7-Chome Kyoboshi, which is a Michelin three-star tempura restaurant, but it serves pretty good Japanese food.

In our Feb-March 2014 issue


Read more about 7-Chome Kyoboshi 
in the current issue of Travelife Magazine. 
On sale everywhere now

It's the kind of place locals go to as it's under the radar, although unfortunately it's not very cheap as it's located in a pricey neighborhood of Ginza.

More on this restaurant today in a later blog entry.

Scroll down to read more...




A GEM OF A CARPARK IN TOKYO

What I wanted to write about today is Tokyo's fanciest parking area.

We drove to the restaurant in Ginza.

In Ginza, parking is usually atrociously expensive. Before we found this fancy parking lot, we'd seen a couple of others in the same vicinity.

THE PRICE OF PARKING IN TOKYO



However, when I saw how much they were charging, I just couldn't bring myself to park the car there.

Parking in Tokyo usually averages about 600 yen to 800 yen an hour, unless you find street parking which is 300 yen.

But the first one we found in Ginza today was charging 3600 yen per hour. That comes up to roughly US$36 per hour just to park the car.

That's a small fortune for an afternoon of parking.

WEIGHING THE PROS AND CONS

Those are the two parking attendants.
And, yes, one of them is wearing a suit. 

So we drove a bit further down -- literally just a few meters -- when I decided it wasn't worth it to try looking for a cheaper parking spot, if it also meant walking a really long way just to get to the restaurant.

It's a rather rainy day in Tokyo today, you see. Plus it's pretty cold. At lunch, the barometers all said 7 degrees outside, but it felt more like 2 degrees with the wind and showers.

I'm wearing boots and a trench coat lined with fur inside, so that should give you an idea how cold it is.



GOING FOR THE NEXT ONE

"Let's just head into the next parking we find," I said.

As bad luck would have it -- at least so I thought -- the next parking place was a pretty swish parking space that looked more like a modern art gallery than a parking place.

The attendants were all in fashionable black, and it was one of these high tech underground contraptions that take your car underground via a conveyor system.

All you have to do is slide the car inside.

IS IT A CARPARK OR AN ART GALLERY?

That's the door of the carpark.
And that's my car going down under via conveyor.

Even the door of the parking conveyor contraption was glass and steel -- really like a modern art gallery.

And the adjacent space to this parking place was dispaying expensive watches from Breguet.

If I was worried about US$36 per hour parking fees, well this easily looked like a $50 per hour parking space.



As the deed was done, we didn't even bother to ask about the fees. 

This was something to deal with after lunch anyway, and we had a wonderful, delicious kaiseki meal to look forward to.

WHAT A SURPRISE

We took our time at lunch and I even did a bit of window shopping as I haven't been to Japan in about six months -- and to this part of Ginza in an even longer time.



When we returned, we were ready to fork out major money for the parking. But all they asked for was the equivalent of US$9.

This must be the best-priced fanciest car park in Tokyo.

And I'm certainly glad I found it, on a cold Sunday in Japan, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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