Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Teamlab Borderless

Teamlab Borderless
Odaiba Palette Town 2F, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Daily 10AM to 7PM (up to 9PM on Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays)
Admission fee 3200 yen

We arrived at Teamlab Borderless a few minutes after it had opened and, to our surprise, the line of people waiting to go in (already with tickets) had spilled out on the sidewalk! The 200-meter long line from the entrance was down to zero meters in 30 minutes. Our turn, finally! Since I was the one who had bought our tickets through Klook (although it is the same price as when buying at the venue, it eliminates the hassle of queuing to buy a ticket, which is a different line!), I had to scan the three QR codes at the entrance and held up the line. Good thing the other visitors behind me kept their cool while I fumbled with the QR codes on my phone.

Inside Teamlab Borderless there were no maps, and we had to find your way around the dark hallways, not knowing what surprises awaited us.

The first one we found was the "Borderless World"...a room of flowers...flowing into another room with another with x-ray like bamboo and creepy-looking bunnies, frogs, and other more flowers...

In "Crystal World", a room shimmering from floor to ceiling with crystals, it felt like I was in the animated movie Frozen. We also stumbled into "Memory of Topography", a room full of "lily pads" with projections of flowing blue fish. This one made me feel like a Frog Prince. But not so much—it did not make me want to hop from one lily pad to another, but made me want to run my fingertips over the "lily pads" as I waded between them.

One room that was very popular, thanks to Instagram and social media, was the "Forest of Lamps". We had to wait in line, for I don't know how long, maybe 20 minutes? Half an hour? 40 minutes? Plenty of time to pray for the lamp color to change to the one we want by the time our turn came to spend two minutes inside. Two minutes to try and take an IG-worthy shot without other people in the background (good luck with that). Once inside, we (and everyone else, I am sure) realized how very short two minutes really is.

The "Athletics Forest" and "Future Park", I thought, were designed for the children. There were rooms where kids could climb on "tree branches" and swings, an area full of balloons of all sizes and pretty colors, another spot where kids could make art, and two or three more places where kids could slide down, pretend to cook egg, etc. There was a large space with uneven topography where big droplets were flowing on the columns and gathering in puddles, and where creatures were crawling all over the ground. I discovered that if I stood in a puddle, the water would gather around my feet. And if I stomped on the creatures, they'd go splat!

Stomping on creatures can be exhausting! We wanted to just sit and relax. "En Tea House" provided this much needed rest. But this break cost us a minimum of 500 yen each, because each one had to order at least one item on the menu: green tea (plain, or with yuzu citrus, or with chamomile; 500 yen) or matcha ice cream with a cup of tea (1200 yen).

Our respite at En Tea House turned magical when we were served our tea and ice cream: flowers started to bloom inside the cup of tea and a bush grew around the bowl of matcha ice cream. We tried to sip our tea slowly to make the magic last: the flowers would continue to bloom as long as there was still tea in our cup.

Flowers blooming on my tea

Tea on the left, and matcha ice cream on the right

Nothing lasts forever, and we had to drink our expensive tea to the very last drop and give the others waiting in line a chance to experience this magic. There was one room left—"Floating Nest"—but we decided to forgo that one because the waiting time was an hour! Three hours in the dark with tons of people was enough to make me dizzy.

Sa May Kanto (2019)
Pocket WiFi: Japan Wireless
Keisei Skyliner and Tokyo Subway Tickets
Tokyo Accommodations: Oak Hostel Fuji, Hostel Owl Tokyo Nippori, Centurion Ladies Hostel  Ueno Park
Food for the Eyes and Food for the Mouth at Asakusa
A Day at Ueno Park
Tokyo Sights Using the Toei 1-Day Pass
Teamlab Borderless (you're here!)
Escape to Mount Takao

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