Tokyo


I really don't have a lot to say about Tokyo. We had very little expectation of it - just another big city. It was more human then I thought it would be, less crowded, friendlier.

Caught the train in to Ueno, then the subway to Minowa and walked to the hostel. The place I'd picked out to stay wasn't too bad - a mixture of japanese and western. We slept on mats on a tatami floor, but the beds were out all the time. We had a private bathroom and toilet, and some shelves in the bedroom, but we sat at a low table on the floor.

Walked around Minowa, which is quite suburban. It borders on Asakusa, which is a much more touristic part of Tokyo, so we walked that far and had an initial scout around to see what was interesting in our local area. We returned to our hostel but walked back to Asakusa for dinner, a pattern that we repeated on other nights, since there was a lot more to choose from there.

Once again, trains are the way to travel here - the subway is easy to use and goes all over the city, and there are regular JR trains that connect with the subway. We used a subway-JR combination to go into Tokyo.

Central Tokyo wasn't crowded, but it wasn't terribly exciting. We visited the imperial palace gardens, the actual palace being off-bounds. We were trying to find gifts to take home, but it didn't work out very well. Daimaru didn't have the same range of things as we saw in Sapporo - you should always buy things when you see them!

We went to Ginza and and did the shopping thing - not our favourite pastime. We managed to buy a couple of things, but nothing very inspired. That night we were back in Asakusa for dinner and had a much longer walk around the area - it is a great place to wander around at night.

Back in Asakusa, but this time in the morning. Went to Senso-ji temple - just fantastic! It was massively crowded, but had a great atmosphere and the buildings are wonderful. We even liked the appallingly commercial road leading up to the temple - it all added to the scene.

We walked from the temple to Ueno, and looked at the shopping street and department store near the railway line. Didn't go to Ueno park - it was late in the afternoon and we were tired of walking - but we promised ourselves we would return. Went back to Asakusa shrine and environs for more pictures at night.

We had decided to move out to Narita for our last night, since our flight left early in the morning. That gave us one last day in Tokyo, so we checked out but left the bags, and took the subway to Ueno to explored the park. Lots of shrines and temples, a very big lake, a zoo (which we didn't visit), and a couple of cemeteries - it is a huge park, and a centre of tranquility in a busy city.

We walked over to the fabric-selling district and bought a couple of lengths of material, our traditional souvenir when we travel. Back to Nippori station and had a politically incorrect lunch of toasted sandwiches and ice cream sundaes and beer in a rather strange up-market restaurant - couldn't have been good for us but it was a celebratory goodbye to Tokyo.

Collected our luggage and caught three trains to get to Narita Airport, then the shuttle bus to the Guest House. It was a good hotel for our last night in Japan - full moon out of the window, planes slowly taxiing by; no noise.










 


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