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This was our last day in Tokyo. We had a late afternoon flight and had to check out of our hotel by 10am. We decided to get moving early, pack up and take our packs over to Justin’s apartment and store them until we had to leave for the airport. We decided to go over to Shibuya. My wife wanted to find a UNIQLO and do some shopping.

I took a photo of these recycling bins in the train station because it was so unusual to find either trash or recycling bins in Tokyo.

We had problems finding the UNIQLO store in Shibuya. That was unusually because we had seen them all over the place. After walking around for about a half an hour we asked a policeman for directions and soon found the store. Unfortunately my didn’t find anything she wanted.

She was also looking for some little plastic cats with a solar panel embedded in them. The cats then waved when the sun was shining. We looked in this odds and ends store but couldn’t find them. One thing I don’t miss about Tokyo is the constant noise. Many of the stores have hawkers outside the store with bullhorns trying to entice people in. The noise is constant. Unfortunately we couldn’t find what we were looking for.

we then headed back to Shibuya Station and walked around Shibuya for a while. We took a few photos of the famous Shibuya Crossing and a photo of me at Hachiko’s Statue. This was the first time we were at the Statue that there were not long lines to get photos taken. Hachiko was famous because he always came to the station to meet his owner at the end of the day. One day his owner died at work but Hachiko came to meet him. It is a touching story because Hachiko continued to come to meet his owner for the next 10 until his death.

 

We then headed over to Shinjuku to look around. We wanted to get a bite to eat but got lost and Google Maps wasn’t working all that well. We finally found a place to eat and a route back to the station.

We then headed back to to Ookayama to pick up our packs and make our way out to the airport. On the trip back we encountered these school  kids running wild in the station. This was very unusual and the first time we had seen something like this. The only other misbehaved kids we saw on our visit were Americans.

Ookayama station was almost deserted when we caught the train for the airport.

 

Our first objective of the day was to find Todoroki Valley Park. It is only a 20-minute train ride from Shibuya Station. This is a wild and untamed gorge, with a jungle-like canopy. It was forged by the Yazawa River as it heads for the larger Tama River and it is the only valley in Tokyo. A short 1.5 km walk along the river will bring you to a shrine and temple and small waterfalls.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

After walking a short distance we found this small bridge over the river. This lead to the Todoroki Valley Park Caves which were used as burial sites.

Retracing our steps we returned to the path along the river where we encountered a picturesque bridge which leads to the Chigo Daishi Mieido a small shrine that features a statue of Kobo Daishi. Fudo Waterfall is right beside the small shrine and originates from the mouths of two ornate dragons.

Following the steps leads to another small shrine.

Continuing up the steps leads to the Todoroki Fudosan Temple.

Chōzubachis, are used by worshipers for washing their left hands, right hands, mouth and finally the handle of the water ladle to purify themselves before approaching the main Shinto shrine temple.

There was a Chrysanthemum exhibit taking place at the temple including Bonsai  Chrysanthemums.

Walking back down to the Yazawa River we continued our river walk. We found a small Japanese Garden. Some of the trails were closed but we were able to walk through the garden and out of the gorge. On the way we found several small ponds a small bamboo forest, fruit trees and flowers.

There was a small gate at the top of the garden so we went through it and found ourselves in the Todoroki Fudo Children’s Park. We sat on a bench to change batteries in our camera and while we were doing so a group of small children on an outing showed up. The care takers had their hands full. As soon as they took the child out of the wagon the child was off and running or crawling.


We retraced our steps back to the train station and caught a train to Oimachi Station where we changed trains for Hamamatsucho Station and our destination which was Hamarikyu Gardens. The lines in the second photo tell riders where to stand when waiting for the train.

I found this giant spider along the sidewalk and it was close enough to get a good shot.

 

We had to walk a short distance from the train station to Hamarikyu Gardens. I took this photo because of the odd shape of the building. It looked like you could almost touch both walls at the same time. There was also garbage on the street. This is a very rare event in Tokyo. It looked like a bird might have gotten into the garbage. Normally garbage is covered with a net to prevent that from happening.

After a short walk we arrived at Hamarikyu Gardens. Many of the parks in Tokyo are free but most of the formal gardens have an entrance fee.

I believe this is part of the Sumida River with in the background.

As I recall this park was a villa for a feudal lord and this was his duck hunting blind. It was a very elaborate setup with everything choreographed to bring the ducks to the lord.

This park had some wildlife that I was able to photograph.

As we were wandering around we noticed this water bus leaving the dock so we walked over to see what was going on. Checking at the dock we discovered that water buses leave from the dock about every hour. Since we had not ridden a water bus we decided to walk around the park for a bit more then come back and take the water bus up the Sumida River to Asakusa.

Everyone was in line early hoping to get a good seat but as it turned out there were not all that many people on the bus.

In order to get out to the Sumida River we had to go through a set of locks.

These are some of the sights along the river on the way to Asakusa.

It looked like most of the bridge crossing the river were under construction or renovation. They must spend huge sums on infrastructure repair. Too bad this country can’t afford to fix out infrastructure.

Several couples in traditional costume were waiting for us when we docked in Asakusa.

A shot of Tokyo Skytree from the Asakusa docks.

We saw more people dressed in traditional costumes as we walked over to Sensō-ji.

We were looking for a McDonald’s for some ice cream and coffee and we found in in a shopping area.

Just across the street I notice a shop that was renting out traditional costumes. This is near Sensō-ji where we also saw quite a few people dressed in native costumes.

We then took a train over to Shibuya where we wandered around some fancy shopping centers while we waited for our son to finish work.

We then took the train to Ebisu and walked down to Specialized Group where he was just finishing up work.

We all caught a train to his apartment where we watched the Green Bay Packer Game. After the game Justin an Carla took us to dinner at a local restaurant just down the street.

We then headed back to our hotel which was about a 15 minute walk from his apartment.

 

 

I have to say, after visiting this park, if I only had time to visit one park in Tokyo this would be the one I would visit.

Today we are headed for Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. It took about an hour from our hotel taking several trains to get to the park.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

When we arrived we came out of the Tachikawa Station on the second level on what appeared to be a raised pedestrian roundabout one level above the street. We had see something like this in Tokyo and it seems to be quite efficient and eliminates the problem with pedestrians having to cross traffic when navigating a major intersection. We decided to stop at McDonald’s and get some coffee. It was one of the few places that was open early in the morning. We had a good view of the roundabout and the monorail station.

Japan is so very clean but I hadn’t seen that many people out cleaning the streets. On this morning, within about 15 minutes. Three people went by dusting the railings and sweeping the sidewalk.There was a taxi stand near the train station and I was admiring the immaculate taxies and how the drivers were out polishing them and how they assisted passengers. This was in stark contrast to our arrival home when we had to open the taxi doors and find a place to put our bags. The taxi was filthy and looked terrible. Americans don’t seem to have any pride in their work.

We decided to walk around a bit. Actually we were trying to find the park but were lost. We walked past this large bike parking ramp at the train station. We also ran across these policemen directing traffic and an intersection near the train station.

After wandering around a bit we ended up back at the pedestrian roundabout and decided to follow the monorail line out toward the park.

I noticed this artwork on one of the buildings.

In Tokyo the pedestrian walk signs don’t use numbers to tell you how long you have to cross the street they use the little lines on each side of the symbol in indicate waiting and walking time. In this case there will be a short wait before we can go.

As we neared the park it appeared that some type of outdoor recreational event was being held. Tents were being setup, camper vans were on display and the scouts had a demonstration area setup.

There were also food trucks that were being setup for the day.

The promenade leading to the Park was beautiful.

It was still early but it was a Sunday and there were a lot of people heading for the park. It was also a beautiful fall day.

As we entered the park we encountered Ginkgo Avenue. The Ginkgo trees were just starting to turn yellow.

This was the first of several wedding parties that we encountered in the park.

Here are several views of Showa Kinen Park Fountain.

I’m not sure what was going on here. There was a large open area displaying many figures made of large branches. Some of them were designed for kids to play on.

There were many kids in the park and probably as many dogs.

An interesting piece of artwork.

After walking for a while we encountered a large lake. There were a variety of ducks in the lake.

We encountered a Segway tour getting instructions. When they saw me taking their picture the lost their concentration and I thought they were going to have an accident.


It was early in the day and there were already a large number of boats out on the lake.

This little girl was working on here scooter skills while the family was setting up a picnic nearby.

Even though it was early November, there were a lot of flowers blooming in the park.

We encountered a large open area where sports were being played and folks looked like they were camping for the day. There was a huge field of flowers surrounding the open area.

We stopped on a bench and had lunch and people watched.

Our next stop in the park was the Japanese Garden and within that the Bonsai Garden where they had an amazing collection of bonsai trees.

We then continued on to main Japanese Garden. While the fall colors were not at their peak the were still beautiful.

We were about halfway in our walk around the park when we found a small rural farming village. Komorebi Village is a replica Japanese agricultural village from the early Showa period and you can see different things there, depending on the season. Since we were there in the fall the harvest season was represented. The village has a working windmill.

Continuing on we encountered a large area geared toward children. There was a place to eat and purchase trinkets.

This area was called Clowd Ocean and consisted on a number of bouncy domes that kids could jump on.

A climbing area where there were a large number of nets.

A number of cement dragons  and other creatures that kids could climb on.

A large slide that was very popular and the kids and adults were having a great time on it.

Another slide.

I’m not sure what this was. Kids were climbing on these hills and in the summer the far end has an area that sprays water that kids can run through.

While we were watching the kids this wedding party walked through the area. What was strange was that the bride was holding a cat that was also all dressed up.

The park also has a large Barbecue Garden. This is the only place in the park where visitors can barbecue or use fire, and is a great place to casually enjoy cooking in the great outdoors. Most people in Tokyo live in small apartments and don’t have room for a barbecue. No problem, you can show up empty-handed—no ingredients, no equipment, nothing!  You can rent everything and buy platters of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles.  Pets are also allowed and the ground rents out chairs and tables, too. There is a large common area where you can clean everything up.

 

At this point we were on our way back to the entrance of the park. There were plenty of people getting their picture taken. I also took advantage of the opportunity.

There were a lot of dogs in the park. A couple of young women were trying to get their dressed up dogs to pose for photos. It took a while but they finally did.

There were a  lot of dogs in the park, many of them dressed up in clothes. It was strange, but a lot of dogs were being wheeled around in baby carriages or strollers. In fact, more dogs than kids were in baby carriages. There must be some regulation that animals have to be in carriers on public transportation because I noticed people putting their pets in cardboard carrying cases as they were leaving the park.

It was getting late in the afternoon when we were leaving the park. There was some nice light on the trees.

As I mentioned at the top of the blog there seemed to be an outdoor activities fair going on just outside the park.

The Scouts were in the process of taking down their display as we walked past.

The had a large number of hiking sticks available to try out and were providing demonstrations on their proper use.

Bikes were available for kids to try their skills.

How to chop wood was being demonstrated.

There were a variety of tents for people to look at and try out.

I captured this fellow running loose in the park.

On the way back to Tachikawa we encountered this singing group along the main street.

The police were still working hard at the intersection where we found them early in the morning.

We noticed a British restaurant called the HUB when we were walking around earlier in the day. Fish and chips sounded good so we went back for a bite to eat before returning to Shinjuku. The place was just opening when we arrived. Many places allow smoking in restaurants so we ate fast since the smoking area was starting to fill up. We were chastised by our son and his girlfriend for going to such a shady place. We couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Nevertheless the fish and chips was good

It was almost dark when we departed the Tachikawa Train Station on our way back to Shinjuku.

When we arrived in Shinjuku we wandered around the station looking at the lights before heading back to our hotel.

 

 

 

This turned out to be one of our strangest days in Tokyo. We had decided to visit Mount Fuji so we made an early morning trip down to the JR ticket office at Shinjuku Station to aquire tickets.

The internet seemed to suggest that we could go all the way on the JR Line but when we arrived we discovered this wasn’t the case. We had to take the JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki. At Otsuki we would stay on the same train but have to purchase another ticket to reach Kawaguchiko. After all of this discussion we discovered the train was sold out. We decided to reserve tickets for a couple of days later.

Our Backup plan was to take the train to Mount Mitake. We would take the JR Chuo Line to Ome Station then transfer to another JR train to Mitake Station. We found the sign for the JR Chuo Line and headed down to the platform. When we reached the platform the train was already there. My wife got on but before I could get on the doors closed. My wife turned around the discovered that I was still on the platform as the train pulled. She had this horrified look which I wish I could have captured on the camera. The last thing I saw was that she mouthed “stay there”. So I did.

I should point out that when we travel we both have Verizon phones and for $10 per day each we could have access to our phones. Since this is a bit pricy my wife usually purchases a local SIM card for her phone and we use it for navigation. In this case she was using Japan Navitime to map our train travel. My phone was not turned on.

I waited and waited for her to return. After an hour of waiting for her to return I begin to feel like Hachiko the dog at Shibuya Station. I decided to turn my phone on but didn’t have a signal so I went outside the station by the JR Ticket Office. Now what? I couldn’t call my wife because she only had internet access and no phone number. I did remember something about Facebook Messenger but where to find it on my phone? You’ve probably guessed that I don’t use my phone very often. I started poking around and the next thing I know I was on a video chat with her. How that happened I have no idea since I’ve never used video chat. Turns out she was on a train to Ome and couldn’t talk so she said she would get off the train and text me. She did get off of the train and I received a text that she was on her way back to Shinjuku Station and it would take about a half an hour

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

I decided to wander around the area outside of Shinjuku Station.

I’m not sure if this person was homeless or just taking a morning break. One thing we did not see were people sleeping on the streets and beggars. Apparently Tokyo has a very small homeless problem.

During my walks I kept getting updates, from my wife, on Facebook Messanger. Turns out there were problems on the train line and what she thought would be a half hour turned into over an hour.

We finally met up outside the JR Ticket Office at Shinjuku Station where I got to hear her version of events. It seems that when the train was leaving me behind she first mouthed that I should go to Ome then mouthed stay there. I only saw the latter. She got off at the next station and returned to Shinjuku Station and claimed to have searched the platform for me. Since I have a habit of not standing in one place and wandering off she thought that I had done that. Then she thought that since she had told me to go to Ome that I had gotten on the train to Ome so she got on the next train to Ome. The only thing we could figure out was that when she returned to Shinjuku Station she went to the wrong platform or platform entrance. At any rate we came up with a new plan should we get seperated. It involved me turning on my phone.

We should have probably been a little better organized regarding a separation plan. This is the third time it has happened. In 2015 I got on a gondola and left her behind and this spring we were leaving Ellis Island and they slammed the gate in my face, leaving my wife on the boat and me waiting for the next ferry.

Since we had already wasted more than half the morning we started looking for something to do in the area. We found this wonderful park near the station called Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The park even had a Chrysanthemum exhibit taking place.

Near a little pond area there were a number of painters at work.

There was an extensive Chrysanthemum exhibit in the park. It is truly impressive what the Japanese can do with Chrysanthemums.

Not only was there an exhibit but there were Chrysanthemums planted throughout the park.

We encountered the ever present hungry fish looking for a handout.

This was a very beautiful park.

We walked through an area with some beautiful backlit trees. Some of the leaves were just starting to turn color.

We found the rose garden at one end of the park. There were still a few roses blooming in mid November.

A little fruther on we ran across a group of school children on an outing. We watched as the started gathering leaves to toss at one another. Soon they turned on their teachers and started chasing them with leaves.

We walked past a section of the park with a bridge and a nice pond.

There was an expansive area of green space which on a weekend would be packed with people.

As I mentioned at the start of the blog this was a rather bazaar day. We noticed a greenhouse along the trail and decided to take a look inside. I took a few photos of some flowers and started following the walkway when I noticed a lime growing on a tree. I realized that I had seen the same lime on our first day in Japan when Carla and Justin took us to a park. It turns out that this was the same park. When we entered the park we turned right instead of left and entered a section of the park we hadn’t visited before. Until we reached the greenhouse we were coming from a different direction so everything looked different.

After we visited the botanical garden display we headed back to our hotel.

 

 

On day 5 we decided to visit the Tsukiji Outer Market. When we arrived we had trouble finding the market because our Google Maps didn’t seem to be working. We finally stopped at a police station and asked for directions. As it turned the market was just down the street from where we got off of the subway. we finally spotted it on a corner.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

We arrived about 8:30am and wandered around the market for an hour and a half. Unfortunately we ate a big breakfast before we arrived at the market. We won’t make that mistake again since there was a lot to eat. At the state fairs in the Midwest you can find almost everything on a stick. The Outer Market was very similar in that respect. One can find eggs, fruit, beef, vegetables and eel on a stick. The egg omelet on a stick was the most interesting item for me.

 

   

We saw this statue out in front of several stores and assumed it was a chain something like Big Boy in the Midwest.

There was all sorts of seafood available but as mid westerners we are not too adventuresome in our eating habits.

My wife wanted to try something so she tried these.

As we were walking away from the Market we noticed a big building behind some other buildings so we walked over to find out what it was. Turns out it was the Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple.The temple was open and we were able to go in and take a few photos. It appeared that there was going to be a service performed.

The site also houses the Mausoleum for the Ashes of Japanese Deceased in Taiwan. Their story is described below. There are also several other memorials in the same area.

We then decided to take the subway over to the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple complex in Asakusa. These are a few street scenes from the walk over to Sensō-ji.

We walked around the temple complex. There were quite a few people around even on a weekday.

There are quite a few pagodas and statues in the area. The red bibs and hats are to ward off evil.

There were quite a few people dressed in native costumes. They were likely rented since there were a number of costume rental stores in the area.

After touring around the temple area we walked over to the mall and found a McDonalds where we had coffee and ice cream. Portions are considerably smaller than in the U.S. On the other hand you don’t see many obese people walking around.

After lunch we decided to take the subway to Rikugien Gardens. We found it with ease but the gate we approached was locked so we had to walk all of the way around the park to find an entrance that was open. This was something that we encountered several times. Apparently all of the entrances are only open on a special days. The wait was worth it.  Rikugien Gardens is a relatively small but very beautiful park. It was midday  and there was some nice light. It is easy to forget that all of the parks in Tokyo are in the middle of a huge metropolis.

There were some nice backlit leave photos in the park.

It had been a long day so we headed back to our hotel.

We caught an early train to Mount Takao. It was nice to ride a train that wasn’t all that crowded since we were going out almost everyone else was coming into to Tokyo. It was a beautiful day and on the hike to the top we had some spectacular views of Tokyo and the surrounding area.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

On the way up we passed a number of small shrines.

Carla had mentioned that the trail was flat. We took that to mean that there was not much of an elevation gain. What she meant was that the trail was level. I was recovering from an Achilles tendon injury and when I saw that the trail was very steep I was wondering if I could make it up. As it turned out we were walking on a road that employees and deliver people used to reach the top on the mountain. It consisted on many switchbacks and some of the turns were so sharp that trucks needed a pull out so they could back around to make the turn. The road was cement with rocks embedded to provide traction on the steep grade.

The large exposed tree roots made a nice place to sit and rest during the long slog to the top. These cedars are several hundred years old and can be seen all along the trail. I should mention that there is a cable car and chair lift that goes part way up the mountain but we decided to walk the entire way.

Just past the cable car platform we found a few shops offering food. We had seen Dangos a few days earlier but didn’t know what they were. This shop had a good explanation so we stopped to give them a try. On the way down we stopped for some ice cream.

The trail to Yakuoin Temple was crowded from the cable car dock on to the top of the mountain. Even though it was a weekday there were a lot of people out hiking.

There were a number of small shrines and an observation deck before reaching Yakuoin Temple.

There was the main Temple and a number of smaller shrines.

The Temple was adorned with beautiful artwork and carvings.

There was artwork and statutes along the trail.

As we continued to the top of Mount Takao we could see a few fall colors and had a nice view of Tokyo.

It only took us a couple of hours to reach the top. This included many stops for photos and a bite to eat. From the top we had a spectacular view of Mount Fuji.

While we were at the top several groups of school children appeared from one of the trails. I was interesting that each group had on different colored hats.

The trip down didn’t take long although it is tough constantly walking down hill. We noticed several places where workers were repairing damages from from the October typhoon. The other thing we noticed was how clean the trail and the grounds were. We only spotted one small piece of paper on the ground. This was amazing given the number of people walking on the mountain. There were many vending machines providing food and drinks along the way. Not a single plastic bottle could be found along the trail. You purchase it you carry it out and there are no recycling bins or garbage bins to be found. If only the people in the U.S. weren’t such slobs and disrespectful of nature.

We were back in Tokyo by early afternoon a decided to see if we could find National Stadium which will be the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It took a while but we finally found it. It was so large that it was difficult to get a photo of it.


From the stadium we took the train back Harajuku Station and took a walk down Takeshita Street.  Tekeshita Street is a pedestrian shopping street lined with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants and is very popular with the young people. We had been there a couple of days before but it was a weekend and was very crowded. We encountered a McDonalds so we stopped for some coffee and ice cream. As you can see it was still crowded but at least we could walk down it. The light was fading so we worked our way back to our hotel and called it a day.

We woke up at sunrise and had a bite to eat in our room. There is a grocery store a short walk from the hotel so we stopped the evening before and stocked up on some supplies for breakfast. We were out the door early to catch the trains to Harajuku Station  which was next to the Meiji Shrine complex. When we arrived it was mid morning and there were already quite a few people at the Meiji Jingu First Torii gate entrance. I noticed several cars with diplomatic plates and flags entering the park when we arrived. I wondered what was going on?

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

As we walked along the main path we could hear drums so we walked over to a restaurant area (bathroom) to see what was going on. There was a plaza where traditional drummers were performing.

Continuing on we encountered wine barrels from the Provenance of the Bourgogne which was consecrated at Meji Jingu. We also encountered barrels of sake wrapped in straw. Apparently these barrels are offered every year to the enshrined deities by the Sake Brewers Association.

As we neared the Second Torii gate we notice policemen directing people to the side of the path. Something was up but we didn’t know what. We soon noticed that a Shinto ceremony was underway as the Kannushi were walking from their headquarters in the shrine complex. We watched the procession pass before we were allowed to continue on.

After passing through the Second Torii gate we encountered a beautiful display of chrysanthemums. We were amazed at what the Japanese can do with mums. the display included a large display of bonsai mums. At home we are used to purchasing a pot of mums to put out in the fall but we have never seen anything like what we found in Japan. As it turned out this was mum season and we encountered mum exhibits throughout Tokyo.

When we arrived at the main Meiji Shrine complex we discovered what was going on. We lucked out and timed our visit on the day of the Grand Shinto Ceremony commemorating the anniversary of Emperor Meiji’s birthday on November 3. This is why there were so many people in the park and the large number of displays and activities. we were able to see the procession of Kannushi enter the main shrine.

We followed the procession into the main shrine where the ceremony was taking place.

There were a group of what appeared to be soldiers marching toward the ceremony.

There were also quite a few people wearing traditional costumes for the ceremony. We took advantage of them posing for photographs.

We were able to look into the area where the ceremony was taking place but could not take any photos. The place was filled with dignitaries. As we walked away from the shrine I notice many diplomatic cars were parked along the road. I didn’t see the U.S. car.

We could hear sounds from another part of the park so we walked over to see what was going on. I should note that the Meiji Shrine complex is huge and is surrounded by a number of parks. When we arrived in the area we found a variety of activities taking place. Men and women were dressed in traditional costumes.

A nationwide archery tournament was being held.

Yabusame or horseback archery was being held by the Equestrian Archery Association.

Traditional martial arts were being demonstrated.

In another area there were agricultural displays of flowers and vegetables.

There were several stages where traditional Japanese music was being performed.

As we were leaving the area we noticed a number of men in a smoking area. As it turns out Tokyo is trying to crack down on smoking. When we were in Japan 5 years ago we encountered a lot of smokers. This time we saw very few smokers and we did see that smoking stations throughout the city were being used. Sometimes there were long lines to get into them.

As we were leaving the shrine area we once again encountered the Kannushi returning to their headquarters.

It was noon when we exited the park. There were a lot more people around many of the dressed in traditional costumes.

When we returned to Harajuku Station we considered walking down Takeshita Street. However, we reconsidered once we saw how packed it was.

We then took a train to Tokyo Station because we wanted to check out the station and also walk through the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

We exited the East Gardens and walked through Wadakura Fountain Park Chiyoda City on our way back to Tokyo Station. It was beginning to look like rain so we didn’t stay long.

I took a panarama of the station. The last time we were in Tokyo the station was undergoing major construction and we were never able to get a good view of it. They also had a clock in front of the station counting down to the 2020 Olympics.Tokyo station is a city onto itself. I was easy to get lost wandering around the station. I only wish we had spent more time exploring.

Since it looked like rain we were trying to figure out where we could go and be inside. One of the strange traditions we have is that we visit the IKEA store when we go to a town. Since IKEA was an easy train ride from Tokyo station we decided to use this opportunity for a visit. I had my favorite meal. Checking out of the food line was a strange experience. My wife has a membership and we were asking for free coffee. However, the young lady checking us out apparently didn’t understand English. I’ve never heard anyone speak so fast in my life. It reminded me of a auctioneer in the states. We never did get our free coffee.

 

Justin had to work during the week so Linda and I spent our time traveling around the area and sightseeing in Kobe. On Friday evening we met Justin at the train station and took a high speed train to Tokyo for the weekend. As usual we arrived after dark and were wandering around Tokyo looking for our Airbnb in the dark. We had a large roomy apartment for our two nights in Tokyo.

The next morning we met a friend of Justin’s who teaches English in Tokyo and they gave us a walking tour of Tokyo.

When we exited the train we saw the statue of Hachiko. This is a dog that always met his master at Shibuya Station at the end of the day. One day his master died and never returned. For the next ten years Hachiko returned to the station every day to meet the train.

Hachiko-Statue-Toyko-Japan-15-9-_2277

This is the famous Shibuya Street that is always shown on TV. Everyone in the group was surprised because it was not crowded. We walked around shopping then started looking for a place for lunch. Our tour guides took us to Denny’s.

Shibuya-Crossing-Tokyo-Japan--15-9-_2283

Tour Guides

Tour Guides

After lunch we walked over to Zojoji Temple and Toyko Tower. The view of Toyko was spectacular.

Zojoji-Temple-and-Toyko-Tower-Toyko-Japan-15-9-_2297

Toyko-Skyline-from-Toyko-Tower--15-9-_2310

Late in the afternoon we ended up at Thunder Gate and Nakamise-dōri.

Sensō-ji-Temple

Sensō-ji-Temple

It was early in the evening when we ended up at Takeshia Street in the Harajuku Shopping District. We stopped for some of the famous crepes.

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It was a long day. We had to laugh because the kids though we were going to die after such a long day. I suspect Linda and I were doing better than they were.

The next morning we took the train to Tokyo Station where we would depart later in the day for our return trip to Kobe. We spent the morning walking around the grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of bikers and runners on the streets. The streets were closed to traffic.

Toyko Station

Toyko Station

Tokyo-Imperial-Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace Grounds

Tokyo Imperial Palace Grounds

We started looking for places for lunch but found we were in the ritzy part of town and the prices were out of our league so we walked back to Tokyo Station for lunch. I was amazed at the size of the station and the number of places to eat. It was easy to get lost.

Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station

This was my lunch. Apparently Linda found some snails in the bottom of the soup but decide it was best not to tell me.

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Mid afternoon we caught the high speed train for Kobe. We were waiting on the platform when the train arrived. The cleaning crew (in pink) was waiting to board the train. They looked like a tornado going through the cars. When they were finished the all stood outside the cars while a supervisor inspected their work.

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