If you haven’t seen Part One of my time in Tokyo, you can read the previous post on it here. Otherwise, we’re continuing with the second part of my stay in Japan’s bustling capital!
We had a busy day ahead of us the following morning after having arrived in Tokyo just the afternoon before. Our first stop of the day was at the Imperial Palace, which used to be Edo Castle back in the day. It houses the Imperial family, and other than during twice a year (for New Year’s and the Emperor’s birthday) are the inner parts of the palace opened to the public. As we were visiting on neither of those dates, we could not enter any of the buildings. Instead, we took a tour around the East Gardens, which was nice, albeit a bit boring. Wasn’t bustling with a ton of people, as I believe that we had gone on a weekday. Still something to see, though!
We headed out afterwards to Asakusa, a district in Tokyo known for being an entertainment area during the Edo Period and containing the grand Buddhist temple, the Senso-ji. We spent most of our late morning-early afternoon there, visiting the temple, wandering through the touristy, shopping stalls near it, and getting lunch/snacks. I don’t remember the Japanese dish that we had for lunch, but essentially, it’s a type of hot-pot with rice and meat/vegetable toppings on it- tasty and filling.
Our time in Asakusa was essentially spent eating and buying more food to eat for later, just because everything looked so good! From the earthy, matcha-flavored ice cream to the hefty, red-bean and cream-packed taiyaki (fish-shaped cake), my mouth (and stomach!) was in total heaven. ❤
After we had enough of Asakusa and its *tempting* food, we took the bus over to the docks, where we boarded a cruise boat for a ten-minute ride along the river. Along the way, we spotted the Skytree, a broadcast/observation tower which is the tallest in the world at 634 meters (2000+ feet) and the second-tallest structure after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (of course). Once getting off the cruise, we headed towards the Skytree, got in line for a ride to the top of the building (took about an hour, I believe, as we were a tour group- individuals would have to wait, from what I’ve heard, six hours to get to the top! Beats waiting for the Eiffel Tower any day, eh?), and rode the under-one-minute elevator to the top.
The view from above was just as lovely as the one from the night before on top of another building. Everything looked so tiny from the Skytree: the buildings below looked like cubicles and the cars whizzing by on the streets appeared to be Hot Wheels toys. The skyline stretched for miles and miles…I could see the mountains far off in the background, but I couldn’t see the city borders! Tokyo just never seemed to end.
We descended back down after admiring the view and taking a few photos, heading back to the tour bus to get to Ginza, our next and final stop for the day in Tokyo. Like Shinjuku, Ginza is another very popular place for tourists, as it offers lots of high-end shopping boutiques, department stores (including the beloved UNIQLO), and restaurants. The tour guide gave us some free time to wander the district before dinnertime, and so my family and I did a short tour of it; you can bet that we went to UNIQLO and bought some clothes to bring back with us to the States!
Even though I was by no means hungry at all (too much food for lunch and snack!), I still was a good sport in eating the plenty cuts of meat during our shabu-shabu dinner that evening. It was tasty, although it was much to handle- again, that day was basically a food-filled fest!
Finally, with our stomachs full, we took the tour bus back to our hotel around 20h00, thus ending our time in Tokyo, as we were to leave the following morning for Kyoto. Overall, I enjoyed Tokyo, but wished that we could’ve had more time to explore more of the large city; I would’ve loved to take more time in Shinjuku and Ginza, as well as visit places like Shibuya. But then again, that gives me motivation to return someday, and I do hope to do so. Tokyo, you have charmed me so. ❤
Next up: Kyoto, Japan!
— The Finicky Cynic
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