Let me start by saying that we chose the wrong time with the worst weather (typhoon) to visit Japan, but even with the wrong lighting from the sky, Japan was mesmerizing, so beautiful and vivid.
We rented a cute narrow apartment (Airbnb) in Tokyo in the Ueno Park area, which temples and shrines we also visited.
Ueno Park is more of a community park than a tourist attraction, therefore it feels more ‘real’ than any other visit in Tokyo since it is kept by the locals and inside the multiples temples and shrines, religious ceremonies were celebrated.
Next on our schedule was a visit to the Tokyo Skytree, which offers an amazing view of the city, unless you are visiting on a rainy and foggy day, which was our case. In the lobby, they have several screens where you can have a preview of how the city view is from the top, which was great so we avoided paying the fare to go all the way to the top and then see nothing.
In the area, we entered the Solamachi Mall right in front of the Skytree, where we ate Monjayaki (a must try) at the Daruma Restaurant. Monjayaki is a dish consisting of a mixture of a watery batter and finely chopped leafy veggies and seafood or meat. See a time-lapse video below:
Right after lunch, we went to visit the Senso-Ji Temple, an area with multiple local stores and local food stands tasty enough to make you keep exploring the area for hours. Senso-ji area holds the oldest temple in Tokyo, from 628 ac, a 5 story outstanding pagoda and it’s surrounded by gardens and smaller shrines.
Inside the main Temple, there is many offerings, prayers, and wishes you can do. One of this ‘rituals’ required to make a wish while shaking a metal box containing wooden sticks, when one stick popped out of the box, we read the Japanese symbol on it and had to open the small container with the same symbol. Inside there was a paper explaining if your wish will come true or not. If It was positive, you are supposed to keep the paper, if it’s negative, you are supposed to make a knot and hang it, to make the gods ‘reconsider’.
After not being able to get a view of the city from the Skytree, we decided to check out Tokyo Tower. The view from of Tokyo illuminated was very pretty, but the view of the tower itself was amazing.
To finish the day we visited the life-sized Unicorn Gundam Statue.
It’s an 18 meters tall statue representing a manga novel (and then anime) robot character, very popular between the Japanese audience, and also my group of friends.
This is located at the Diversity Tokyo Plaza in the artificial island of Odaiba, Tokyo.
We started the day visiting Meiji Jingu Shrine. A sacred place dedicated to Emperor Meiji, accessed through huge wooden torii gates and surrounded by the Yoyogi Park, including a large lake.
We were lucky to visit the temple while a special ceremony was taken place. Many Japanese people bring dolls or stuffed animals for a ritual performed for good prosperity for their children and relatives. There were thousands of dolls when we visited.
After our visit, we moved downtown, to a more Financial looking area to visit the Imperial Palace, which we couldn’t enter since it closes its gates at around 4pm. Then we proceed to the national art center area with many interactive displays inside and outside the galleries.
At night, we visited the famous Shibuya Crossing. A massively wide crossroad with many people crossing, very far from getting messy. We had dinner with a view of the crossing at the D47 Shokudo restaurant in the Shibuya Hikarie Retail Complex.
*Extra Recommendation: Check out the nightlife in the Roppongi area.
Hope you guys liked the post. Make sure to check in next week for more posts about Japan.