I should preface this post by letting you know our overall travel philosophy. Tokyo is obviously a huge city and this is quite possibly the only time we will ever travel there in our lives. That might lead you to believe that it's necessary to rush from site to site in order to capture everything in one short week. Well our philosophy on travel is the exact opposite. There aren't any elaborate itineraries planned way in advance. There are no pre booked tours or private tour guides and such. We have an idea of what we'd like to see (I read up on each city pretty extensively prior to our trips) and once we get there we go with the flow, depending on how we feel and what the weather's doing. We want for our daughter to grow up with an appreciation for and fascination with the great big world around her, hence we treat each new place that we visit as an adventure. No alarm clocks and no tight schedules, we basically get up and go, wherever the wind, our feet and/or public transportation takes us. We'll pop into fun stores that we don't have at home, stroll through parks and play on the playground, bypassing long museum and 'tourist site' lines each and every time.
That being said, we saw lots of great sites in Tokyo but we didn't come close to even scratching the surface. We did, however, feel that by taking things slowly we were able to absorb the culture by watching the people and soaking up our surroundings.
Built in 1958 it is really just a big antenna which is painted bright white and orange to comply with air safety regulations. Tokyo Tower is 33 meters taller than the eiffel tower , but 3,300 tons lighter! There are two observation decks but we opted NOT to visit. Something about the 3,300 tons lighter than the eiffel AND in a city prone to many small earthquakes per day made our vote to enjoy her from the ground unanimous.
Can you see us in the bottom of the above picture? Hubby was lying on the pavement to get this pic and we were standing up on a big concrete bench just across the street from the tower.
The oldest temple in Japan, originally built in 645, but damaged during WWII and rebuilt.
Senso ji came into being after two fisherman came across a statue of Bodhisattva Kannon in the water (see image below). The statue was brought back to Asakusa and this temple was built around it.
Interesting info about Kannon, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Amongst the many Buddhas, Bodhisattva Kannon is known as the most compassionate, relieving beings of their suffering and responding to prayers with great benevolence.
This Bodhisattva Kannon, the principle image of Senso-ji, has been an unparalleled source of benefits and miracles, saving and protecting countless people over the course of the 1,400 years since its appearance in the world.
The way of devotion to Bodhisattva Kannon can be described as emulating the compassionate mind of this bodhisattva in our day to day lives, treating everyone we encounter with kindness.
You can see the smoke billowing away from the large cauldron of incense just in front of the main temple. People believe that to let the smoke from the incense permeate your clothes and body that you will have good luck for the next year.
In this image you have a corner of the oldest temple in Japan, along with the newest and tallest structure in the distance ~ Sky Tree. Sky Tree is the tallest tower in the world and it just opened to the public 2 weeks before our arrival in Tokyo.
The temple detail with the pagoda just behind.
A large woven buddha sandal with us standing below to show you the scale.
The shops leading up to/away from the temple.
My favorite part of the Asakusa area was this little strip of shops and restaurants. I loved the storefronts and signage in this area.
Just across the street from our hotel sits this lovely park. Right on the perimeter of the palace grounds. We took a leisurely stroll through the gardens here one morning. Such serenity in the midst of a bustling metropolis!
The above ground train that ran near our hotel. In my food post I explained that many casual but great restaurants are located underneath these trains in the Ginza district.
Packed with people but great people watching and fun little shops.
The man-made beach directly across from the city. We walked over to the island along rainbow bridge (more pics here).
The memorial wall to the beloved pooch Hachiko. Back in the 1930s, Hachiko greeted his owner here at the busy Shibuya station each evening to walk home together. Until one day his owner died suddenly while at work and never returned home via the station where Hachiko was eagerly waiting. Every day for the next nine years Hackiko waited at the station for his owner to return. Passersby fed him and gave him plenty of love until he too passed away and finally joined his owner up in heaven. There is a Hachiko sculpture near the station but we weren't able to find it, but seeing this memorial wall made me happy.
Rice fields as seen from the train heading to/from Narita airport.
Next up, the Tokyo zoo!
Happy Friday all.