Tokyo Travel Blog

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We had a bit of a sleep in and then got ready to go out and start exploring Tokyo. Noriko walked us out to the main street and told us how to get to Sangenjaa subway station. It was quite close to their house. When we got there there were so many people and we didn't know how to use the ticket machines. All the instructions were in Japanese. We must have looked very lost and an American guy told us how to buy a ticket.
We were going to Asakusa which is right on the other side of Tokyo. We had to first catch one train to Shibuya and then change trains to get on another line (Ginza line) to get to Asakusa. Once we had a ticket it was fine. The subway lines are all colour coded and for the most part written in Japanese and English.

When we got to Asakusa, we walked though some of the market streets and found the Sensoji Temple. It is a large Buddhist temple which has bee nrebuilt several times.
It supposedly enshrines a golded image of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess or mercy that apparently 2 fisherman fished out of the nearby river. You can't see the image though.

The temple is surrounded by streets of markets and the area isn't as hi-tech as other places like Shibuya or Shinjuku. The Lonely Planet describes the area as 'bawdy'.
The temple grounds are nice, though busy with many people taking a break to say a prayer.The buy a candle to light and place them in special cabinets. Others buy a fortune which involves shaking a container of sticks which are numbered and pulling one out. The numbers on the sticks corresponds to little drawer which contain sheets with your fortune on them.
Some are good, some spell bad luck ahead. If it is bad luck, its ok - the Japaense simply tie the pieces of paper to the branches of nearby trees where the wind dispenses their effects.
There were also big cauldrons with incense burning. People direct the smoke towards themselves for good health. If any areas of the body are troubling you, you pay particular attention to the,.

After visiting the temple we strolled through the surrounding markets. Ther are quite popular for rice crackers which are made in front of you. Some of the better vendors have a huge line up.
We decided to go to Ueno park after that but instead of catching the subway we walked. We went past many small shops and eating places. When we got to Ueno we got some lunch at a Western style bakery called 'Andersens' and took it to nearby Ueno part to eat.

Ueno is a huge park in the centre of a very busy city. It contains temples, museums, and a zoo. THe avenues are lined with Cherry Blossom trees which although they were bare when we visited, flower in spring for about a week. When they are in flower there are many cherry blossom viewing parties where groups grab a spot underneath the trees, drink sake, sing karaoke and just have a good old time.
There are a few temples which we had a look at, and a very large pond where you can hire paddle boats, row boats or some very strange swan boats. The pond had a lot of very fat, healthy looking ducks. One variety we nicknamed hte 'devil ducks'. They were very freaky lookingwith piercing yellow eyes.

After that we went back to Ueno station and caught the subway back to Sangenjaya.
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photo by: maka77