AsiaJapanTokyo

Exploring Tokyo

Tokyo Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 15 › view all entries
New Houses in the Outer Suburbs

Monday was Vernal Equinox Day (shunbun no hi), a national holiday in Japan. While the MYO musicians spent the day with their homestay families, the adult chaperones planned a day of sightseeing in Tokyo.  But first, we had an unexpected side trip to Naruto and the Chiba Prefecture countryside. (The railway clerk told us the wrong platform number for the train. Perhaps she had mixed up English numbers.) When we arrived at the end of the line, we knew we were out in the country and not in Tokyo! We stayed on the train and waited for it to return to Chiba. We found the correct train and took it to Tokyo's Hamamatsucho Station.

 

At Hamamatsucho we booked an afternnon and an evening sightseeing tour. There was time to walk around the Shiba neighborhood in Tokyo's Minato-ku district and to have lunch before the afternoon sightseeing tour departed at 13:30.

Street in Minato-ku
We walked to Shiba Park, home to Zojoji TempleZojoji Temple, established on the present site in 1598, once marked the southern entry to Edo. Notable sights on the grounds were the Sangedatsumon (Main Gate) of 1612, the Temple Bell, and Taiden or Main Hall (rebuilt in 1974 after damage in World War II). Notable too were the O-Jizou (Jizobotsatsu) statuary.

 

Our group had booked an afternoon Tokyo sightseeing tour via Hato Bus from the Hamamatsucho train/bus station. First stop was Tokyo Tower and a panoramic view of the city.

Statuary at Zojoji Temple
Next,we drove by National Diet Building or Parliament (1936), National Diet Library, and Tokyo Central Station (1914--a structure that survived the Kanto earthquake of 1926 and World War II bombings). The Imperial Palace was next. Unfortuantely, we did not get very close to Nijubashi Bridge to take the famous view of the Imperial Palace, seeing it only from afar. We did see the picturesque Shogun Gate, Police Gate, and Tsunami Gate. The next stop was Sensoji  (Asakusa Kannon Temple). This temple had also at one time marked another boundary of ancient Edo. Here we saw the Kaminari-mon (Outer Gate), Hozomon (Main Gate), Hondo (Main Hall), a Pagoda, and temple garden. Like Zojoji, Sensoji was rebuilt after World War II. Also on the grounds was Asakusa Jinjya, a Shinto shrine dating from 1649.  

 

The temple and grounds were mobbed for the holiday.

Outer Gate, Zojoji
A large incense burner was in the middle of the courtyard. Vendors lined the walk between the outer and inner temple gates. They have always been there--a postcard view I found dating from early in the 20th century prestents the scene much as it appears today. The guide explained the use of Omikuji (fortune paper slips). A worshipper makes an offering and then shakes a box until a stick falls out. The characters on the stick match those on a cubby. One then retrieves a fortune paper (Omikuji) from the cubby. The paper may have a good or bad fortune. The paper is then tied on a tree.

 

Nearby was an impressive statue of a 19th-centuy Kabuki actor 9th Danjuro Ichikawa. (The area behind Sensoji had once been a residence for  Kabuki actors.) To conclude the tour, we drove by the Kabuki-Za Theatre (1889) and Ginza. Back at Hamamatsucho station in the late afternoon, we proceeded to embark on a Tokyo by Night tour. First, we drove over Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba, a man-made island reclaimed from Tokyo Bay.

Main Hall at Zojoji Temple
We enjoyed a Japanese dinner at Washington Hotel with a nighttime view of Tokyo. I selected the beef sukiyaki. It came with Miso soup, rice balls, and green tea. Them it was on to see the Statue of Liberty replica, Panasonic Centre, and Tokyo Big Site (a convention center), all on Odaiba.

 

We drove through the Ginza district, now fully illuminated enroute to the Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills. The Mori Tower also had an observation deck with a panoramic nighttime view of Tokyo. Mori Tower display of detailed models of city planning in New York City, Tokyo, and Shanghai. The tour bus dropped us off at Shimbashi station at 10:00 p.m. We caught a Sobu Line Rapid train back to Chiba, arriving at 10:40.

Andy99 says:
It was a beautiful and sunny March day in Tokyo!
Posted on: Feb 09, 2008
jenn79 says:
P.S. what instrument do you play?
Posted on: Feb 09, 2008
jenn79 says:
Finally =) I've been seeing some blogs on tokyo and they all look so .. dreary and grey. I love the color and sun in your pictures!
Posted on: Feb 09, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
New Houses in the Outer Suburbs
New Houses in the Outer Suburbs
Street in Minato-ku
Street in Minato-ku
Statuary at Zojoji Temple
Statuary at Zojoji Temple
Outer Gate, Zojoji
Outer Gate, Zojoji
Main Hall at Zojoji Temple
Main Hall at Zojoji Temple
Temple Bell at Zojoji
Temple Bell at Zojoji
Zojoji cemetery
Zojoji cemetery
Sone Lantern and Statuary at Zojoji
Sone Lantern and Statuary at Zojoji
Zojoji statuary
Zojoji statuary
Mos Burger
Mos Burger
Shiba Daimon gateway
Shiba Daimon gateway
Tokyo Skyline from Tokyo Tower. Th…
Tokyo Skyline from Tokyo Tower. T…
Tokyo Skyline
Tokyo Skyline
Tokyo from Tokyo Tower
Tokyo from Tokyo Tower
Zojoji Grounds
Zojoji Grounds
Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba
Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba
National Diet Building
National Diet Building
National Diet Building
National Diet Building
National Diet Library (National Li…
National Diet Library (National L…
Shogun Gate, Imperial Palace
Shogun Gate, Imperial Palace
Police Gate, Imperial Palace
Police Gate, Imperial Palace
Tsunami Gate, Imperial Palace
Tsunami Gate, Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Near Tokyo Central Station
Near Tokyo Central Station
Ladies in holiday kimono await the…
Ladies in holiday kimono await th…
Kaminarimon, the outer gate at Sen…
Kaminarimon, the outer gate at Se…
Sensoji courtyard and Hozomon (inn…
Sensoji courtyard and Hozomon (in…
Main Hall at Sensoji Temple
Main Hall at Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple
Main Hall st Sensoji
Main Hall st Sensoji
Pagoda at Sensoji Temple
Pagoda at Sensoji Temple
Tranquil garden at Sensoji
Tranquil garden at Sensoji
Asakusa Jinjyia shrine
Asakusa Jinjyia shrine
Kabuki Statue
Kabuki Statue
Kabuki-za Theatre
Kabuki-za Theatre
Ginza After Dark
Ginza After Dark
National Diet Building illuminated…
National Diet Building illuminate…
Expressway from Mori Tower
Expressway from Mori Tower
Tokyo at night from Mori Tower
Tokyo at night from Mori Tower
Tokyo Tower illuminated
Tokyo Tower illuminated
Tokyo Sights & Attractions review
The view above Tokyo
Tokyo Tower is one of the famous tourist attractions in Tokyo. The 332.5m tower was built in 1958 with its design inspired by the Eiffel Tower. (Tokyo… read entire review
Tokyo Sights & Attractions review
Sightseeing via Hato Bus
When we asked the concierge at our hotel in Chiba about going over to Tokyo for the day, he recommend Hato Bus sightseeing as an option. Hato Bus is a… read entire review
Tokyo Sights & Attractions review
This popular and historic Senso-ji.
Senso-ji is said to be the most popular Buddhist temple in Tokyo and is always bustling with worshipers and visitors alike. There has been a temple on… read entire review
Tokyo
photo by: maka77