Our first day in Tokyo, Junko and I did an afternoon in the city and an evening at the Tokyo Tower. 

Zojoji Family Temple of Tokugawa shogunate [above] and Jizobosatsu [below]

Jizo Bosatsu: protector of children, expectant mothers, deceased children, including miscarried, aborted or stillborn infants.

Tokugawa Mausoleum tombs' gate


View of Zojoji Temple from Tokyo tower


Tokyo Tower by day, dusk and night

Rainbow Bridge by day and by night [above and below] from Tokyo Tower


Another day with Junko was an urban Tokyo experience. We had breakfast in a subway station with coffee and French croissants, we took crowded subway trains, visited Ginza shops, had dinner on the top floor of a high-rise and in between had time to do cherry blossom viewings in various spots.






A visit to Asakusa and the Sensoji Temple

The path leading to the temple is a bustling market place, and a tchotchke heaven for visitors - domestic or foreign alike.



Water buckets [for firefighting?] and vase [above] & Nitenmon Gate [below]

Nitenmon Gate, constructed in 1618 was the gate of Toshogu Shrine which was destroyed by the fire in 1642. This gate was the only structure that survived.

Below: Asakusa Jinja - a shrine dedicated to the fishermen who found the Kannon statue.


A visit to Ueno Park where the inhabitants of Tokyo celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival, gathering on tarps for picnics and buying food from the cleanest street vendors I have ever seen, and overall enjoy the arrival of spring.

Toshogu Shrine  where Ieyasu [founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate] was enshrined before being moved to Nikko.


Imperial Palace and its grounds 

The walls and the gate of the imperial gardens


Tokagakudo Music Hall [below], in the Imperial Palace grounds, did not much impress me.  What am I missing?

A glimpse of the Palace [below]


.... And in the evening Mari and Yoshiaki invited us to a lovely Japanese dinner, which was slightly westernized with some good champagne!!  ... and where I learnt how to make an authentic sushi - Well,  OK almost learnt...

The artificial island of Odaiba: It is famous for the view of the Rainbow Bridge, the Fuji TV channel building and a replica of Lady Liberty


Took a boat ride back to the city


Hamarikyu Gardens

 62 acre summer retreat for the shoguns and their families, opened to the public in 1946.

Trivia: Once US president Ulysses S, Grant stayed in a villa on the grounds.


From left above: A hunting shelter for shoguns, skyline of modern Tokyo and the 300 year old tree supported by wooden posts

Tsukiji Fish Market 


 Namiyoki (protection against waves) Inari (the Shinto God) Shrine 

Located very close to the fish market it is a small multipurpose shrine:  People visit to pray for safety during voyages, to thank for the sea for food received and pray for the souls of all sea creatures. 


Eggs, shrimps, squids and fish are memorialized with these statues. 

Foxes have been part of shrines for centuries and though discouraged by Shinto priests they represent Inari. 

Meiji Shrine

Covering a huge forested area and it is the biggest and the most important Shinto Shrine in Tokyo.  Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken are enshrined here. This man made forest started with 100,000 trees and as many volunteers.

Main Gate


Donations to the shrine include Saki from the Japanese and wine from the Bourgogne - Burgundy region. [above] 


Husband and wife [above]  -  Planted in 1920 the two trees symbolize love, marriage and family.  They are considered sacred and were grown under the protection of deities.  A very popular site for weddings.

The rope [shimenawa] is often made of rice straw and the zig zag shaped paper streamers [shide] hanging from them are used in shinto rituals for blessings and purify people.  When shide are attached to it the shimenawa marks the boundary between sacred and profane.   

And as always prayers and wishes abundant.

 ... and last but not least :  The Japanese Downton Abbey!




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