24 May 2009

Japan - Nikko and Tokyo

The final stop on our tour of Japan was Tokyo.....an amazing city, full of vitality (and people) and a great place to end the trip.  We had 4 nights, 3 days in the city, which is definitely not enough. Enough to make me realise I definitely want to go back.

Our first day we still had a Japanese Rail Pass (a must for any tourist who wants to go travelling around in Japan) so we had to decide what to do. Some headed off to see if they could get a view of Mount Fuji whilst a few of us headed to the town of Nikko to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Shrines and Temples of Nikko. It is about 1.5 hours north of Tokyo on the shinkansen and then a local train to the station in Nikko which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

The shrines and temples are linked to the Tokugawa Shogunate. There are about 11 shrines and temples built amongst the forest, one being the mausoleum for Togukawa Ieyasu and another for his grandson Togukawa Iemitsu. The colours and architecture were amazing, every corner you turned there was another 5 story pagoda, the  drum towers, the bell towers, the stables.....all intricately carved and painted.

Togukawa Ieyasu's shrine, built in the 17th century took 15000 workers 2 years to complete and it is easy to see why. 

When we got back to Tokyo I took the train to Shinjuku (the world's busiest train station) so I could go and search out Odakaya, the one craft shop I was going to allow myself to visit (but more of that in another post!)

The final 2 days of our trip were for Tokyo. Tokyo during the day Tokyo at night, hanami parties under the cherry (sakura) blossom, department store foodhalls, museums, shopping.....2 days was way too short.

We had a guided tour of Tokyo the first day, we went to :

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices

Senso-ji Temple

Ginza by Night

We had been impressed by the blossom we had seen in Kyoto, but it was nothing compared to that in Shinjuku-Gyoen Park - breath-taking!

Blossom in Kyoto, Nara, Shinjuku-Gyoen Park, Ueno Park

Blossom in Shinjuku-Gyoen Park

Our last day in Tokyo, a few of us got up early to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market. I had heard that it was a must see sight and I wasn't disappointed (even though we didn't get up early enough to see the tuna auction). It was huge, alley after alley of stalls, with every type of fish imaginable and then some, motorised vehicles to carry the boxes dashing here and there not really caring if you got in the way. 

After a quick breakfast (I didn't fancy sushi at 8am)  I spent the day just wandering the city, visiting Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum, the Detached Imperial Gardens and Akihabara, doing some shopping etc. 

Mitsukoshi Department Store

Manga in Akihabara

Detached Palace Gardens

Ginza Crossing


Thimbleanna said...

Your pictures are beautiful Di! What a fantastic trip. Do you speak Japanese? If not, was it hard to get around as an English-speaker?

jane said...

hi di! thanks for visiting. i´ll add your link to the list. can´t wait to se more from your corner. besos!-jane

Manoute said...

It looks amazing. Beautiful pictures :o)

Bethany Hissong said...

I have to show Caroline your post... she's SO into Manga right now. And I think I could eat sushi in the morning! It's an addiction!!! ;) Beautiful, beautiful photos!!!

ticklishfromadistance said...

Great post!!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Hi Di,
Thanks for blog comment...so happy to have now discovered your lovely blog. I have a special fondness for felt and Japan (lived there on two seperate occasions). So wonderful that you were able to visit during Cherry Blossom season. Beautiful pics. Look forward to following you on more of your adventures.

shisomama said...

ack, sooo jealous!! looks like you went at a perfect time to see the cherry blossoms. i, myself, would've eaten the sushi at 8am. i wish you showed us some of the food you ate, and more crafty stuff!