On our first full day in Japan we were met by an old friend from Dundee, Naomi.....who was delighted to be showing us Tokyo....we cannot thank Naomi enough for spending her day off work with us and taking us to one of her favourite areas of the city - Yanaka. It was lovely to have a "local" to guide us around, to take the time to explain all the things we were seeing to us and to catch up with Naomi after 6 years!
Yanaka is to the north of Asakusa, one of the few areas of the city that still retains it's "Shitamachi" atmosphere, the old "low town" of the city, preserving the feeling of old Toyko. It didn't suffer damage during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and escaped bombing during World War II, meaning that many of the original buildings survive amongst the narrow streets, tiled-roofed houses and shops, interspersed with many temples.
We took the cutest little electric bus from Asakusa to Yanaka, which was made to look like it was an old fashioned bus.
Our first stop was to visit to part of the Shitamachi Museum, an old liquer store built in 1910 with its exhibits of old sake barrels, weighing scales etc. Here you can see Andrea and I in traditional Japanese jackets, and a photo of me with Naomi outside the museum...
We then visited some of the temples in the area....including the graveyards.
These are "sotoba" - wooden boards that have the names of the dead.
The torii gates on the way to one of the temples in the area.
Naomi took us to a local restaurant, that we wouldn't have dared to go in without her.....as we would have had no idea what to ask for. The restaurant (and the area) is famous for it's eel and this is what this restaurant served. We had a lovely meal of miso soup followed by rice and eel...all the while sitting next to a bag full of live eels!
Another delicacy of the season....roasted sweet potatoes, for sale at a street stall.
These are some of the lovely shop signs on the main shopping street in Yanaka...not sure what they are all selling, because I am sure the first one is not selling little girls and rabbits and the second one cherry blossom!
That evening Andrea and I went from old Tokyo to modern Tokyo...heading to Ginza and the bright lights, one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world.
Just a selection of some of the wonderful buildings in Ginza.
Oh and of course - one of my favourites....simply because of the giant sized pictures of one of Scotland's finest, James McAvoy, sporting Prada.