Wednesday, 25 August 2010


On the last full day of our time in Japan, we had the pleasure of making a short day-trip into Tokyo. A couple in the Ostlers' cong had heard we hadn't really enough money to spare for the capital, so they kindly gave us far more than enough for the train, the tube day ticket, something for lunch and for the Happi-coats (wraps) that we got for Martin and my mum (who'd been asking for one for a couple of years, not realising they came from Japan and not Taiwan).

Our first stop, conveniently located on the Tsukuba Express line, was Asakusa where there's this large temple and a fairly long arcade of tourist souvenir shops. I'm not really keen on temples etc (for obvious reasons), but I don't mind seeing the odd one here and there. This was the outer 'gate'.

And here is the inner, where you can see the text on the back of the large central lamp.

This well-known five layer pagoda is also inside the temple area. I don't know if the temple is Shinto or Buddhist, or a mixture of both. If anyone else is more clued up, please tell! If it were Chinese, I'd be almost certain it would be a mixture (of Buddhist and Dao-ist) as the Chinese are apt to hedge their bets in case they miss any god out.=)

And this is the temple itself. Given the absence of Shinto 'gate' shrines, I'm inclined to think the whole affair is Buddhist, but I'm no expert.

These are some of the lovely hangings and pictures for sale in the tourist markets. I heard a lot of Chinese spoken in there, so this is somewhere I expect Tokyo Chinese congregation works fairly frequently. It was the Chinese convention that weekend, so we didn't see anyone.

We were intrigued by this sign, which in Chinese reads 'Get off your horse' (the larger characters on the right). As the left-hand portion seems to be saying that vehicles are prohibited, we assumed it was a 'dismount' sign of some sort.

In the afternoon we took ourselves off to one of the major Tokyo shopping areas, Shinjuku.

Here are a trio of attractive shoppers!

But we thought this display, in the window of the Tokyo textile craft emporium, Okadaya, was taking it a bit far! Sort of Japan meets Scotland in a safari park!!

These are the Tokyo city government buildings...

...from the 45th floor of which you can get free panoramic views of the city.

I thought this was an amazing sight - seeing Tokyo like this. Bearing in mind that, as I said in my Kyoto post below, most of the city was flattened during WWII, this vast, modern metropolis has sprung up in only 65 years! A fascinating insight into the amazing Japanese psyche and their absoloute determination to recover. We will re-emerge!


  1. Thanks for sharing your views of the city - looks fabulous. We found out last week that we may be able to break our flight to New Zealand in Tokyo, for no extra charge, so we may be there before too long! It sounds like a fascinating city.

  2. In general, Buddhism - Temples - Monks go together in the same way that Shinto - Shrines - Priests go together. Shinto Shrines are shown on maps with a Tori (sp? those gate thingies), and the Buddhist Temples are often shown with a reverse swastika.