We spent a few days wandering around Tokyo experiencing a tiny part of their vast and complex railway system. It can be overwhelming, but despite its complexity it operates unbelievably efficiently and reliably. We marveled at the organization and cleanliness of the city. Being overawed by the crowds and amazed at the graciousness of the people.
Tsukiji Fish Market
We didn’t try to get to the auction which takes place very early, like 3am, in the morning but joined the crowds later. There was a mixture of visitors. Some commercial buyers, some people buying their weekly fish supply and many people sightseeing.
Many enjoying an early breakfast of very fresh sushi or one of the many other breakfast options available. Like most attractions in Japan it was interesting but very crowded.
We walked through the gardens which are one of the refuges from the busy city. The Hamarikyu Gardens are one of Tokyo’s oldest Japanese gardens and are open every day from 9 am.
Apart from walking around them there is not much else to do.
The best reason for coming to the Hamarikyu Gardens is that it’s a place to board the 40-minute ferry from the garden’s pier up the Sumida River to Asakusa. There are regular ferries throughout the day from the pier.
As you approach Asakusa terminal you can see the Asahi Beer Headquarters which includes the famous Phillipe Starck sculpture the “Golden Turd”. The headquarters consists of two main buildings, the one resembling a giant beer jug a with foam shaped white roof. The other shorter building in the shape of a beer glass. With the enormous golden flame (Golden Turd) shaped object perched on top.
From there we made our way to the Sensoji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon This temple was built around 600 AD, and is the oldest and most popular temple in Tokyo.
It was erected in honour of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and happiness and houses her statue. Kannon is reputed to have the power to release humans from all suffering.
However, the statue is never seen by the public?
Imperial Palace Gardens
The palace is the home of the Emperor who despite having a symbolic role is revered in Japan.
The gardens are open to the public daily except Mondays and Fridays. Entrance is free. Unfortunately we decided to visit the Palace Gardens on a Monday!
The huge range of department and luxury brand stores in Tokyo are mind boggling.
Outside many stores there are staff bowing and inviting customers to experience their shopping experience. Although for many its gasping at the range of goods … and the high prices.
Tokyo in Summary
- It's a city that should be on your bucket list.
- Tokyo is busy, crowded, clean and organised. It is an example for every major city around the world.
- It's not cheap! But it's great!