Tokyo January 09

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January 25th 2009
Published: January 25th 2009
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Well this is the first Blog of our travels. Left Heathrow in drizzle on the morning of Friday 23rd January - landed in Tokyo the next day in snow!! Widebodied jets very comfortable but inflight entertainment not working on our 2 seats (OK for everyone else!) for a couple of hours. Still all fixed and free champagne for the inconvenience - can't be bad - must carry on like that!!
Arrived at Shiba Park Hotel which is brilliant - very comfortable and luxurious compared to our usual camping hoidays.

Tokyo certainly different - only seen 8 Europeans in the whole of 2 days. All signs including menus in Japanese which makes a challenge. Anyway we thought we'd try a traditional restaurant on our first night - Lyn had soup and noodles - soup very tricky with chopsticks. Only when she had finished the soup and was eating cold noodles did the waitress rush up to tell her to cook the noodles in the soup!!

Tony less adventurous had battered squid tentacles and chips!!! Still we both survived.
After a good nights sleep we started our sightseeing as today dawned with clear blue skies and cold. Went up Tokyo Tower (Japan's answer to the Eiffel Tower) and had brilliant views of the city skyline, Tokyo Bay and Mount Fuiji. Then on to the 14th century Zojo-ji Temple - quite amazing. Just inside the gates was a huge bell made entirely from melted down hairpins donated by the court Geishas (Brian & Carole have included a photo). There are temples and shrines dotted about all over the city inbetween skyscrapers and all of them are well attended and used by devotees. We in England seem to have lost that reverence.

By then we were finding our feet and beginning to feel more confident so thought we would try our luck on the Yamanote Railway line. Nearly all signs in Japanese however the train announces the stations in English as well as Japanese. This is a circular route where a one day pass will allow you on and off at any number of stations. So off to see another Shrine in Ueno Park - a fantastic place for families with buskers, museums, art galleries and even a Zoo! all surrounding the inevitable central shrine. Although again this is an early 17th century temple there was a very moving tribute to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an everlasting flame encompassed in a dove of peace. Back on the train to Shinjuku the so called entertainment and red light area - didn't see any red lights but the skyscrapers were amazing - another fascinating area. Getting weary after that so back to the hotel for Sushi and a hot bath.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the Imperial Palace before we depart for the Airport and on to Auckland via Brisbane. Would like to go the fish market but that starts at 3.00am so might not make that!

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Sitting outside another ShrineSitting outside another Shrine
Sitting outside another Shrine

Just to prove we were both there
Tokyo TowerTokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

The old and the new
Traditional Japenese Kimono Traditional Japenese Kimono
Traditional Japenese Kimono

Very few kimonos to be seen
Bell at Zojo-ji TempleBell at Zojo-ji Temple
Bell at Zojo-ji Temple

Made from melted down hairpins from the court Geishas
Shinjuku at nightShinjuku at night
Shinjuku at night

Can you see a red light?

25th January 2009

I'm sure that by the time you finish your trip you would rather have the in-flight entertainment than the free champagne - boozers! So, that's the Tokyo Tower - Al and I have spent the last 12 years under the illusion that we climbed the Tokyo Tower, a different one completely! Em wants to know who does the dictating and who does the typing on these blogs - I wonder? Em wants to know - all these photos on the blog - does this save us viewing them on your return? Anyway, onto New Zealand and Australia where there might not be quite so much culture!
25th January 2009

Thanks for News
So pleased you are enjoying the adventure. You have packed your days fully in Tokyo. It was a cold spring like stay for us and only poured on the final morning while we watched the Marathon. Loved the photos - you are well organised. Next stop Auckland - give our love to Frank and Lorrain, T+M xx
26th January 2009

I hope that means 'Have a nice day' because you clearly seem to be having a great time - very impressive blog and piccies - what a good idea - we'll be following your travels with great interest - }W€ (Have fun!) Love Ian & Diane
26th January 2009

Thanks !
Wonderful Blog. Thanks for reminding us about the great city of Tokyo. Surely you cant keep this high standard of reporting up ?!!
1st February 2009

Well Prepared!!
Have only just found this bit of the blog!!!! xxxxxxx

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