Friday, July 23, 2010

Japan Part 2 - more from Tokyo

I love the graphic on the building, especially since I will always associate Tokyo with the smell of fish. Not in a bad way, just in the way that it was everywhere. One of those background smells that was always slightly in the air. Except in the elevator of our hotel, which (oddly enough) smelled like someone had poured green tea all over it. Also though, not in a bad way.

A street in Aoyama, a neighborhood that featured one of my favorite shops/restaurants in the city (more on that another time), the tranquil, newly re-opened Nezu Museum, lots of ritzy boutiques and cafes, and a ton of bridal stores and hair salons.

This is the Tsukiji Honguanji Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Tokyo. We stumbled upon this building in the early hours of our first morning in Tokyo, on our way to the Tsukiji Central Fish Market. The combination of a big gate surrounding the huge parking lot and building itself would probably have been enough to keep us away, had a very friendly security guard with decent English skills not motioned for us to come inside. He was also kind enough to point out some of the important features of the temple, and assured us that, although there were many people inside engaged in prayer and chanting, that it was alright for us to go in and have a look around.

This is the Negishi train station. We came here one night on a mission to find sasa-no-yuki, a restaurant that has been serving delicious tofu meals since 1691. Like many of the restaurants we specifically set out to find in Tokyo, while it involved getting lost and having to ask directions to find it, especially since the sign for the restaurant was written solely in Japanese, it was absolutely worth the frustration involved in getting there. And as became our food motto, when in doubt, definitely choose the multi-course tasting option. Chances are, everything will be delicious, and while you might not like one or two items, it's never a problem because another dish will be along soon.

Did you know that the Japanese like to dress up their statues? I had no idea, but was pleasantly surprised to find all manner of deities wearing some form of clothing. This statue, from a shrine in Asakusa, was a particular favorite. You can't tell in this picture, but the little kids at the bottom of the statue not only have hats and bibs, but many of them have little key chain animals dangling from their arms and from around their necks as well.

Construction of the impressive Tokyo Sky Tree, as viewed from Asakusa. Already the tallest artificial structure in Japan, when construction is completed in December 2011, it will have a height of 2,080 feet. Very impressive.

And the above and below images are views of the city, taken from the Tokyo City View observation deck of the Mori Tower, in Roppongi Hills. We had been hoping to visit the Mori Art Museum, which was sadly closed while they were setting up a new exhibit. Instead, we settled for these great city views.

That's it for now, but you can see more photos on flickr.


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