Blog: Destination – Japan (Tokyo Part 2) by Leon Matigian
A short walk from the Tsukiji Fish Markets leads you to the famous Hama Rikyu gardens. We saw it as an urbane oasis in the middle of modern high rise buildings. The gardens were beautifully presented, including three bridges draped with wisteria and a fantastic promenade along the bay lined with pine trees. We went into the tea house in the middle of the gardens alongside one of the lakes and drank green tea. To top it all off we boarded the ferry from the garden’s pier to Asakusa.
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo. To better understand the significance of the Temple we visited the Tourist Information Centre just outside the Temple and went for a one hour free guided tour, organised by them, to see Asakusa and surrounds including the Temple. We learned how to purify ourselves before entering a Temple and the difference between a Temple and a Shrine. The guide spoke very good English, which made it easier to appreciate the area. We spent several hours after the tour in the pedestrian lane leading to the shrine lined with traditional shops and souvenir stands and had a wonderful meal in one of the restaurants.
Head to Harajuku and Aoyama if you are in Tokyo on a Sunday. It is a very lively place and it is a popular hangout for teenagers. Although we are an older mature couple we felt ancient amongst the young ones but loved every second of it. We liked the area because of its vibrancy, trendy clothing, the cafes and boutique shops. Between 4 and 5pm the young come out to see and be seen all decked out in fashions of the moment. They all end up congregating around the train station for a photo shoot.
Another reason to visit Harajuku is because of Meiji Jingu Shrine to see Japan’s two largest Torii (entrance gates) built more than 1700 years ago. The long shaded pathway leading to the shrine is lined with trees, shrubs and dense wood. We were lucky to have witnessed 2 wedding ceremonies within the shrine grounds. Oh, what a sight of the long procession of family and guests following the couple for their wedding ceremony and then be photographed in the beautiful gardens. The Iris garden was in full bloom when we were there and it is a “must see”.
All images by Leon Matigian. All rights reserved.
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