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The next days in Tokyo were just as pleasant as the first ones. We had more time to visit a bit of the city, enjoy the Oeshiki Festival, but there are a lot of things to do in Tokyo so unfortunately we had to leave quite a bit for the end of our trip in Japan or for our next visit to this amazing country.
One of the places that was a must was the famous Shibuya crossing. This is just a diagonal pedestrian crossing (the city is full of them), but this one is very famous as it is regarded to be the busiest intersection in the world.
From there we took advantage of our JR Passes, and went to another station near Tokyo Tower. The idea was to see the tower, but we came across a Buddhist Temple called Zojo-ji Temple. Not only that, we had the opportunity to witness a Buddhist ceremony. It was really interesting and even Noah sat with me for a while, listening quietly to the chants and praying. I’d have loved to know a bit more about that ceremony, but as soon as it was over they closed the doors of the Temple and we didn’t have a chance to ask about it.
We made one last stop to see the Temple’s surroundings and the Tokyo Tower. The tower is 333 meters tall and it is the second tallest structure in Japan.
All of a sudden it had gone completely dark. After several months of summer and longer days we have finally reached a country with cooler weather. It is autumn in Japan, and the days are getting shorter and shorter …
It was time to return to our hotel and we don’t regret our choice, as The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon was a great place to spend those few nights in Tokyo. And with some amazing views, it was an ideal place to rest, recharge our batteries and stock up on energy for the coming days.
The next day we had lots of plans, but we stopped by an official tourism office in Japan called Tokyo City Tourist & Business Information. We had 2 weeks in Japan and Japan Rail Passes for the whole time, so we wanted to benefit from this beautiful country as much as possible.
Ruth also had an ambitious plan (as usual 🙂 🙂 ), so it was important to find out what we could and could not see in the time.
That’s when we were lucky enough to meet Chie, from the tourism office. She was extremely nice to us and patiently (for almost 2 hours!!!) helped us put together a perfect plan for the trip. Thank you so much Chie!
While we were walking around Tokyo train station we were informed by someone in the street that the Emperor of Japan was leaving the station with his wife. We went through the crowd and found out that it wasn’t just the Emperor and his wife, but also the King of Belgium and his wife. It turned out that they were visiting Japan and by chance they were in our way (or the other way around 🙂 ).
There was finally time to try on one of the most traditional costumes in Japan – the Kimono! At JNTO – Tourist Information Center, close to Tokyo Station they give tourists the opportunity to try a kimono on for free. They just ask for a picture to be included on their map. It was a great deal 🙂 . Even Noah, who was a bit cranky to begin with and didn’t want to wear the costume, changed his mind thanks to the host 🙂
Lastly we went to another place that was a bit further away, but it was one of the stops that Ruth almost begged me to see. It was an important festival in Japan called Oeshiki Festival – a parade with illuminated cars (full with paper lanterns) and people celebrating this special day.
The Oeshiki Festival’s parade ended at a Temple Ikegami Honmonji.
It was definitely worth seeing (and tasting… street food in Japan is delicious) and the timing was very convenient, as this festival occurs for 3 consecutive days once a year! We had timed it just right.
What a great city. Everything is so organized and clean, and everyone is so respectful … I believe this country will still reveal many more surprises to us.
Next stop: Kyoto!