Today I went with Noriko’s dad on an English speaking guided tour of some of the hot spots in the city. We left around 730am and walked to the bus station…took the bus to the train station and road the train for about 45 minutes to the World Trade Center building in the heart of Tokyo where we found our bus. The tour guide was Japanese but spoke very clear English. The first stop was Tokyo Tower. This tower is supposedly slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The tour only included going to the main observation deck…not the very top but that was fine with me. It is amazing to see how many buildings are in this city. It was definitely an awesome view. After the tower we went to Meiji Shrine…I THINK I have been there before but need to ask Noriko. The Shrines and Temples start looking the same to me. This is the shrine that was dedicated to the first Emperor of Japan.
After the Shrine we drove to a nice hotel for lunch. They called it BBQ but it was like Hibachi style where they cook the food at your table. We sat at our table with a really cute/nice couple from San Francisco and a young man from Kyoto who spoke English. It was fun and the food was GREAT. After lunch we went to the Emperors palace. This place is only open to the public 2 days per year on December 23 and January 2. There honestly was not a lot to see…I had been there once before and did the same thing…walk to the gate and go hmm and you are ready to leave. But I can say I was there. Next was a drive through Ginza which is one of the most popular high end shopping districts in the world. We then went to Tokyo bay where we took a boat ride up the Sumida River and ended up in Asakusa. The highlight in Asakusa is the walk through the Nakamise shops which lead to Senso-ji temple…the largest temple in Tokyo. I had been to this place during my first visit in 1998 and it was exactly as I remembered. I will post a picture later. I would love to go back there and browse through the shops sometime…honestly today it was just too hot and too crowded and we hurried through and went and sat on the air conditioned bus! After falling asleep on the long train ride home we stopped for Chinese food and I tried some jellyfish for the first time…not exactly good stuff…but hey you only live once 🙂 It seems all I do is eat and sleep here but I guess that is ok! I do not get to come here that often so I am really trying to enjoy it.
The population of this city is 13.1 million and I believe that is not even including the outer areas where I am right now. It is the cleanest city I have ever been to. The crime rate is almost non existent. There is so much to do and see…it really is an amazing place…despite the high temps and humidity right now. Tomorrow I plan to take it easy…sleep late and play in the puddle pool with Kazu 🙂
Today I am thankful for air conditioning!!! The tour guide said several people died here yesterday or were hospitalized due to heat stroke.