We set the alarm for 7.30 this morning so we could get up in time for our Japanese breakfast. I woke up feeling good, I'd slept well, but Dad was a little worse for wear! We headed down to the dining room where our breakfast was already on the table. We were brought the hot things then too. We couldn't recognise all of it, but we knew or worked out some things: miso soup, rice, grilled salmon, gherkins, tofu, seaweed, a vegetable similar to courgette, soft poached egg and something spiky and crispy. We had green tea and water to drink. We're proud to say we tried everything but we have to admit we stuck mostly to the salmon and the never-ending pot of rice. Dad said he preferred toast!
We left the Ryokan in 35 degrees C heat and caught a train to Tokyo, where it was rainy and stormy! We got a train to Shibuya and walked the 2 minute walk to our hotel, the Shibuya Tokyu Inn. It is quite posh here and the room is lovely, plus they let us check in early which was a big help.
It wasn't raining in Shibuya, so we decided to go back to Tokyo and see the Imperial Palace. However, it was raining there! As we walked it got heavier and heavier. By the time we arrived we were soaking and weighed several kilos more than when we had set off. The rain had no intention of stopping. We stood inside the gate, wondering whether there was any point going into the zen gardens and whether if we went in, they would think we were new water features and not let us out again! We decided there wasn't a lot of point and started back to the train station. Along the way it turned into a full on storm. The rain was so hard and heavy that we couldn't see and there was lots of thunder and lightning. When we got on the train, we were soaking wet but everyone else was completely dry because they had umbrellas. Dad was too wet to sit down and was making his own river by his feet.
Before we came back to the hotel, we stopped at a french, yet all in Japanese, bakery and bought some snacks to munch on which were really tasty. Dad's glasses were covered in rain so he couldn't see, and couldn't clean them because he couldnt find a dry bit of clothing to wipe them on! When we got back to the hotel room, he went into the bathroom to change, but forgot that the bathroom was a step up, stubbed his toe and went flying into the room - very amusing for me!
We had a bit of a rest in the hotel, until the storm died down a little. We then decided to catch a train and visit Shinjuku, which has the busiest train station in the world and we were there in rush hour. We found our way out of the station and it was just like one of the pictures you see of Tokyo: bright lights everywhere and loads of people, like Piccadily Circus on a scale of 100! It was amazing to be in the place I've always wanted to go and it was just as spectacular as i thought it would be. There was even a rock band playing on an open air stage in the middle of the city. On the downside though, my shoes rubbed and gave me a blister. :( The weather kept changing, so Dad kept having to change his outfit, in and out of his waterproof gear because it was so humid he was getting wetter by having it on!
After another rest in the hotel, we decided to go out after dark around Shibuya, which is similar to Shinjuku if a little more youth-orientated/trendy, so Dad felt well in his element. We had a look round and got some ice creams, it was lovely actually because it was warm and not sticky or rainy so we could look round easily. It was more accessible than Shinjuku and you could go in places, which was good. Shibuya comes alive at night and is definitely the place to be!
Naomi (and Stuart!)