Our first full day in Tokyo was also our last full day in Tokyo, but this did not deter us as we set off for another day of sightseeing.. This time, we had 2 old favourites on the menu: shopping and temples!
First stop was a small coffee shop just outside our hotel where we managed to find someone able to provide us with toast and tea rather than the now commonplace small fish, rice and salads! 2 veritable doorstops of toast later we sluggishly set about getting across this huge city to the area of Omote, yet another shopping mecca. After the usual 3 miles walk followed by 2 mins tube ride (like London only worse on that front!) we arrived in the sun at our destination where we spent a while checking out the Jimmy Choos (the woman in the shop with the linen gloves winced every time we lifted a pair with our sun tan lotioned hands!) and Prada shops.
Moving swiftly on from the up-market end of the area to Harajuku, things quickly changed. This area is famous for its 'alternative' shops and the characters who shop in them. Freaks I think may not be the technical term, but I'm sure you get the idea! Great fun to look around, and despite the fact there were more tourists there than locals, a few oddballs did walk past to give us all someone to point at!
We left this shopping street behind and moved on to one of the main temples in the city; the Meiji Shrine. This is a Shinto shrine (a bit of a Japanese speciality religion) which was surrounded by 100,000 trees kindly donated by people all around the world in order to create a bizarre countryside feel in the middle of this metropolis. Another good one for a walk around and also the first free one which was nice.. Probably down to the rediculously large items donated to them on a regular basis which I reckon must go on E-bay to keep them ticking over!
During our time here, the old friend rain returned to clear the by now sticky air so we jumped on another subway to Shibuya, home to the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. Busy right enough! I almost fainted when I saw the crazy people at the other side form what looked like battle formation when the green man came on! Surviving this crossing, we made our way to the french coffee house overlooking the street for lunch and pastry (thanks for the heads up no this one Ailsa and Stuart!). This was a great way to avoid all the umbrellas at eye level for an hour. Honestly, everone here seems to be precisely one umbrellas height shorter than me. Not good. I'd need goggles if I was here any longer! On that front, the subways also have air conditioning vents which are conveniently located 6 foot 2 above the floor of practically the entire station. At 6 foot 4, that is one serious pain. Literally!! Rant over!!
So after missing the worst of the rain, we headed off for a wander around electric city, the hub of the electronics industry here, and what a place it was. Shop after shop filled with on avergae 8 floors of goodies ranging from a £5 camera case to a £20,000 TV! Bit of an eye opener! No bags this time you'll be glad to hear!
As the sun went down and the lights came up, we headed back to Ginza for a look around a toy shop (it was better than you'd think!) and a wander back to our hotel. Another day over, a new one about to begin. Thanks Mr Lennon for the first half of that sentence!
On the blog front, our 10.5 hour flight tomorrow night will mean another temporary service interruption, but we will resume asap. Hope you are all well.
L & A