Another day, another stunning Tokyo temple to visit. It was much drier than the previous night, so much so that the rain jacket could remain at the hotel.
Situated in northern Tokyo, Sensoji temple is the oldest temple in the city. It was completed in 645AD and has been an integral part of Buddhism in Tokyo since. The stunning buildings and tower are noticeable from a distance, despite the efforts of modernisation.
The temple grounds are surrounded by narrow bustling streets bursting with life. Anything and everything you could ever want as a souvenir can be purchased at one of the many market stalls, including swords and guns. You might have some questions asked at customs if you waltzed in with any of those, though.
It is a beautiful place, made only more so by the ponds and streams filled with coi carp. The sight of this incredible ancient temple, the architecture from over 1000 years ago and the smell of rich incense really solidified this temple as a lynchpin of Tokyo and Japanese culture.
The buzz of hundreds of tourists and locals around this area makes it a must visit, it is hard to comprehend how much history and culture the buildings within the temple grounds have seen over the years.
Next up across the city was another structure which had impressive fears of architecture. The Tokyo Skytree, which dominates over the skyline, stands at over 600m high and has two platforms from which to view the city from.
The prices vary, with one ticket for the 350th floor being 2,100 yen and one for the 450th level prices at almost double. If if honest, the former made for a superb view anyway. Furthermore within the level you get the chance to stand on the glass floor and look down hundreds of feet to the floor below. Definitely not something for the rain hearted to try.
A rather quaint activity which can be done in the tower is writing postcards. You can buy, write, stamp and send your postcard and pop it conveniently in a letter box to be sent all over the world.
On a clearer day it was said it’s possible to see Mount Fuji towards the south, unfortunately today was not that day for us. Luckily a chance to see it was not too far away.
The tower is mightily impressive in both height and architecture, and it easily gives the best views of Tokyo. The trip up to the top was ended with a coffee, looking off into the far distance across the miles of metropolis below.
The third and final day in Tokyo began with a subway over to the imperial city. Built on the grounds where Edu castle once stood, the city was the seat of Tokugawa shogun for over 200 years from 1603 to 1867. The new imperial palace was built in 1888 but had to be replicated as it was destroyed during the Second World War.
The walk around the grounds of the park is peaceful and you feel as though there is no need to rush. Entrance is free and there are several volunteers along the way to answer any questions. This city within a city is lush and green, with the various guard houses and other buildings becoming one with the nature they are set in.
There are also lots of benches so if you don’t feel like walking through the park at speed you can sit back and enjoy the peace, which is needed after too long in the bustling centres of Tokyo.
One of these centres was next on the list. Ginza is not far from the palace, just two stops on the Maranouchi line in fact. It is a thriving shopping district which is filled with many top of the range designers, far out of the price range of ourselves it must be said. One of the main streets at the aptly named ‘Nissan crossing’ was closed off for some of our time there, making crossing the pulsating street so much easier.
It is a place which highlights the wealth and highlife which can be had in Tokyo, added to further by the influx of expensive-looking cars once the road reopened. One place which bucked the trend for the high prices was a nearby Starbucks, which made for a handy stop to get off the streets for a while.
The sun had set on our final day in Japan’s capital and it had been an incredible three days. After dinner at a gem of a restaurant Steph had come across, we scooted back across town to our hotel to pack up and get rested for our journey south to Hakone.