This second week, I stayed in a Japanese family living in Arakawa district and I continued my walk in Tokyo.
Second meeting with Michiko. Back to Harajuku district to visit the Meiji-jingu shrine. It is dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji (who died in 1912) and his wife Empress Shôken (who died in 1914). The sanctuary was opened to the public in 1920 and is in the middle of the garden of 100000 trees from all over Japan.
The place is beautiful. The trees are really big and majestic. On the way to the sanctuary, we pass under several Torii (traditional Japanese portal) very impressive. We see many little Japanese girls dressed in beautiful kimonos. They celebrate Shichi-go-san (“seven-five-three”), a rite of passage for children aged three, five and seven. The festival is celebrated during the month of November. Meiji-jingu is beautiful. In a very simple style, contrasting with the Sensô-ji temple of the Asakusa district. In the middle of the gigantic trees, the place has something unique. Of all the temples and shrines I’ve seen so far this is the one I prefer..
We then go take a walk in the landscaped garden next door. It contains a small lake where an impressive number of Koi Carps are lounging. A whole part of the garden is dedicated to an Iris plantation. But as it is winter, we only see the stems. The place must be beautiful when the flowers have hatched. The set is still very pretty, especially since the leaves of the trees begin to turn orange, red.
We then head to Shinjuku district. It is a very lively neighborhood, home to many large corporations. Shinjuku Station has an average of 4 million passengers a day, making it one of the busiest stations in the world. Tokyo City Hall is also located in Shinjuku. It consists of two twin towers of 48 floors with an observatory to have a view of the whole of Tokyo.
Before going to visit the Town Hall, Michiko and I go to lunch in a restaurant located in one of the big buildings located next to the Town Hall. The restaurant, very chic is on the 45th floor. The view is already impressive.
The view from the observatory of the Town Hall is very beautiful. Tokyo stretches out as far as the eye can see. On the other hand, the reflections on the windows prevent a little bit from taking good pictures. As it was a little cloudy, I did not manage to see Mount Fuji.
Ginza is one of the most exclusive areas of Tokyo. Not far away is the Tsukiji Fish Market. It is the largest market in the world for fish and seafood.
I went to visit it around 3pm and the market was almost completely empty! All the animation takes place between 5am and 11am. At least, I was able to walk quietly in the small alleys. It’s a real maze of odds and ends! Amazing.
Ginza is also home to the famous Kabuki-za theater, which as its name suggests is dedicated to Kabuki. Kabuki is a form of Japanese theater centered on a spectacular and codified acting. The actors wears lots of make-up and beautiful costumes and the parts include many scenic devices.
The building is beautiful and very impressive! I went to see a Kabuki play! It’s very interesting. The costumes and scenery are beautiful. The actors accentuate the intonations enormously. English translators are offered to foreigners, which helps to understand the dialogues. However, the session lasts five hours! It starts at 11am and ends around 4pm. Three different pieces are played, usually classics. It’s a bit long! I must say that at the end I was tired. Apparently we can buy tickets to only attend one part of the session. Good to know. By cons, impossible to take pictures.
While strolling in the Ginza district, I also came across the Buddhist temple Tsukiji Hongan-ji. A marvel! It’s like being in India. The interior is covered with gold, with a Buddha statue, full of decorations and a pretty organ. I attended a prayer, it was very beautiful.
Sounds of Tokyo – Prayer at Tsukiji Hongan-ji Buddhist Temple – Ginza District. :
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