We came back to Tokyo with still enough time for a walk and we decided to have some dinner around the Shibuya neighborhood.
First thing you see after coming out of the metro station at the Hachikō exit is the world’s busiest intersection in front of Shibuya Station, ‘The Scramble’.
Hachikō was a dog who waited for his deceased owner at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935 (so sad 😦 )
People come from all directions at once, sometimes over a thousand with every light change!
Another must in Shibuya, even if you are not that much into “fashion”, is the Shibuya 109 department store. This iconic building was used in the 90s by the Shibuya “gyarus” (gals) who brought 109 into the spotlight as the place to shop for the “gyaru” look, and its fame remains even today.
There’s a Starbucks just around the corner where it’s possible to see the intersection from above (and for free!).
It is amazing to see so many people at once, you never get used to it!
The next day was time to visit another Tokyo`s reference neighborhood: Asakusa. The first street we found on our way there was the Kappabashi Street, where you can buy plastic and wax food samples, used by many restaurants in their show windows. They’re so realistic that it’s hard to distinguish them from real food!
But the main attraction is without a doubt the Senso-ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple.
Known to people all over Japan as the temple of the Asakusa Kannon, it draws some 30 million visitors every year, remaining an important center of worship.
We walked around the temple surroundings, the beautiful gardens outside and the different buildings that are part of the temple complex.
I bought a cotton candy (my weakness) and ate it outside the main temple while Kevin was taking some pictures. I guess that cotton candy is only for kids over there, because people were staring at me and one old Japanese grandpa even took a picture of me :D.
The Hondo Main Hall was crowded with people praying, burning incense or just taking pictures.
There was a O-mikuji next to the hall, O-mikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Buddhist temples…mine was horrible! it predicted that I’d have bad luck, family illnesses, accidents, that I shouldn’t travel… When the prediction is bad (and mine was the worse), it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree or a wall of metal wires alongside other bad fortunes, and that’s what I did. Nothing of what was written there happened, so I guess it worked :).
We left the temple through the Kaminarimon Gate, the outer door of the temple and authentic symbol of the Asakusa neighborhood and the city of Tokyo.
We reached the Nakamise Street, a 250-meter-long shopping street full of small shops and stalls selling from souvenirs like kimonos or fans to typical sweets.
Although it may seem a modern invention to attract tourists, the fact is that already in the period of Edo there were stores here willing to catch the attention of the pilgrims who visited the Sensoji temple.
You can find some thieves on the buildings of Asakusa (5 to be exact). They’re the 5 master thieves from Edo, called “Shiranami gonin otoko”. They were very famous, and have been made into “Kabuki” plays (you can learn more about them here).
We did a stop at the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center before going to the Sumida neighboorhood since the building houses a free viewing deck up on the top (always saving money :D).
Sumida neighborhood is famous for hosting the tallest structure in Japan (634 m) and the second tallest in the World.
It also had a cute park full of cherry blossoms where we could relax for a bit, my knee was hurting since the day before and it was getting tougher to keep the rhythm of so many kilometers per day.
Next day Nikko was awaiting, so we had dinner and went back to our apartment to have some rest.