Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finally Got a Touch of Downtown Tokyo!

We have now lived here for just over 13 months and have yet to see any shrines/temples and downtown Tokyo (we did dinner in Shibuya and that's about it). But October 5th the hubby and I took a trip into Tokyo through the base (ITT's Tokyo Culture Tour). A friend watched the kiddos for us so we could enjoy a much needed day together! Of course it decided to rain but I was able to cross some things off my Japan Bucket List!

Our first stop was the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emporer Meiji and his wife. We were even able to see traditional wedding being taking place with the Priests and Maidens in traditional clothing!

The Hubby in front of the HUGE Torii

Cleansing the hands before going into pray 


I didn't want to be all up in the wedding parties personal business,
so I zoomed in as best as possible and the rain didn't help.

I even bought an Omamori (or charm) for the protection of the kids! A picture can be found on my Instagram: See the pic here! I really want to go back and check things out when its not rainy and chilly!
Our next stop was the Tsukiji Fish Market, here is where they auction HUGE tuna and sell seafood, the auction happens very early in the morning but vendors are set up selling meals, raw seafood, veggies and more. It reminded me a lot of a farmers market. This was our lunch stop and we choose Sushi- by far the freshest and best seafood we have had yet! There were other small Ramen shops but we couldn't visit the bay and not eat Sushi, that's like going to the movies and not getting popcorn!

Some of these crabs were SEVERAL hundred dollars a piece!

That's some Fresh Fish!

Onigiri (Rice balls with seaweed & fililngs) 

Each awning was a little shop,
some were food places with only 1-2 chairs and some had goods

Big ole pot of seafood soup

Zack enjoying a $6 plate of Tuna (he had 3 of those!)

This delicious California Roll had Raw Tuna, Avocado, Crab, and it was rolled in Salmon Eggs.
I could have eaten like 4 of these!

My dessert was Asian Pears on a Stick
If you haven't had an Asian Pear you are missing out!!!

SOOOO many people!!!


After lunch we headed over to Hama Rikyu, a beautiful park with seawater ponds, flowers, and teahouses all tuck away between skyscrapers and the Tokyo Bay! I MUST HAVE OUR FAMILY PICTURES TAKEN HERE!!!! Tokyo Travel has a good article on it here. Even through the rain and mist it was gorgeous!

 300 year old Pine Tree!
One of the LARGEST Black Pines in Tokyo!

The Rainbow Bridge is over there


Love the ponds with Skyscrapers in the background

Rain Chain, I want one before we leave

Crazy big Aloe plant in the middle of the flowers

Former Inabu Shrine
From the Gardens we hopped on the water bus and took a river cruise through the bay up to Akasuka.
Even though it was a drizzly day it was still fun to take the cruise, although the guide did say on a clear day you can see a lot.
Back of the Tsukiji Fish Market!
Where all the seafood gets unloaded for the auctions.

Crazy little island with skyscrapers!

Pulling a barge in.
Once the cruise was over we walked over to see the main attractions of Akasuka, Tokyo! Sensō-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple which is also Tokyo's oldest Temple! There are tons of small shops with candy, food, swords, fans, and many other knick-knacks, definitely a place I will have to come back to for Christmas gifts. We weren't given a whole lot of time and so I felt a tad rushed to see it all and check stuff out, on a nicer weather day this maybe a good destination to head back too! There is also a smaller Shinto shrine on the temple grounds so it was cool to go from seeing the huge Meiji Shrine to the smaller Akasuka Shrine. We did get to try some amazingly delicious treats! One was a rice cracker they dip in warm soy sauce and wrap a piece of sea around it, and the other was a small deep fried ball of heaven! This ball of goodness I think is Deep Fried Manju, its a warm doughy ball stuffed with filling, Zack got the original which had anko (sweet bean paste- they put it in everything here) but mine was Pumpkin *just looking at the picture below and typing is making my mouth water and making me want to go back for more!!!* 
Sensō-ji Temple
 Sea of Umbrellas around the incense

The Temple
 Inside the Temple
I received a bad fortune so I tied it up to stay there.
Five Story Pagoda
A shop with swords
The Rice Cracker Vendor dunking it before the nori is wrapped
 The reason I gave up using an umbrella, cause everyone else was and I was tired of getting stabbed in the face!


Akasuka Shrine:

Overall it was a great trip! I would definitely recommend that ITT tour, and now I am more confident is where things are if people come visit us we have some cool things to show them!


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