After eating a hearty Japanese breakfast of green salad, rice and hot tea, I took the subway to the Asakusa district, which is home to Tokyo’s oldest attraction, the Senso-ji temple.
(I picked a good day to brave the trains. Foot traffic was fairly light, and I found the signage and announcements clear and easy to understand.
And yes, the Tokyo subway is clean and quiet, except for the occasional screaming baby.)
The temple entrance is guarded by the gods of wind and thunder at the Kaminarimon Gate. They didn’t seem that ferocious to me, and quite open to a selfie or two.
Once inside the gate, there was shopping galore, and I had the opportunity to get my fortune — after saying a prayer and paying a small stipend. I ended up getting “the very best fortune.”
So that’s cool.
The main hall is a five-story pagoda. There’s a incense cauldron in front; people were rubbing the incense on themselves for good luck or simply waving the smoke toward themselves.
I opted for the latter.
Across the river from the temple is the Asahi Beer Hall. It’s golden plume, which is supposed to be beer foam, is a Tokyo landmark (although the locals call it the ‘golden turd’). I love that.
I was excited to visit the Taiko Drum Museum, but it wasn’t at the map location, and business owners nearby hadn’t heard of it.
Seems like they would have heard a drum…nevermind.
I jumped back on the subway and took the Ginza Line to the Shibuya district.
Shibuya Crossing is as new as Asakusa is old. There are video screens and noise and thousands of people seemingly moving at once, but the chaos has a kind of order to it.
And remember the good-looking guy I saw yesterday plastered on buildings?
He was at Shibuya, too. Gotta figure out who he is.
Hachiko the dog was there, too — well, the statute that is.
His master died in 1925, but the dog continued to go to the station to meet him until his own death some ten years later.
The pup was very popular; it was hard to get a shot. I don’t know whose hand that is, but he is forever immortalized here on the Egg.
After a stop back at the hotel for the standard wash, clothing change and nap — the heat really takes it out of you — I ended the day at the Roppingi Hills, a large shopping / arts / entertainment complex in the district where I am currently staying.
I visited the Mori Art Museum, an extraordinary contemporary art museum (with an even better store).
I’m told the observatory has amazing city views, but it was closed because of the weather. I found that odd…until it started storming.
It was slightly less sticky afterwards, so it was worth it.
I’m resting my feet and back until tomorrow. Only one more morning of adventure and then the flight home to NYC!