I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.
(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)
He’s cute. Love the bangs, too.
Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why. I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity. I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella. It really helps.
My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.
This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways. It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.
When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby. It was very surreal.
After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.
There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds. I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.
I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture. So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.
Or sea creature.
Or water faucet.
It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.
On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo. Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.
Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city. Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.
The expressway overhead plays a big part in that. It casts a long shadow.
Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.
I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).
I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!
I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.