Last day. Oh, Japan. I’ve been in you for two and a half weeks.
Again, I wanted that duo “city and park sightseeing” style day today. Tbh, it’s essential if you don’t want to go crazy in the head!
So I had a McDonald’s breakfast and hopped on the train, segafredo in hand. Cappuccino. And it was the best coffee I’d had for at least a year.
I travelled to Ueno, which is not at all pronounced how one would imagine. This was a big, open spaced park, with various attractions, including a zoo, which I would not be going to.
I had a good wander, with my backpack, and in my sun-soaking black t-shirt. I was trying to find the temple of five storeys, but it eluded me. Japan makes me a bad map reader.
I’ve got nuts next to me, so I have to keep stopping. I am such a pig, if there is food near me, I can’t concentrate on anything else. Until the plate is empty.
Anyway, what it did find was an odd looking field, in the middle of Tokyo. Upon closer inspection this was a huge lake, filled with lotus plants, which were reaching 10 feet out of the water! In the middle was a shrine. I’d love to see these lotus in bloom. I’ve got to come back at least once a month by the looks of it… I want to see spring cherry blossom, wisteria, autumn tree colouring…..
As I walked back, I found that five story temple, which was a little bit hidden. In my opinion, they’d built the zoo in the way.
So I walked back into Ueno station, as I knew Ameyoko market was on the other side. But I had no idea how big Ueno station actually was. The exit I originally came out of felt like a small country town exit. But, oh no, on the lower level were 50,000 people.
I found Ameyoko market after a few red herrings. But, it was crap. I wanted to see handicrafts and the like, but this was like a bad Sunday market in the UK, full of hoodies for sale.
Veering off plan, I crisscrossed the city to get to the Tokyo tower, to take the essential birds eye view photograph of the city. Some confusion at the gate meant I paid the conductor 180 yen just to walk through a metro station. Don’t ask! The metro is DEEP under Tokyo. Getting up and down to it was more of a challenge than Costa Rica’s 100km trek.
Some unique sights on the metro, though. The cleaner basically surfed on cloths down the escalators in order to clean the panels. And businessmen with hygiene masks on… It’s totally normal here, but still makes me do a double take.
The views, as predicted, were immense.
I then wanted to stop at Shibuya, where that famous busy crossing is. Although, every where’s so busy that you can’t get anywhere to get a photo of it. I could see a Starbucks, which could have had a nice view, but I had no idea how to get to it.
I went to the recommended Tokyu Hands, a big department store with 145 floors, and selling everything. I had a cool ice coffee on the top floor.
Oh, and the handicrafts department didn’t mean what I thought it would.
A few other thoughts: bowing to everyone is bad for my particular hairstyle. Safety: Tokyo is busy, yet feels immensely safe. I have never detected menace (what a cool word!) in all my wanderings. So, for anyone scared of cities because of safety, I would recommend Tokyo as a good antidote!
I now sit, having finished the nuts, on the top floor of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. My case is already packed, purely so I can estimate how much space I have for purchases.