We loved Japan!! Our first stop was Tokyo. Such a beautiful city! Our friends the Janigas met us there, making us a party of 10! I think we lucked out with all the touring/meals working out so well despite our large party. There are a lot of ways a group of 10 people can go bad quickly…
The above pic was taken at the Hozomon near the Sensō-ji, an ancient Buddhist temple. We took a boat ride there- which was fun and a nice change from the subway – better scenery! (pic below taken from boat)
On the temple grounds, a kind Japanese man helped the kids with the fortunes. A metal cylinder is filled with numbered wooden sticks. You shake the cylinder until a stick falls out. The number on the stick indicates which drawer you open to find your fortune.
Lincoln got ‘Best Fortune”, the Japanese man was very excited and said it was very rare. Sadly Grayson got a “Bad Fortune”. You keep the good fortunes, but tie the bad ones to the wires to leave the bad luck at the temple.
Surrounding the temple was an adorable little area that is said to be reminiscent of the Edo Period in Japan. The Edo Period was 265 years (1603-1868) of peace under the rule of the Tokugowa shogunites. I assume they mean the buildings are reminiscent because they have not been knocked down and replaced with high rises. The below pic is a street filled with charming shops and restaurants. This type of thing is right up my alley. The boys, not so much…. thus, our visit was brief! Check out the women in the kimono, there are two in the picture. There were women all over Japan in kimonos. Many are tourists that rent them for the day and wear them around to the tourist attractions. It is elaborate, their hair is done and they even sport the socks with Japanese sandals. There were also older women wearing kimonos, and I have to believe they were not playing dress up….. but you never know.
The second day in Tokyo we visited the Imperial Palace Grounds. You can’t actually access the Imperial Palace. It is still the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. However, there is a lot of wide open lawn on the Palace Grounds that you are actually allowed to walk on! My kids, who have been in some of the largest cities in the world for the last 8 weeks, were in heaven. You would think they had never seen a lawn before. Archer was leaping around out of sheer joy before they all got down to a serious game of tag.
The highlight of the second day was definitely the late lunch Japanese BBQ. Mike found the place wandering around the alley’s near our hotel. We had this whole cave-like room to ourselves, one end was open to outside and the other end was a mirror.
The kids LOVED cooking their own meat on the grills in the middle of the tables. They were obsessed. The food was really good, but the kids loved it even more because they cooked it. No one got burned – miracle.
One of Linc’s friends from his soccer team happened to be in Tokyo the same time we were! We met them for dinner at a small pizza joint in Roppongi that served gluten free pizzas (more miracles!). Roppongi is a fun area to cruise around, super lively at night.
While not terribly Japanese, the pizza place was a fun night. So fun that Archer fell asleep. Hahaha- shocker!
More about our time in Japan tomorrow!
じゃあね (jaa ne)