We didn’t sleep 12 hours as I anticipated the day before, we were too excited to sleep. Bright and early, with coffee in one hand and map in the other (and also my enormously huge lens I rented for the trip) we decided to walk all the way from Shinjuku to Meiji Shrine. A very pleasant, just under 4km, walk. The weather was nice, so what better way to learn about a new city than by walking and seeing everything?
This post is part of a series:
Tokyo Day 1 – first steps in Japan & discovering Shinjuku
Tokyo Day 2 – the day we walked a lot
Tokyo Day 3 – Tokyo Skytree, kimonos and knives
Tokyo Day 4 – the one with an early start
Tokyo Day 5 – the one when we ran away
Meiji Shrine Complex
Surrounded by an impressive size (over 700 000 square meters) forest looks and feels like an oasis in the middle of the big city.
Despite the quite early hour, there was one wedding happening after another. And not your usual western white-dress-and-suit kind of wedding – it was in a full-blown traditional Japanese way. We were able to see only the procession part, but it was quite interesting to see.
We wandered around for a while and when we decided to leave and walk through one of the gates we stumbled upon a wedding photoshoot preparations. The most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen was standing there in a red traditional gown, and 3 other people were working around her to make her look perfect – they not only adjusted every little crease on the dress, but they were also setting her hands and arms in that one, ideal configuration. She stood there patiently, with her eyes closed, with perfect light coming through the clouds in that one spot – everything looked like a stage in a theatre. I couldn’t resist taking some photos too. The one below I love so much I printed it, framed and hang on my wall, to look at it all the time and remember one of my favourite moments which happened during our travels.
– Go there on Sunday, you’ll see many people dancing, practising performances and doing all sorts of crazy-creative things! – I read before the trip. That’s probably why I had very high hopes going there. It started well, 3 girls wearing Disney princesses inspired dresses were filming their dance. Then we walked around the park, saw a pug living a very hard #puglife being pushed by his owner in a doggy stroller (as we learned later, doggy strollers are a very popular thing in Tokyo), met a group of elderly men with big cameras taking photos of birds and that’s all. No one dancing to American pop music from the ’50s, no crazy things happening. Just a regular winter Sunday in a park (quite a nice park, I must admit). – That’s ok, we’re going to see some crazy sh*t in Harajuku, that’s where all the Gothic Lolitas and other Cosplay Maniacs are hanging out on Sundays.
tip: if you’re near the East side entrance to the park and getting hungry, there are food stalls just outside the park – try takoyaki, JPY500 for 6 big ones.
– But first, we have to try the famous Harajuku Crepes! – I commanded. The weather was getting worse. Few drops of rain fell on my face, the wind became stronger and the temperature dropped a little. – I hope they serve them warm – said Hubby when we were deciding on which flavour to pick. Well, I had bad news for him – they’re not warm and are served filled with ice cream. He enjoyed them nevertheless (double chocolate & banana from Sweet Box JPY490).
Then the rain started to become more and more unbearable. We walked quickly through Takeshita street without looking around much, desperate to hide from the rain in a nice restaurant, but we had no luck and wandered through a very shopping oriented area. Soaking wet and cold we decided to give up and catch a metro back to our hotel. Fortunately for us next to the metro entrance was a little tempura place, where we not only ate some delicious tempura dons but also warmed ourselves with hot green tea. An hour later the rain was even worse so, after all, we went back to the hotel.
A few hours later the sky cleared out, we weren’t shivering anymore after a nice hot bath, so we went back. No walking this time, we had the metro and ticket machines all worked out already and were too tired for another long walk.
Unfortunately, the weather was so bad it must have scared off most of the cool kids (or maybe cosplay is not a thing in winter?) and we didn’t see much. But we (or should I rather say: I) had fun shopping. Food-themed Converse shoes and a few pairs of cute socks are now among my favourite souvenirs ever.
Other than for shopping (where else would you find a Hello Kitty Men store?), to see the famous Shibuya crossing and the dog statue, I don’t see much reasons to visit this area. So we just quickly went through the crossing, twice actually, grabbed a coffee and called it a day.
Day 2 of our Tokyo trip
Day 2, despite freezing our a**es off, was definitely a highlight. I took my favourite photo of the trip (the bride), bought my favourite pair of Converse shoes to date and managed to walk an impressive count of over 30 000 steps.
Could day 3 be possibly even better? I had that birthday surprise planned for Hubby, so yes, I couldn’t wait for day 3.
For more photos from our Day 2 go to my Facebook page.