Tokyo and mountains
November 2007

Welcome to my second vacation in Japan

Diary

There are about 3 days per page, to reduce loading times, and the days can also be directly accessed fromt the menu on the right.

Continuing here with the next 3 days.

Monday, November 12: Tokyo - Harajuku, Shibuya

A sunny monday morning and it turned out to be quite a warm day, with a t-shirt being more than enough.

We started out by going to Harajuku station and on our way to the Yogigi park walked past the big torii gate to the Meiji shrine.

Blog Image

To get the Yogigi park we had to walk around along the road, it is a bit 'hidden' from Harajuku station. First impression of the park, which remained, was that it was a public park where you walk around but where there is really not that much to look at other than the other people walking around. It looks pretty much like a European public park.

Blog Image

A lot of pets were being walked in the park and they were not only dogs, this woman was giving her (what seriously looked like a) marmot, some running-around-time. On our way out a couple of rabbits were giving some free time, which could seem a bit risky with the number of dogs in the park.

Blog Image

There were a few nice yellowish, redish leaves in the park. Note the guy with the naked upper body towards the lower right in the picture above. Just to his right is a conga drum and that turned out to be bad news. A few minuttes he started working the drum, which could be heard all over the park and he only paused for a minute or so once or twice. I really disliked the sound of congas before now I truly hate them (after been forced to listen them for an hour or so while we walked around in the park) - and crows I really hate them as well, more about this later.

Blog Image

It was pretty soon clear that it was too soon for koyo in Tokyo, so there were only a few trees that had started turning redish at this time. But you take what you can get.

Blog Image

The crows had their own little beach where they collected to bathe in the water.

The crows were everywhere, they are basically everywhere in Tokyo but there were lots of them in the park and after an hour of crowing with underlying non-rhytm provided by the conga drummer, the crows could be very happy that I did not have access to a gun otherwise I might have revised my stance on killing animals.

Blog Image

The solitary crane and the solitary turtle sunning. The crane got at least one small fish while I watched it, unfortunately I did no get a good shot of that. The crane turned out to be the most interesting thing about the park, I am sorry to say, it is not a park I need to revisit.

Blog Image

Walking back past the station we ran acroos the Snoopy Town shop. Which has anything Snoopy or Peanuts related. Some ended up spending quite a while in the shop, can not remember if they bought anything.

We then continued down the walking street like last time (the cook was still at the entrance but not doing anything interesting this time). Sadly since last time a couple of pushers had made there entry on the stree, otherwise it looked the same. Anders managed to buy a long-sleeved t-shirt which was probably intended as an oversized t-shirt for a teenager, but that was the only thing that fit him.
smiley

We continued a bit arount the back and side streets (we did not visit any museums or shrines as intended - at least by me - it was starting to get hot so ...) and found a burger place to eat - that made excellent burgers by the way. And with some entertainment with a photoshoot going on 4 meters away, there was something to look at during lunch - at least for me.

Shibuya is fairly close by so we the started to walk towards it.

Blog Image

There are quite a lot of trees along many roads/streets even in the center area of Tokyo, a rather starch contrast to Copenhagen where the bicycle and car traffic has higher priority.

Blog Image

Bang & Olufsen in Harajuku, it was the only place we saw one of their shops, so that they probably do not have that many (if any more) in the Tokyo area (or Japan for that matter).

Blog Image

We walked past the Shibuya-AX concert place, nice to know for a future reference, and continued until we came to Tokyu Hands.

Spent quite some time at the Tokyu Hands with has everything for the home running across several floors. It literally seems to have everything, it is quite worth the visit especially to buy (and see) ordinary home utilities and stuff. Fortunately after a long day and walk the need to shop part of my brain had shut down temporarily.

We dropped Helle off at Cafe Denmark (at the crossing in Shibuya, go up the street that passes to the left of the building where the Starbucks is at the 1st floor and it will be to the left at the following crossing - note if you continue up that street you will run into Tokyu Hands at the right), which had nothing common but the name. We then continued to Tsutaya, the big CD, DVD and to a lesser degree book shop which shares the building with Starbucks, and I bought a couple of CDs, chatmonchy's latest, Tokyo Jihen's latest, soundtrack (and DVD with openings and endings) for the Gurren Lagann anime series. Picked up Helle again and went hotel bound.

In the evening a quick visit to Akihabara and the big Yodobashi shop (it is on several large floors and has basically everything electric, so calling it just a shop may be a bit ...), where we bought the Fujifilm F50fd camera(s), which were quite frankly very cheap.

Unsorted photos from this day are available here.

Tuesday, November 13: Mt. Takao

In the evening before I had suggested a trip to Kamakura, but in the morning a quick change of mind and off to Mt. Takao we went. A rather long train trip with first JR lines to Takao and then a change to Keio line and a short trip to Takaosan-guchi which is the train station just at the bottom of Mt. Takao. On the last part of the trip I got a short glimpse of Mt. Fuji, but did not realize that until later on shortly before coming into Takaosan-guchi station.

A look at the map beside the station together with a lot of local tourists, I do not think I saw any other foreign tourists, besides us, during this day. We chose a route and of course went the wrong path, which turned out to be quite good as we ended up on the route that the most were taking.

Blog Image

A look down on Takaosan-guchi town on beginning the ascent up the sacred mountain. Here one is still full of energy and can walk past the older Japanese tourists walking up the mountain.

Blog Image

Not always walking the 2,5 km at an angle, sometimes there were stairs. At this point it was getting quite tiresome continously walking at an upward angle, any change like the stairs above were an appreciated change. At this point it is getting difficult to pass the 70-80 year old folks walking with a stick as they are nearly walking just as fast as me, and they were keeping up the steam and not sounding like a foghorn like I was.

Blog Image

Some colourful leaves on the way up. Any short break to take a picture or two was appreciated.

Blog Image

About halfway up a look towards Tokyo, zoomed at 5x to 6x times. Here it was possible to get a view of Tokyo without too many trees obscuring it.

Blog Image

A small shrine roughly at the halfway point. It was nice to notice that we were not the only ones that were using this halfway point as a small break on the upward tour. After a small break we continued upward to the top.

The top was not really a top in the ordinary sense but more of an area where of facilities where available, including the end station of the cablecars.

Blog Image

View towards Tokyo from the Visitor Center at the top of Mt. Takao.

We did not visit the Takaosan Yakuōin Yūkiji buddhist temple at the top, I forgot all about it when we were there.

Blog Image

The view in a different direction. I could not find Mt. Fuji though, probably lost in the clouds and mist.

Blog Image

Green, red and yellow leaves. After a short rest and a snack we chose a different route downwards.

Blog Image

This route, was definitely a much more rough path than on the way up. Most of the time one had to be quite aware where one was stepping.

Blog Image

Some not-so-young ladies having a rest and a snack on the path.

Blog Image

After coming down, we went up and down again with the Takao Mountain Railroad chairlift. Which was quite an event considering my fear of falling from heights, and this was really not helped by the fact that there were no safety belts, slippery short seat and I was carrying a backpack in one hand and a quite heavy camera in the other. In the picture, one can see in the far end that there is really a rather steep climb, going up was bad, going down again was really really not good, the drop was several meters, the problems is one would not stop falling down until one reached the bottom - so going into ones inner calm was a real necessity. It certainly did not help sharing the seat with someone who squirmed about and was busy leaning forward taking photos!
smiley

It was one of the best days on this trip though.

In the evening we did a quick trip to Akihabara and the Yodobashi shop to buy an iPod Touch.

200 photos from this day are available here.

Wednesday, November 14: Tokyo - Ginza, Kanda

A fairly warm and sunny day.

Blog Image

We went to the Kabuki-za theater in Ginza, but then decided to go to the Sony Center building close by. Got a chance to see the Rolly in real life, which was unfortunately a bit of a downer. Sound was not that good and they were currently sold out, luckily so no temptation.

Blog Image

A trip bacl to the 7-Eleven close by the hotel for some lunch and a rest. Later on Helle and I went for the Kanda walk, which was actually one of those walks I had planned and made a map of, and printed out and said map I lost within probably 500 meters of the hotel. So from there on we went by the street maps.

Blog Image

Sometimes you come across this odd things in Tokyo like in the midst of all the modern buildings, there is suddenly an old wood building. The first point on the map had been Jinbocho (the bookshop area, known from among other things the 'Read or Die' and 'Read or Dream' manga's and anime's). Well we had a bit of trouble finding it, so we walked a bit around in some small side streets, then decided to walk the larger streets.

Blog Image

Then ended up on the wrong side of a large street with Jinbocho to the right, on the other side.

Blog Image

We then proceeded to walking towards the Tokyo Dome and there were lots and lots of small shops on the way. Many small 'book' shops selling eroge type books of different types, and some more ordinary used book shops, but many other small shops.

Blog Image

We continued to Tokyo Dome, did not enter though just walked a bit around outside, watching the lighted trees just outside the Dome.

Blog Image

Another view of the trees.

Blog Image

Some of the rides in the amusement park at the Dome. The park on the other side of the Dome was actually a nice koyo spot, but it was beginning to get late so we started walking back towards Akihabara.

Blog Image

But not until going past some more colourful Christmas stuff, and a shop selling quite a lot of Studio Ghibli merchendaise. The planned walk along Kanda river turned out to be along the river, it was just nearly impossible to see it most of the time as it was hidden by bushes and so much lower than the road we were walking by.

Blog Image

Used the chance to take some photos of the blue trees at Akihabara. From there we headed home, and later in the evening we had the most expensive chinese dinner ever, especially compared to the Italian and Japanese restaurants we ate at during this trip.

Unsorted photos can be found here.


...continue to next page
 Totoro42Blue