Welcome to my second vacation
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Continuing here with the next 3 days.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The crows had their own little beach where they collected to bathe in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
& Olufsen in Harajuku, it was the only place we saw one of
shops, so that they probably do not have that many (if any more) in the
Tokyo area (or Japan for that matter).
We walked past the Shibuya-AX concert place, nice to know for a future
reference, and continued until we came to Tokyu Hands.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Some colourful leaves on the way up. Any short break to take a picture
or two was appreciated.
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.
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 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.
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.
The view in a different direction. I could not find Mt. Fuji though,
probably lost in the clouds and mist.
Green, red and yellow leaves. After a short rest and a snack we chose a
different route downwards.
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.
Some not-so-young ladies having a rest and a snack on the path.
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!
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
November 14: Tokyo - Ginza, Kanda
A fairly warm and sunny day.
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.
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.
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
Then ended up on the wrong side of a large street with Jinbocho to the
right, on the other side.
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.
continued to Tokyo Dome, did not enter though just walked a bit around
outside, watching the lighted trees just outside the Dome.
Another view of the trees.
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.
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.
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