Likewise, our Day 2 weather is even worse. The rain shower is slightly heavier accompanied by gentle winds making it even colder compared to the previous day. The sky is condensed ash grey and seemed to pour down graciously later. Today’s itinerary is mainly Asakusa and Odaiba as illustrated in the below image.
We had a delicious instant noodles for breakfast bought at the convenience store last night matched with bread and a hot coffee and chocolate. The day in Tokyo appears to start as early as 5 AM. Around those times, outside our window next to our bed is already bright.
We started our exploration starting at Asakusa station which is at one end of the Tsukuba Express, just one transfer from the Joban line where our closest Kameari Station is. As the train nears the terminal station, we can get a glimpse of the towering Tokyo Skytree which is not part of our to-visit-list. The Skytree is said to be the tallest tower not only in Japan but in the whole world – that was a few years back. Today, it is now just one of Tokyo’s most prominent landmark. It is not cheap to get up there and I have been to high towers before and I feel the views will always be the same – small and unrecognizable and dizzying (except maybe for the Mount Fuji which you would be able to see on a clear cloudless day) so I did not include going up the tower’s observatory. They say the view up there is marvelous. I say, you don’t need to be up there and spend excessively to see marvelous views. It is just a matter of perspective.
On our way to Sumida River Park we saw this tree with little pinkish white flowers – cherry blossoms! Finally ticked off one from our bucket list. The other trees has not bloomed yet. They all looked sick and scary lifeless branches.
With this sight, I remembered when I was doing my Tokyo planning, the familiar Sumida River/Park stretch is lined with cherry blossom trees too! So, we went on to walk along the Sumida Park first since it is just across the street of the Asakusa Station.
And we were not disappointed.
Here is a closer look at the pretty flowers. (Click to enlarge)
It took us some time to move on from our fascination over the cherry blossoms before we continued our walk to Sensoji Shrine. The street is packed massively with people not only because of the shrine but the surrounding neighborhood is the Asakusa Nakamise which is a shopping street of all sorts mostly souvenirs and japanese snacks.
Below is the street leading to Sensoji Temple. (Click to enlarge)
Below is a display from a nearby shop of miniature figures. KiSamaru fitted in so well.
More photos of the Asakusa Nakamise-dori below. (Click to enlarge)
And yup, we went in to explore Sensoji Shrine. (Click to enlarge)
This has quite caught our attention – a fine looking Caucasian lady.
More inside Sensoji Shrine below. (Click to enlarge)
Below are some of the snacks we tried at the Nakamise-dori. (Click to enlarge)
Our next stop is the Hama-Rikyu Gardens. The idea of a garden is quite mundane and it doesn’t sound interesting at all. We just wanted to try the water bus and see Tokyo through its waters. Having a pocket WiFi is really an indespensable tool when travelling specially on the navigation part providing us ease of locating our destinations through google maps.
We took our exit from Sensoji Shrine and headed out to Tokyo Cruise. It is not difficult to find as it is just across the street next to a bridge along Sumida River. The attendants at the center are very friendly. Although they don’t speak English, they seem to explain how the tickets are sold on a way we can somehow understand them. The cruise stops at Hama-Rikyu, at the Hinode Pier and then back to Asakusa. Some cruise go even further until near Tokyo Bay. Our Hama-Rikyu stop cost about 980 yen (slightly over S$10, slightly less than PHP500) per adult and my daughter who is just 6 year old is free fortunately. The adult fare includes entrance to the garden. The cruise to Hama-Rikyu is approximately 35 minutes and passes along many bridges of the big city. You can check more details here on timetables and fares of the Tokyo Cruise.
The first 10 minutes of the cruise was okay listening to the soft English recording from the water bus. The next 20 minutes, me and my Lil’ Miss were asleep. We reached Hama-Rikyu stop and the boat slowly docked as Japanese announcements were made. A few passengers went in. We thought we will be asked to alight at least in English and we thought the crew were securing the boat for the alighting of the passengers but we were wrong. The water bus slowly disembarked away from the pier fast enough for us not to be able to alight. We took our disappointment into laughter and instead of whining and wasting another trip we decided to alight at the next stop which is at the Hinode Pier. Hinode is not too far anyway from Hama-Rikyu, just 2 train stations and a little walk, we finally got in the garden. I have totally forgotten that our garden admission was already included in our water bus that I again bought another set of tickets to get inside the garden. What a waste.
Our efforts to visit Hama-rikyu Garden was never, on the contrary, a waste. Opposingly to the mundane impression, Japanese gardens are really worth a visit. As cherry blossoms are in full bloom later this March, the main attraction here in Hama-rikyu currently is the field of rapeseed flowers.
More inside Hama-Rikyu Garden.
…and more of the garden.
Last stop for today is Odaiba. It is getting dark quickly and as recommended, we took a seat at the front car of the elevated train of the Yurikamome line for the best view.
Spectacular isn’t it?
Odaiba area doesn’t have much to offer I think. Mostly shopping as AquaCity, Decks, Diver City and Palette town are all there. Some attractions like Trick Art and Legoland can be found there too but it didn’t really took our attention instead we did a little shopping since this side of Tokyo are mainly shopping malls before we finally went back to Kameari for another big day tomorrow.
San Francisco and New York in one place – Odaiba.
Supper. Nothing tasted better than authentic Japanese goodies.
So many sights, so many foods, so little time.
Please support my cause as I run the New York City Marathon for Team For Kids.