Winter Travels – Tokyo (Day 1)

Day one in Tokyo, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do. That’s not strictly speaking true, as I’d read a blog the day before I left which suggested 50 things to see and do in Tokyo. I’d jotted down a few notes, but last time I only spent about a day there, and could only remember a couple of things I did. I also didn’t have any guide book. I decided that, because my hotel was in the east of the city, I’d do the east today, and then head west tomorrow. So, checking my subway map, I worked out a rough path to follow. It began with a visit to the Sensoji temple.

I don’t remember going here before, and it was a pleasant couple of hours. There was a traditional shopping street in front of the temple, which I wandered down and took in the sights and smells of the place. It was very nice weather – not too cold, not too hot. I’d taken my warm(ish) coat which I wear in Beijing in the winter, which was enough. I didn’t need to use my hat and gloves.

It was nice just to potter. It was quite busy, but was still able to wander around largely unimpeded. For lunch, I’d decided to get some sandwiches and head to Ueno Park, and have a mini picnic. The park was one of the places I do remember visiting last time. When I was there before, it was late March/early April; cherry-blossom season. This time, there was but one tree with flowering blossom. During the cherry-blossom bloom, people sit under them, take picnics and spend the day there. I had my sandwiches on a bench, not under the tree, but the one flowering tree did have some interest from keen photographers. The park also includes a number of museums, such as the National Museum (which I didn’t visit), and the Nature and Science Museum, which I did.

The Nature and Science Museum had a massive statue of a blue whale outside. Inside it was five floors of dinosaurs, animals, and tales of scientific endeavour. Most of the information was in Japanese, but there was usually enough English to understand what the display was showing. There was an additional area in an out-building which had a special exhibition in it – ancient Andean civilisations. This was very popular, full of people. But it was reasonably interesting, especially because my knowledge of Andean civilisations is quite limited.

I took the subway to the main train station, and ended up in a small art gallery in the former Mitsubishi building.

After this, it was getting late, so I took the subway back to my hotel, and went to a restaurant for food.

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