Monday 4 May 2015
Highlights: Marriage Ceremony, Asakusa Kannon (Buddist) Temple, Meiji Shinto Shrine, Boat cruise
Today I organised a day tour around Tokyo called the Panaoramic Toyko Day Tour which included a Bay Cruise. I was happy that I managed to navigate the train system and find my way to the Bus Terminal for the tours start without issue.
First up was a visit to the Meiji Shinto Shrine which is the old Japanese religion that focussed on current life, not the afterlife. Most Japanese are Buddist but the religions can go together so the majority follow both even if Shinto is more out of tradition and Buddism is more the religion. We were extremely lucky to see two marriage ceremonies take place. Usually this only happens on Sunday’s but this week both Monday and Tuesday are public holidays so there were traditional marriage ceremonies today.
Next up was a visit to Imperial Palace East Garden. The Imperial Palace itself can’t be viewed and can only be seen (from the outside) on the Emperor’s birthday and New Year’s Celebration (2 January). You can see the gardens which are beautiful. We got to hear the Imperial Police practising kendo, very loudly.
Next was a visit to Asakusa Kannon (Buddist) Temple. A real highlight the place was packed with local tourists (since it was a public holiday). You have to watch for people throwing coins into the Temple for good luck.
We had lunch on the 12th floor of a hotel near the sea that provided an excellent view of the city. The three courses were delicious even the vegetable soup.
The short one hour cruise granted me a better understanding of the city layout and some great Panaoramic views. I just had to watch out for the strong winds. We finished up on a man-made Island viewing a mini Stature of Liberty.
Today I also learned it’s hard to use credit or debit cards issued outside of Japan. There are also few ATMs even though they wouldn’t work for me. The good thing is the Post Office and 7 Elevens have ATMs that work for overseas cards. Finding a Post Office outside Tokyo Central Station I withdraw a lot of cash to see me though hopefully for the trip.