A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

View near me (Asakusa), note the Asahi Super Dry Building (my favourite...

At last a photo of me, by the huge lantern at the...

Asakusa corner shop


Senso-Ji`s huge lanterns


Lanterns softly illuminate Senso-Ji

Senso-Ji in daylight




Tokyo from the river

Hama Rikyu Garden

Hama Rikyu Garden

Hama Rikyu Garden

Graveyard at Zojo-ji and Tokyo Tower

Red torii tunnel at Hei-Jinja

Imperial Palace

Wake up in Seoul and go to bed in Tokyo, isn‘t travelling great! Comparisons: Seoul for the more mature and culture-seeking traveller, Tokyo for the younger, trendier and livelier, me in other words (if only!) Seoul is a lot cheaper, Tokyo is a lot (and I mean a lot) busier, and has considerably more neon that even Seoul does. And Korea is clearly a lot more conservative and restrained than Japan.

I am staying in Asukusa which bills itself as traditional Tokyo and is nice despite being touristy and busy. I put my laptop in to be repaired (the fan has gone and hence it won`t work) which was quite a challenge with my non-technical Japanese and their complete lack of English. I am a spit from almost the best temple in Tokyo, a very busy place called Senso-Ji a few hundred metres away. I had a nice wander around at night, very atmospheric with all these little lanterns, and then back home to lounge around in my compact room in my Japanese dressing gown (yukata), though I am still avoiding experimenting with the bidet function on the high-tech toilet...


Initially I wasn`t even going to come to Tokyo, as the sights didn`t sound that good, or at least as attractive as others elsewhere in Japan. To some extent this was confirmed by today`s exploring all over the City; enjoyable and interesting, but not amazing. However, it is the experience of Tokyo that is the thing, rather than individual sights as such, and it is definitely worth visiting here for that. I have to say though that I don`t really like all this business about weearing face masks and gloves, as so many people do in Asia, and particularly in Japan. I can`t help feeling that its both neurotic and a bit rude somehow. What`s wrong with my germs anyway? (I was scanned going into Korea (just like in the Will Smith film I Am Legend), and was pronounced clear of nasties).

So first of all today I visited Senso-Ji again in daylight, and then to the river bus all the way down the river from Asakusa to the Hama Rokyu Garden, a lovely garden with a classic tea-house surrounded by looming office buildings. Then to a couple more temples, Zojo-Ji and Hei-Jinja, I think the second one was a Shinto shrine. And lastly to look at the outside of the Royal Palace, well defended by a very serious moat. A long and interesting day. Tomorrow I head north!

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