We had a bit of a late start today, mainly because I was still sore, tired and sick and wasn’t ready to begin my day as early as we had been. Plus if you’ve ever been to Japan you’ll know that nothing much opens before 10am anyway.
Finally getting up and ready our first exploration of the day ended up being Ueno Park seeing as there had been train issues and we missed out the first day we planned to go. I have heard Ueno Park is beautiful but I would have to disagree for a visit in November. The giant pond which I was hoping would be beautiful was full of half dead or dead and dried water Lillie’s. This makes me think that maybe if you came to this park in spring or summer (whenever Lilly season is) that it would be lush, colourful and beautiful. One cool thing we did enjoy was the little handfuls of rice a local man was handing out for tourists to feed dozens of little sparrows. The sparrows fly right into your hand and eat the rice… I just hope it’s not bad for them.
Keeping up with the days theme of seeing things we missed previously we decided our next stop would be Asakusa shopping street and Sensoji Temple which I’m so glad we did because they were both beautiful. The shopping street is mostly Japanese souvenirs and snacks but honestly we haven’t seen much of that so far and I promised my mum a few Japanese souvenirs so this was perfect. The temple was also beautifully done, so detailed and impressive and the girls dressed in traditional Japanese dresses only added to the beauty. After the Main Street and temple we veered down a side street in search of food where we pleasantly found more beautiful shopping and a great little place to eat. Amanda had crispy noodles with stir fried veggies and seafood on top and I had our first Ramen of the trip which was delicious!
Our plan for the afternoon was to visit the imperial palace but unfortunately we ended up with conflicting information and arrived on the grounds just as it closed. We might try again another day, however the park surrounding the palace is quite beautiful. While sitting in the sun deciding what to do next we were closely passed by a group of suited men with lots of security guards. We believe the men may have been ex US president/s and politicians. We need to appreciate that things don’t always go the way we planned but sometimes the situation that arises from that is just as exciting as the original plan… Hello Mr President!
We made the call to head back to Shinjuku and check out the famous Golden Gai and Red Light Districts. While trying to find our way we discovered a celebration at a temple near Golden Gai full of food and beautiful lanterns. We strolled around the market admiring all that was on offer but unfortunately I just wasn’t well enough to take full advantage. Golden Gai was a place I had heard amazing things about but we didn’t even consider the fact that it was a Sunday night and things might not be open. We walked through the tiny streets but there were very few places open.. sigh. On our way home we ventured through Shinjuku’s red lightning district but nothing caught our eye so it was burgers for dinner then bed.