(March 16 to 18)

We flew from Orlando to Houston and connected with our thirteen hour flight on ANA to Tokyo. We arrived in Tokyo in the early evening next day and took the train to our hotel. By the time we arrived, we were exhausted and went straight to sleep.

Our hotel was right next to the Shingawa Railway Station, which was very convenient. This is the view from our hotel window.

Shingawa Railway Station

Day 1 in Tokyo

Next morning, we met our tour guide in the hotel lobby and headed across the street to the Railway Station to collect our Japan Rail Pass. It took a while, as other tourists were ahead of us, but eventually, we had our passes in hand and set off to see Tokyo.

Our first stop was the Tsukiji Fish Market. The actual fish market is no longer located here, but there are many shops and restaurants and it's very popular with tourists. Although it was originally a fish market, they also sell meat, both cooked and uncooked.

As we hadn't had time for breakfast, we decided an early lunch was in order. There were lines for all the restaurants, but our guide found one that had just opened and we were able to get a seat without a wait. 

Our tour guide and Kristine looking for her lunch

This was a classic Japanese "fast food"  sushi restaurant where the food goes round on a conveyor belt and you select what you want. Most plates are just one or two mouthfuls, but it's not expensive.

The color of the plate determines the price and at the end the waitress adds up what you have eaten and you pay on the way out. There is a menu for more expensive items and these are prepared to order.

After lunch, we took the Tokyo subway to our next stop, where we hoped to see the famous Cherry Blossoms. Although the subway could be crowded, we never actually saw people being pushed onto the train. It was usually busy, like this, but bearable.

Until recently, masks were required on the subway, but this rule was no longer enforced, but many people were still following the old rule and we did the same, when we remembered.

The Tokyo Subway

Sadly, the cherry blossoms were only just starting to bloom in Tokyo, so they weren't very impressive, but we did see more later on our trip.

Our next stop was the Shibuya Crossing, supposedly the world's busiest pedestrian crossing. The day we were there, it wasn't all that busy, but still impressive to see.

Then on to the Meiji Jingu Shrine - the busiest Shinto shrine in Japan. Started in 1915, it honors the Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912. It's surrounded by a forest and is a popular place to visit for tourists and locals alike.

Moving on, we next went to the Tokyo Sky Tree - the Tokyo version of the The Eiffel Tower. As it was a rather cloudy day and we were running late anyway, we decided we wouldn't actually go up the tower.

The Tokyo Sky Tree

Our last stop for the day was the Senso-Ji Temple in Asakusa, the busiest Buddhist temple in Japan. The entrance to the Temple was through a gate and down a long line of shops. 

Many of the Universities in Tokyo and elsewhere were graduating their students and many of the females graduates dressesd in traditional kimonos. 

At the end of the line of shops was the Senso-Ji Temple

At the side of the temple was a tree in full blossom, which looked wonderful, but it wasn't a cherry blossom - it was a plum tree in blossom !

Day 2 in Tokyo

On day two, we were on our own and frankly pretty tired after our long flight and a very busy first day. It was also raining and quite chilly. We took the subway to an area of Tokyo known as the "Golden Gai" or "Golden Block".  It's a block of six narrow alleyways filled with 200 bars, pubs and restaurants. It's one of the few areas in Tokyo that wasn't destroyed in WWII and has been saved from redevelopment. It's obviously an area that should be be visited at night, but during the day, almost everything was closed.

I'm afraid that during the day, it looked pretty scruffy and we didn't have the energy to go back at night.

On our way back to the hotel, we spotted Godzilla.

He's located on top of a tall building and apparently from time to time he blows smoke and his eyes flash, but we didn't see it for ourselves.

We did spend time wandering around the shops in the Shinjuku area (where Godzilla is located) but we didn't find anything of interest and we eventually made our way back to the hotel for an afternoon nap.