I booked a tour for my last full day in Asia designed to hit most of the tourist spots in Tokyo. I woke up at 7:00 AM and took the subway across Tokyo to meet my tour group.
Our first stop was the Meiji Shrine. It is a Shinto shrine that was built to honor the Emperor Meiji, the Emperor credited with opening Japan to the West in the early 1900’s. The Shinto religion believes in ancestor and natural worship and coexists with Buddhism as a parallel religion. The shrine is in a man made forest with 365 types of trees that were donated from all over Japan.
Sake barrels at the entrance to the Meiji Shrine
One of the gates to the Meiji Shrine
People come here to wish for good fortune, specifically students before big exams
We learned how to properly cleanse our body before entering the shrine.
We even saw a traditional Shinto wedding procession.
Giant lantern hanging from Asakusa Temple
Burning incense in front of Asakusa Temple
Other building in Asakusa
The area also had many souvenir shops and food stalls. I ate a dessert that was like a cherry paste tempura. It was delicious.
After the temple, we drove through the Ginza district of the city which is the equivalent of 5th Avenue in New York. Then, we went to lunch at a restaurant on the 12th floor of a hotel with views overlooking the city. The meal was a Western meal, unfortunately, so I had a steak. Then, we went to the harbor for a 50 minute sightseeing cruise of Tokyo.
Then, we went to a lookout point on a man-made island with a very interesting view. Tokyo has a miniature version Statue of Liberty in front of a bridge that looks a bit like the Golden Gate Bridge and you can see Tokyo Tower which is modeled after the Eiffel Tower in the distance!
Sites similar to the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge & the Eiffel Tower all in one shot!
Then, our tour ended and I went back to my hostel for 15 minutes before walking to Tokyo’s new TV tower, the Tokyo Skytree.
I decided to have a tempura dinner next to the Skytree. I was at a restaurant that specialized in fish tempura so I had a shrimp tempura and a squid tempura. I liked the shrimp, but the squid was too rubbery. My dessert was ice cream tempura which was delicious!
Ice Cream Tempura
After dinner, I went back to my hostel and packed before going to bed.