On Friday morning we headed to Tokyo Imperial Palace to walk around its beautiful gardens. As the end of Autumn looms near, the leaves were truly spectacular. A rainbow of oranges, reds and browns greeted us and accompanied us as we wandered along the paths in between the trees. The gardens provided a little haven from the hustle and bustle of the city and were in stark juxtaposition Akiharbara, where we headed after lunch.
As the buzz of Pachinko machines filled the air, we knew we had reached the capital of all things electronic. The buildings of Akiharbara were covered in Anime cartoons and adverts for the latest Manga comics as teenagers and comic lovers hurried around us, ducking and diving into the shops to get their fill of the latest and greatest Otaku goods. Of course, our curiosity got the better of us and we soon joined them, wandering along rows filled with figurines and dolls of anime characters, soundtrack CDs from cartoons, posters and cosplay outfits. I felt like I had stepped into a secret world that I truly knew absolutely nothing about.
With the afternoon drawing to a close, we headed to the very crowded Sensoji Shrine. As the oldest temple in Tokyo and with its striking colours it was understandable why so many Japanese locals and tourists alike poured through the imposing Thunder Gate towards the Main Hall to pay their respects and ask for good fortune. Of course, we weren’t going to miss a chance to seize some good luck ourselves, and so we shook the metal container, drew out a stick and matched its symbol to the corresponding drawer to reveal our fortunes. With my fingers crossed in western style, I luckily drew out ‘better fortune’ and hoped it would ensure the rest of the trip would be as great as the start.
With my luck in hand we strolled around the streets surrounding the temple. A buzz filled the air as we passed market stalls selling souvenirs and bars with locals eating and drinking on small terraces. It felt like we had visited three totally different faces of this incredible city within a matter of hours and I had been more than enchanted by all of them. And to top it off we finished the night with some wonderful sushi from Genki Sushi. Ordering from an electronic menu on a tablet in front of you, the dish whizzed from the kitchen to your place along a track, stopping for you to take it off before you sent the tray back to the kitchen the way it came. This was high tech eating and what a way to finish an adventure filled day!