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The Remains of the Edo

Another spectacular November day, sunny, occasional clouds,
up to 20 degrees, light breeze.  No complaints.
SS in front of a water lily lake



We headed up to Ueno, a large park with almost a dozen
museums, a zoo, a children’s theme park, a couple of Shinto shrines, a faux lagoon,
and umpteen diversions.  Streams of
people were headed in to look at art, good art mind you, including a show from
the Uffizi, but it was just too pleasant to be inside.  SS nixed a paddle in a swan boat!
We spent a good half hour at the Toshogu shrine, a Shinto
complex that dates back to 1617, including a pagoda, 48 bronze and over
200 stone lanterns.  Now a UNESCO
Heritage Site, the special charm is that the $5 entry fee keeps tourists at
bay.  Go figure.  The peony garden was not in bloom…
600 year old camphor tree. The rope, or shimenawa, is meant to ward off evil spirits


Details of the Shinto Toshogu Shrine at Ueno







One of 48 bronze and over 200 stone lanterns


Pagoda next to the shrine



SS amongst the lanterns
We circumnavigated the Ueno park afterwards then took the
subway to Asakusa.


Market stalls leading to the Buddhist temple



Touristy, overflowing with kitsch, and adorned in the Edo
style, it still reeks of charm and quaintness. It was wonderful to return in fair weather, after we got rained out on Saturday.






We refrained from buying plastic or “real” samurai wigs or any of the get-up being hawked in stalls, but I thought of Jane who might look very smart in a geisha outfit (one product was “for your inner princess”).  In amongst the plastic keychains and waving kitties (maneki-neko), were actual artisans with wood block prints, traditional wooden combs carved from boxwood, hand painted fans, embroidered silks and gorgeous obis.For lunch we made our way to Aoi-Marushin, a tempura place lauded in
the guide books and on many blogs. It was, yes, very good tempura, but tempura
all the same.


Purple potato.  Buckwheat.  Easy for SS to stay off the sugar
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens


After lunch we took the subway to the Koishikawa Korakuen
Gardens, a special respite in the proverbial urban jungle.  Being Japan’s Culture Day it made sense to
pay tribute to the Cultural Heritage Gardens.
Originally designed in 1629, the streams, ponds and bridges (in the park translated as rivers and mountains), now hemmed
in by towering office blocks, are both tranquil and calming, carrying the
Japanese designation of Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic

Roller Coaster adjacent to the park



You should have heard the screams






A ceremony of some sort attracted a small crowd

As it was getting late we made our way back to the hotel,
then out for a simple meal at Izakaya Vin, a small Japanese bistro in Shibuya.


The author of Here Hare has traveled to over 45 countries on six continents, and has lived in Canada, the UK and Australia.

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