I consider myself to be a fairly worldly person. I’ve gotten around a fair bit and have seen a lot of places, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a city as big as Tokyo. It just seems to go on forever! This is a super cool thing about Tokyo, until you’re trying to plan out an itinerary that guarantees you’ll see everything. Yeah, I had to get that ‘everything’ notion out of my head very quickly, but the fact remained that there is a whole lot to see and we had to work quickly to see as much of it as we could.
So, the bright idea was hatched to take a tour. Normally I’m perfectly happy to wander around with nothing but a guidebook and a map, but Tokyo was different and we really didn’t know where to start. We figured that with a tour we’d be sure to see the ‘big stuff’, and then we could spend the rest of our time exploring other parts of the city and, of course, cat cafes. The tour ended up being a great introduction to Tokyo, so I figured I’d recreate it for you here:
After Tokyo Tower, we made our way over to the Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya. Meiji is a Shinto shrine that dates back to 1920.
After the shrine, we headed over to visit the Imperial Palace East Garden. It’s only been open to the public since 1961, and the Imperial Palace itself is completely off-limits to visitors except for two days a year (January 2nd for a new years greeting, and December 23rd to celebrate the emperor’s birthday).
After spending our morning wandering through shrines and gardens, we were seriously ready for lunch. The afternoon was to be filled with a visit to the Hama-Rikyu Garden, a cruise on the Sumida River, and a stop at the Asakusa Kannon Temple (which was right near the top of my ‘must see’ list). But, I’ll save all that for Part II. In the meantime, you can check out more images of the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace East Garden, and Tokyo over at Flickr. For now, its lunch time: