This post contains the journal of my Japan trip on day 5, 30 March 2017: Asakusa Temple, Minowa area stay, and Rikugien Garden.
You can read about the previous day of my trip (Hakone) here.
This is the day we moved out of our most comfortable apartment. What a sad day to begin with 😦
With a lot of struggle, we managed to stroll around the Sensoji at 7:15. Sensoji is a Buddhist temple located just beside the Sumida River. It was completed in the year 645, successfully hold the title of the oldest temple in Tokyo. Conveniently enough, we only had to walk about 1 km to reach the site. We planned to spend the whole morning there before checking out. The beautiful morning sun peeked out from the buildings across the temple. It was the day the temperature finally reached 11 degrees celsius in the morning!
I took off my coat and gleamed all way ’round.
Although it didn’t seem as warm (you can see people were still wearing coats), I didn’t mind at all. The wind froze my neck but what the hell!
About an hour we depleted solely for pictures. We also entered the temple building and took an omikuji (fortune-telling paper) each for JPY 100 (US$ 0.90).
I always felt that luck rarely favoured me, especially after the previous’ day trip. But this day I got the ‘regular good fortune’ one out of the random sticks, despite my failed attempt to decipher the saying. Sonia got the bad fortune one so she had to wrap it around one of the available..fences? Not an exactly bad way to start a day. Thankfully there wasn’t any major bad luck happening to her during the whole trip.
Anyway we kept cruising around the temple until the shops started to open. We bought an agemanju with sakura filling, a vending machine peach drink and a small bowl baked sweet potato (this one I forgot to save the picture). Great breakfast I must say!
Just in front of the baked sweet potato stall, there was a Japanese traditional snack store. Sonia bought some of them for her cousins while I was just looking around. We walked down the road and found a corner that sold JPY 400 (US$ 3.60) bento and JPY 100 (US$ 0.90) onigiri. I bought the bento while Sonia bought the onigiri. We continued to walk until we arrived at Sumida Park. The sakura trees were still in the early stage of blooming 😦
We went back to the apartment and I ate my bento. Despite it being very unhealthy, it was a good one. Then we checked out and departed to Minowa area (which is only about 2 km from Asakusa) for our next stay. Once again we had to drag our awfully weighty luggage down the road. It was really, really far from the Minowa station, or at least felt so with our carry-on. Along the way there was another sweet potato stall and my friend bought the caramelised sweet potato. Yum!
When we finally entered the building, I just found out that the building had no lift, and the room was on the 4th floor. There present before me the narrowest, nearly-identical-to-The-Great-Walls scary stairs. We decided we couldn’t bring our large suitcases upstairs and packed a one-night-stay set into our small carry-ons. The room was very small and there’s nowhere to put our clothes. Only for one night, I thought. It’s okay.
Then we headed to Tokyo station to store our large suitcases in two of the coin lockers. Because the weather was suddenly getting hot, we didn’t want to walk to the station again. And again, Google Maps rocks. There was a bus station nearby so we waited for one. The only problem is that the signs are not visible to human eyes, and the bus station location in Google Maps were never correct. Therefore we had to search to all street corners and finally found the right one.
Another thing to note, buses were seriously confusing in Japan. Firstly, Google Maps do not have the exact location of the bus stops. If there’s an intersection and 4 bus stations, you have to look at the one by one to know which was the right one. Secondly, if you want to find anything that’s often late in Japan, it’s the bus system. During our entire trip, anything to do with buses had always slowed us down. Yet it was still a better choice than walking 800-1000 metres when our feet couldn’t take us much longer. Anyway, once we got into the bus people started to get annoyed. There were lots of old people inside. I felt like we just lost our faces according to the Japanese standard because of our very inconsiderate act to take large suitcases inside a cramped transportation. Mind you all of these took us more than 3 hours to complete: from our apartment in Asakusa to putting the large suitcase inside the damn-hard-to-find coin lockers. I let out a large sigh. Finally!
Since our whole itinerary was ruined, we decided to go to Ginza for the Sanrio World. What a difficult thing to find. It was said to be the largest Sanrio store in Japan, but it was too small for our liking. My friend and I were really disappointed. Still, we bought some goodies from the store.
It was about 17:00 and we decided to go to the Rikugien Garden, seeing that the sakura has already half bloomed on Instagram. The park itself was actually very large, but it’s already almost sunset so we just stopped underneath the massive weeping sakura tree.
We took pictures for several minutes while there was this cute old couple that wanted to take our pictures. Together we took turns taking pictures of each other and they seemed really happy. Then, we continued taking pictures on our own while 2 seriously ugly, non-ethical women in their 40s went to our spot and ignored everything we said. They spent 40 minutes in that spot, from the yellow coloured sky until the sea-blue coloured sky. They freaking took our spot! And they only took hundreds pictures of sakura with their phone and refused to took turns. They stopped once a while to CHAT on their phones, still standing on that spot!!! I got really, really, angry and decided that they’re just sad old hags that had been doing that their whole life, judging from the absence of any rings on their fingers. I gave up and sat on the nearby bench to enjoy the vast amount of beauty above me.
After sitting for a while I decided to buy a cherry blossom ice cream nearby. When I said to the cashier, “one sakura ice cream, please,” he replied with, “I’m sorry, we only have cherry blossom ice cream.” I had no idea how to reply to that. “Okay that one, thanks.” Later I found out that Japanese people have different “cabinets” in their brains for other languages, so they kind of had to set it up to one language at a time.
As I enjoyed the cherry blossom ice cream, the sky was getting darker and darker it finally went black. The illuminated sakura was getting even more beautiful.
Then we had our dinner at Denny’s, just outside the Komagome station. Caesar Salad, Curry Hamburg Doria, and Chicken Namban Set. They’re all really great.
We went back to Minowa and rest the hell out of our feet. Osaka for tomorrow! Yeah!
Disclaimer: All of the pictures above were taken by my friend and me using Nikon D5500 and iPhone 5s. I reduced the quality of the pictures and videos to save my WordPress storage.