Monday, 1 February 2016

Day 3 & 4- Tokyo Spring- Places Must Visit!

Sensō-ji also known as Asakusa Kannon is a very popular ancient Buddhist temple in Tokyo located in Asakusa.
 It's history dates back to AD 628 making it the oldest temple in Tokyo.
This place can get pretty crowded even on a weekday so it's better to come early.

The pedestrian street that stretches from the outer gate to the temple's second gate is called  Nakamise Dori. This market in front of the temple has been around for 300 years therefore making it one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan. This colourful street is lined up with stalls along each side selling Japanese souvenirs and traditional local snacks.  We came when the shops were still closed and enjoyed the gorgeous mural paintings on the stalls' shutters.

Japanese dango sweets covered in kinako soybean flour.

Senbei, Japanese rice crackers.

Deep-fried Cakes, agemanju in monja (Pork) and Green Tea fillings.

In Japan, worshippers "purify" themselves before entering the temple or shrine.
You will notice stone fountains with wooden or metallic ladles over a pool of water when you visit these temples and shrines, these are called Chozuya / Temizuya.
It's simple to use one, just grasp the ladle with your right hand, scoop some water and pour over your left hand. Switch ladle to your left hand, scoop some water and pour over your right hand. Easy peasy!
I also saw some worshippers rinse and swish the water in their mouth and spit it out on the ground. 
Remember: You're not suppose to drink it.
 A large incense burner is positioned in front of the main hall of the temple. 
You can purchase some incense and lit here and then wave the smoke towards you as a purification ritual.

 At the Kaminarimon (thunder gate) of Sensoji Temple hangs this unusually large chochin red paper lantern.
As well as 2 giant owaraji sandals, they symbolize the power of the temple's Nio protectors.
Each sandal weighs around 250 kilograms and handcrafted by 800 people. The town of Maruyama in Yamagata Prefecture donates a new pair every 10 years.

 This place is a paradise for those who love to cook. 
 Kappabashi or Tokyo's Kitchen Town read more here

Tokyo Station is a must-see for every visitor. There is a lot to explore in this HUGE station. 
If you prefer to do some shopping head to Yaesu and Gransta areas. More shopping you say? Then check out Character Street, I highly recommend it especially if you have kids or if you are into anime or kawaii (cute) characters, you will absolutely love this place.  

You must feel hungry after all that shopping then head on to Tokyo Ramen Street but expect to see lines this long during lunch or dinner times. You may want to go before the restaurants open (11am), queue maybe shorter. This was at Rokurinsha, famous for its thick noodles served tsukemen-style. The ramen is commonly served cold and you lightly dip it into your soup and eat. (Separate post on Rokurinsha to follow)

We had our lunch booked at Chef Pierre Gagnaire's Two Michelin-starred restaurant located at ANA Intercontinental Hotel. Read more here.

Visited Meiji Jingu, a shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.
Entry to the shrine grounds is marked by a huge torii shrine gate. It is constructed from Japanese cypress tree that was more than 1,500 years old.

Wooden plaques with handwritten messages of hopes and wishes.

A huge collection of sake barrels called kazaridaru have been donated by sake brewers from all over Japan. The sake is used for shrine ceremonies and festivals.

This intersection outside of Shibuya Station is one of the busiest in the world. It's awesome  to watch the amount of people that cross at every traffic light change.

A quirky little shop of sweets, accessories and all things Alice. 
 Alice on Wednesday read more here.

  A  popular ramen chain in Japan. Not miss out on when you are in Japan. Their tonkotsu ramen is exceptional!
Tonkotsu Ramen ICHIRAN read more here.

Robot dancing / fighting in Tokyoland! Booking is a must.
Robot Restaurant read more here.

I spy with my little eyes... GODZILLA!!!

At a random ramen shop in Shibuya right across The Prince Hotel.
You'll never run out of delicious food in Japan. You can eat ramen anywhere and it'll be excellent. Everything in Japan is better than what you can get elsewhere in the world. 

Banana sweets

Maccha Almond Chocolate, this was really delicious! Should have bought more.

Royce chocolate with Matcha syrup in the centre.

Wow! Rare Round KitKats with Red Bean Filling!

yakushite kudasai?

Randoseru, Japanese children's school bags. 

My favourite Japanese fashion magazine! non-no.

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