Woke up at a reasonable hour this morning thankfully the rain had been replaced by sun with the clearest blue skies and depending on which forecast you believe no more rain till the weekend when we will be long gone.
We started at the usual station and with precision we changed trains at Akihabara then for off at Nishi-Nippori the headed down the side stress of Yanka talking in the shrines and cemeteries in the area. The shrines are scattered amongst the local houses and often it is not clear whether you could enter the shrine but the gates are always open, which makes them very welcoming. They are very calm places. The area appears to be a well to do area judging by the cars on the garages. The weather was gorgeous not a cloud in the sky, only a light coat was needed, it was so clear at one loint helen spotted mount Fuji in the distance with its snow capped top.
We were following a walk in the guide book which took in most of the sights in the area and would lead us to Ueno park, but like all the guide books the map did not have much detail, so we had to follow our noses a bit. At the exit of the cemetery area we find a coffee shop called Kabaya-coffee.com. I had scrambled eggs on toast and a nutty coffee, Helen had a latte and vegetable sandwich. She said she had never been so pleased to see some ice berg lettuce.
From there the theme continued as we headed towards Ueno park. We saw more shrines down the back streets and came across an antiques or bric a brac shop where I purchased a holiday souvenir two small Sakii cups in a wooden box. We skipped the zoo they are the anywhere in the world. Just as you go into the park the first thing you see is a very large area of water similar to a reed bed but made of plants with big leaves and I imagine large flowers. We ticked off a few Japanese birds including an interesting duck, and thrush. We still haven’t figured out the screaming birds that stick around these trees with yellow fruit which the locals collect the seeds off. Earlier in the day we saw a great tit.
In Ueno park there are lots of museums we choose the museum of western art , which is a great collection. Strange you say to go all that way and look at western art, our excuse is that it is in Japan so probably the only chance to ever see it. Out side the science and nature museum is a big plastic whale. We stopped for coffee on the edge of Asakusa district, I had what looked like custard tart but turned out to be pumpkin tart but tasted like custard tart with a hint of pumpkin.
Asakusa is an interesting place, lots of artisan shops quite a few knife shops the prices seemed quite high but you pay your money you take your choice as they say. As you get towards the magnificent shrine it gets quite touristic, with lots of trinket shops and food shops. The shrine it self is quiet extensive and the temples are on much larger scale to the ones we had seen earlier in the day.
Next mission was get back to Tokyo station for some good before heading back to the hotel. We were right next to a metro station so the obvious choice was to take our first underground journey. First we had to buy a ticket using a list in English but a map in Japanese, Helen figured it out straight away and we soon had two 190 yen tickets. We went from the end of the line to Ginza then change to take another train one stop to Tokyo station. The metro is much slower than the trains we were used to, but we were soon at our destination. Next mission was get out of the underground to the station and into the train station, as it is a maze of platforms and perhaps the tube company would rather keep you on the tube than deposit you with the train company.
We found the station and headed for a JR East office to book tickets for tomorrows excursion to the seaside town with yet more shrines, can you see the theme developing. Next we headed for the food place we had used yesterday, and found an establishment that suited both of us. We both had a noodle dish Helen’s was with mushrooms and vegetables and mine was with mixed seafood, they came with a bowl of what looked like stock with eggs stirred in strange taste but not unpleasant. We then had trouble find the right platform and when we did we got off at the wrong end of our local station, so had a longer than necessary walk home which was not welcome after being out on our feet for over eight hours, but all in all we had had a great day, and we had seen Mount Fuji.