Friday, April 13, 2012

The Day I Went to Edo

One of the very few things I can remember from Asian History class in high school is that Tokyo today was called Edo during the shogunate era.

During my sixth day (second free day) in Tokyo, I went to Asakusa. I was excited because I was about to experience the traditional side of Japan which I only used to see in the internet or in anime. LOL.

Upon exiting the Tokyo Metro Asakusa station, I was amazed by this street which is apparently called Kannon Dori.

Kannon Dori

I was trying my best to take a photo surreptitiously but he still caught me. Haha oh well.

A lot of buildings there look like this. Very traditional, very pretty, right? 

After appreciating Kannon Dori, I decided to find the Kaminarimon. I was sure that it's just around the station but I could not find it so I tried asking a lady who seemed to be waiting for someone, "Kaminarimon wa doko desu ka?" (Where is Kaminarimon?) I couldn't understand anything she said but she was pointing somewhere so I thanked her and then went to the place she was pointing to. And I immediately found this beautiful lantern. Ah, Kaminarimon!

I went through and found myself in Nakamise Dori. Like Kannon Dori, it's a street full of shops, mostly souvenir shops. It was a rainy Saturday and there were lots of people, both locals and tourists. It was difficult to take photos without people blocking my camera haha.

Nakamise Dori

I walked along Nakamise Dori and then entered the Buddhist temple.

It was very beautiful. I was practically in awe, just standing and admiring the details. 

One of my favorite photos. The person below the lantern definitely made the photo. :))

Look at that huge yet unsuspecting cup. You'd think it's merely for decoration but if you look very closely, it actually catches water from the roof. It might be a rainwater harvesting system. Form and function, indeed!

The pagoda!

There was another area, to the side of the main temple, filled with shops. I like the place a lot because it's not as crowded as Nakamise Dori and it really smelled of damp wood. I really felt like I was in Edo (old Tokyo). The shops sell traditional things like lanterns, stationery and dolls. The shop owners even wore kimono and hakama! Cool huh?

An ojisan wearing a hakama and painting lanterns.

I saw an oba-san wearing a kimono and I asked her "Shashin wa ii desu ka?" (Is photo okay?) She said yes and I gestured to take her picture. She probably thought I wanted a photo of her shop so she got flattered when she realized that I wanted a photo of her instead. I told her "Kimono ga suki desu!" (I like kimono). Heh, I flattered an oba-san, I felt so cool. :))

Some archery game. The ojisan managed to hit the target twice! Sugoi desu ne!

I also saw a guy pulling a rickshaw! It was very cold and yet look at what he's wearing!

Returning to Nakamise Dori, I found this sight very interesting. The pagoda and the Tokyo Sky Tree [not very noticeable becaue of the clouds] in one view. Such contrast of modern and traditional Tokyo.

As much as I'd like to go to Tokyo Sky Tree, the second tallest structure in the world (I studied civil engineering for a reason!), the observatory was still closed. But I'm happy just to be able to see it from afar.

On my way back to the train station, I also saw this beautiful building just across Kaminarimon.

Nice cladding!

I was practically in a daze during the whole Asakusa trip because it's something I only used to see in photos. I still couldn't imagine how I got myself into it.

Tokyo Sky Tree. Next time I go to Japan, I'm definitely going up observatory.

After buying omiyage (souvenirs), I went back to my hotel. I didn't stay very long in Asakusa because after taking photos, walking around, eating and shopping, there was not much to do for me. Perhaps the rain caused less activity in the area. Anyway, I'm not complaining. I still love Asakusa!

I arrived at my hotel at around 3pm and warmed up. I was debating with myself whether to go out again or not because it was still early and I'll surely get bored but I was anxious about spending more money. However, my mom messaged me via Facebook and convinced me to go out and to not think about the money anymore (I still had money to spare anyway). The sky also cleared up a little after three or four days of no sunlight. (I suddenly understood why foreigners love the sunshine in the Philippines)! So I went to Harajuku... for the third time!

I went to Takeshita Dori again and then to Omotesando (a street parallel to Takeshita Dori lined with imported and expensive brands like Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, etc.)


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