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Desiree-Rose's HomeTravelling in the Far EastTokyo, Japan


Travelling in the Far East

Tokyo, Japan |

After leaving the hotel at 9 a.m. for a tour of central Tokyo, we drove past the Imperial Palace. Alas! all we could see were the large stone wall, moat and “gates.” Thence to the 1964 Olympic Stadium which is used now for tennis matches, and ice hockey in winter.

Then to Kannon shrine. There is a covered street of shops (about 5 blocks long) leading to it. Fan shops, shoe shops, umbrella shops, toy shops, dog shops – everything for dogs, including sets of clothing with 4 matching shoes each. Then the large red “gate” with a temple in the distance and in between, the “holy smoke” rising. Incense is bought and burnt and one’s weak parts e.g. hands are put into the smoke. There is also a well of “holy water” and weaknesses can be washed away.

From there we visited the Ginza area. Certain streets are blocked to traffic during weekends and everyone walks in them. Or sits and eats. There are thousands of people – literally; Tokyo’s population is 12.2 million. We went into the Mitsugushi department store; 8 floors above and 3 floors below ground. The basement floors were nearly all food counters, where one could sample anything and everything. One store had a marvellous lifesize dummy which looked like one of the Kennedy brothers. Its hands, feet, eyes, head and mouth moved and it spoke American (!) From there we walked a few blocks to the Nitchigeku theatre area where we were the night before, then took the subway home.

At 6 o’clock we were off again, on the subway to Shinjuku area. These subways are on different levels and one walks for miles e.g. at B10 level we exited straight into a department store of 116 shops – and there are many levels! Out in the air and many neon signs, then walked about a sleazy area of nightclubs and dives, with a policeman on each corner. Then back into the subterranean stores, had supper and boarded a subway back home again.

The following day we visited the World Trade Centre – 40 storeys high plus 3 basements. On the 2nd floor we boarded a monorail and travelled over Tokyo to the race track, where we saw the stables for 1000 horses and the jockeys’ quarters. They practise at 2 a.m. (!); horseshoes last 10 days; each horse eats a cup of garlic each day. Then boarded another monorail and returned to the Centre, where we walked around the top floor looking at smoggy Tokyo. Buildings as far as one could see, except over Tokyo Bay, then shipping as far as one could see.

Locations Visited: Tokyo

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