One my last day in Tokyo, I decided to walk to Yanaka since it was just a short walk from my hotel and I had a few hours before having to head to the airport. What a hidden treasure. No tourists, an old cemetery, temples and shrines all over, and a little walkway with shops of all kinds selling goods. I was there early enough to see the shop owners start setting up for the day. It was miraculously spared the carnage of the Allied bombings in World War II, and as a result still has the narrow alleys and streets and has an old Tokyo feel to it.
The bronze Buddha dates back to 1690.
Once the burial grounds of Kanei-ji and Tennoji temples and opened to the public in 1874, this is one of Tokyo’s largest cemeteries. Among its more than 7,000 tombstones are graves belonging to famous public figures, artists, and writers, some of whom lived in the area.
Established in 1669, it was dedicated to the god of longevity, one of Japan’s seven lucky gods.
A small stone pagoda to the right of its front entrance is dedicated to the 47 ronin, masterless samurai who avenged their master’s death and then committed ritual suicide in 1702.
Old wall that was once part of the temple.
An old-fashioned shopping lane free from cars. Lining the lane are shops selling both modern and traditional toys, crafts, clothing, sweets, household goods, tofu, rice, fish, and vegetables.
One of the very few temples to house a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine under one roof.
Shibuya is a crowded with people, shops, restaurants and game centers. The famous cross walk, Shibuya crossing is so busy and crazy. The lights turn red at the same time and when they do, traffic stops completely and pedestrians spill out from every direction. It didn’t seem that busy when I was there. Below is my photo and then a comparative photo when it gets really busy.
Coming out of the train station is the Hachiko statue. According to a famous story, the dog waited for his master every day in front of Shibuya Station, and continued to do so for years even after his master had passed away.
Shibuya crossing – many of the buildings have giant video screens on them and there are also sounds coming from everywhere.
A restaurant where you purchase a meal ticket from a vending machine outside then go inside and hand the ticket to the staff.
The concept of a love hotel was explained to me in Nojiri as we passed one and I was asked if we have them in the US. Well yes, but they’re shady and likely involve illegal acts. There’s a high concentration of these hotels in Shibuya. Love hotels are a type of short-stay hotel which exist in order to give Japanese couples privacy and intimacy – especially if they still live with their parents at home. I’m sure shady encounters happen as well. Each hotel seems to have its own theme.
I made it back safely to Seattle! The first things I noticed were the cooler weather, the abundance of trees and green spaces, and the smell of the northwest.
I didn’t have time to make updates while I was there since it was so hot and by the time I would get back to my hotel I would shower and fall asleep shortly after.
I will continue to make posts throughout the week for those that are interested in seeing pictures from my last few days in Tokyo.