Tokyo Shrines & Day 2

Day 2 in Japan started out just a tad later than expected! Between being 1 hour ahead of Japan and having just finished touring mason around for 2 weeks I was pooped and no alarm was going to get me out of bed as early as intended! {now in my defense though I was up, dressed and grabbing breakfast by 9am!} 

I'm not sure what a typical Japanese breakfast consists of, but when I woke up Monday morning I was starving and walked in the first place that was open with a decent amount of customers inside. Now, Japan LOVES vending machines, and many of the restaurants are no different. In this one you walk in and use a small machine to select and pay for your order, afterwards you sit down and hand your receipt to a waitress who uses it to order your food from the kitchen and then bring it to you. Odd for me, but benefits for them is they don't need many staff working and the menus are in multiple languages! I decided on a fried pork loin and rice as it looked like a common dish others were eating! 

After breakfast I began walking and stumbled upon a small shrine with several torii gates leading to it. Of course I had to stop and investigate for a bit before continuing on my way! Again today I skipped the JR trains as much as possible and often found myself stepping into intriguing shops and markets along the way!

Finally I was almost to my destination when I realized that directly across the street was the famous Ameyoko shopping street. I stopped on by with no intentions of buying anything really and made it a whole 5 feet before  I stumbled upon a used kimono shop (umm hello Tracy paradise!) and couldn't possibly resist buying myself a beautiful blue & purple kimono! I excitedly took my purchase and continued on taking in the sights and sounds (and let's be honest some snacks as well) before heading back in my original direction of Ueno Park. Sadly, in my opinion, the park was nothing extraordinary, maybe if you were wanting to check out the several museums they had there it might have been more eventful, but nonetheless I took a stroll through the park, checked out a shrine and a Hiroshima Memorial before heading back out.  

My next stop, and quite a hike later!, was the Seno-ji Temple and goodness was it beautiful! The shrine itself was huge compared to the others I had seen in Tokyo and it also had a pagoda near it and an archway at the entrance with one of the biggest paper lanterns I have ever seen! Much like the shrine yesterday, you cannot enter the main portion of this temple, but rather bow & clap your hands several times before tossing several coins into a trough and sending your prayers to the gods. This area was definitely a tourist attraction as there were hundreds of people scattered about, but between the gorgeous views and prime people watching opportunities, I was as happy as could be!!

Before leaving the area, they had several stations to retrieve your fortune. You chose a metal tin (think a heavy Pringles can!) and shook it around until a small numbered stick came out the single hole in the tin. You then matched your number up with a drawer that provided your fortune. I'm supposed to lose something, be late, catch a disease and I don't know what all else! Luckily there were instructions to tie your unlucky fortunes to a pole and not take them with you...I happily obliged! 

Next on my list, and what I had been catching glimpses of all day through the trees, was the Tokyo Sky Tree. The Sly Tree is the tallest structure in Tokyo standing at 2,080 feet high and is primarily used as a broadcasting tower though there is also a restaurant and observation deck inside as well. The first observation that I stopped at is a little over halfway up the tower and includes stunning views of the city below, including a section with a glass floor allowing you to see the ground some 1,000 feet below you! Unfortunately it was just cloudy enough the day I went that I wasn't able to see Mount Fuji {motivation to visit Japan again!}

After the sky tree I stopped at CoCo CurryHouse for dinner after a recommendation from a friend before heading back to the hostel and crashing hard for a late afternoon nap!

After my lovely power nap I decided to explore the Shinjuku area near my hostel, only to discover that the largest red light district in Tokyo was a short 10 minute walk from my hostel! {lesson learned} needless to say I was able to walk around and people watch for several hours before it was time to head in for the night in preparation for Tokyo day 3!

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