Tower and Temples

We have been doing so much each day, and getting in about 9 or 10pm that we are tired. But there is so much to do we don’t want to miss anything. So today was extra hard as we were up and out even before the commuters, but it was definitely worth it.

Not even bothering with breakfast or a cup of tea(!), we walked thru the park to the train station. Its about 6:30 am and the park has lots of (old) people, all equally spaced about 5m from each other. They are all doing a sequence of stretches and light exercises to music and instructions played over the parks speakers. It was very surreal. I felt a bit like I was intruding even tho it’s a public park, so I didn’t get a photo and we just kept walking. I’ve never seen anything like this in the UK, not as a public service. And even if there was, I’m not sure any self conscious Brit would do it, no matter the benefits.

We arrived at the Senso-ji temple ahead of everyone. It was so quiet and peaceful compared to the circus we knew it would become in a few hours. Not even the shops were open at this time, except Starbucks. So we thanked the multinational corporation by having breakfast here and then went to explore the temple.

Its a beautiful temple with unusually tall roof compared to many other temples. It is/was the center for the Shogunate to offer prayers, and it houses a kannon of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, the primary attendant of the Budda (Pure Land Buddhism). Unfortunately along with much of Tokyo, the temple was destroyed in 1945 in the great air raids and so it was rebuilt as it stands today. During this time the another building was used as the main hall, Awashimado Hall. We visited this as its still of original construction from 1688, having escaped the bombings when it was located south of Osaka. Next to this temple was a shrine dedicated to the people who were killed in the great air raid and a photo of the city. It was decimated and an inscription said that not a tree nor patch of grass escaped the fire in the whole of Tokyo.

We took our shoes off, bowed and entered this smaller and deserted temple, taking a kneeled seated position in front of the altar. Being so early it was very peaceful and serene. The woodwork here was exquisite, showing warriors riding tigers, trees and birds. We made an offering, bowed, said a prayer and left, avoiding turning our backs on the budda while in the temple. This was a much more spiritual experience than Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. Everything was being meticulously taken care of and revered. You could see and feel the respect everyone had for the shrines and their deities.

We spent some more time slowly touring the different shrines and small gardens. We even saw a shiba inu, but when I went to say hello he took a dislike to me and yapped. Perhaps he knew my allegiance lay with another… apart from that, it was very relaxing without the crowds. Especially seeing a water-fall into a clear pond where huge golden carp swam serenely around. 

We took some time to find my fortune, by making an offering and saying a prayer. Then picking up a sliver 8 sided tube, shook it and upturned it so a stick could fall out a small hole. This had some symbols on it that were, presumably numbers, corresponding to drawers on the chest in front of me. It took some finding, as I don’t know japanese numbers, but I took from my drawer a slip of paper which reads:

It was starting to get busy, so we left down the main street that was lined with small shops and souvenir hunted. Not far off was the river. We had such a good time in Bangkok on the river boat that we took this one all the way thru the city. We hoped to go for a walk around another gardens and were surprised when it turned into what looked like the garden moat. But we were not allowed to alight here as we bought the wrong tickets. We carried on to the boat pier further down the river.

Now the start of the afternoon, we were both exhausted so stopped at the first place we found for food. Somewhat refreshed we continued to our next park and temple called Minato City Shiba Park. By the end of the day I was very disappointed we didn’t see a shiba in Shiba Park. But we did get a great view of the Tokyo Tower. Built to be Tokyo’s first large telecommunications tower, it’s now been surpassed by the SkyTree. It was modelled on the Paris Eiffel Tower, but its several thousand tonnes lighter yet taller. 

This park was home to Zojoji Temple. Unfortunately for us (but fortunate for it) we found it closed for earthquake strengthening works. I left a prayer here too. While I don’t believe in a Divinity, as a follower of science I remain open to the possibility of one being proven to me. And if some respect and a prayer might grant me and my family health, then that’s worth a moment of my time and a few coins. 

Speaking of health, we were still knackered even after a food stop and decided to take the rest of the day off touristing. Its been a frantic 5 days so we went back to the micro-flat and rested, (nearly) caught up with the blog, and slept.

Oh and I wrote a rhyme about all the things we have done and seen while here.


Bathing with 
naked men

Rush hour
Anime maid
Digital carp
And a Games Arcade

Shiba Inu
Lots of dogs 
On time metro

Clean streets
Shinju shrine
A Tiny flat
Fortune of mine

Gate Tori
Fish on a plate
Just call it Sushi

Seven eleven
And business men 
Sitting next to
An Edo garden

Robot waiter
Pokemon centre
Every kind of 

Red light district
Noodle broth
Grand Palace 
And Imperial wrath

Matt and Aimi
In Tokyo
We love this city
But now we gotta go