Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vacation Japan: the end

Morning: emperial palace garden with pond and plants and walls, get hungry, have lunch at curry place in Tokyo station (after looking at long lines for most Ramen places), take train to Akihabara electric-quarter, walk around (second hand store, gaming hall/arcade, etc.), back to Shinjuku, rest;
In the evening: take train to Ramen place next to the river in Ichigaya, very good Miso-Ramen, afterwards walk along the river, find lively neighborhood (Kagurazaka), walk around its little back alleys with interesting-looking bars and restaurants, then back to Shinjuku and hotel.
watch tower at the edge of the emperial palace gardens
Friday: Day trip to Kamakura
take train to Kamakura (~1h), visit Engaku-ji temple, hike along trail through woods and hills, past statue of Minamoto no Yoritomo (with lots of school kids having lunch), Zeniarai-Benzaiten shrine with water and even more kids in the glade, more hiking with more kids, down the hill to the Daibutsu (great buddah) in the Kotoku-in temple, through Hase (see-side village) to train station, on little train back to Kamakura, find lunch in Bowls donburi cafe, visit Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu shrine with lotus pond and turtles and main temple and more, then back to train station and Tokyo, rest at hotel;
Evening: walk around Shinjuku, through yakitori-alley, find it too stressful, beginning of death march to find place for dinner, end up at Udon place in underground mall, back to hotel.
Sanmon of Engaku-j
hike through bamboo groves
bridge over Genpi pond
Hongu of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu
Morning: breakfast/brunch buffet at hotel (continental, english, japanese,...), late start, very hot and muggy, several outdoor and electronic stores around Shinjuku, late lunch with stuff from Supermarket to eat in room (as not speaking language and being able to read menus got too frustrating), rest;
Evening: dinner in Ebisu at Ippudo (a family friendly Ramen place), very restful for a change, drinks later on in beer garden on rooftop of department store in Shinjuku (Andrea with difficulty of ordering). 
view from our hotel room in Shinjuku

beer garden on top of Keio department store in Shinjuku
pouring rain, pack, visit Japanese Natl. Museum in Ueno park, have lunch at museum, visit some more, back to hotel to pick up luggage, take metro and express train to Haneda instead of Anamori-Inari (one stop before for airport hotel, Hotel Jal City Haneda), track back, find hotel, check in, arrange bus for next morning, rest, walk to Anamori Inari shrine, last Ramen dinner at place opposite hotel, sleep.

take bus at 4:10 for airport, check in, have breakfast in lounge, watch typhoon news and hope to get out before it hits, fly via London to Basel, home

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