Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Tuesday Day Four Tokyo Japan

Lucky Marika headed off to work again today while Jason too had an early start, lots to see & do. But the morning was not to be a success! I planned on visiting the Sengaku-ji Temple with the shrines of the 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) then travel a littler further along to a small Zen temple (Tozen-ji). Lets say damn tourist maps, it’s not the first road on the left followed by the first of the right, it’s really the fifth road on the left then the third on the right. As you might have guessed I walked to all the wrong places. Eventually I found the Zen temple but it was closed to the public for some special event involving lots of guys in dark suit and sunglasses. From the Zen temple I was able to find the Ronin temple, however it was closed for construction work, I assume this meant the temple was undergoing repairs. Zero for two. Time to head across country past University of Tokyo and Shizenkyoikuen National Park to find my third temple for the day. Success, I found the Daien-ji Temple right where the tourist book said, strike one up for the tourist book! This temple had 500 lifelike rakan (Buddha disciple) images, lifelike but little, not like the full sized Chinese terracotta warriors.

Just down the road from the temple you find Ebisu Garden Place, here I visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. I spent half an hour playing on a research computer looking for photographs, it was a little hit and miss as it was all in Japanese, as you would expect! I think the main reason I stayed at the computer was to rest my weary feet. My next stop was just around the corner, the Beer Museum Yebisu, and it was free, my favourite price to pay.

I headed over to Roppongi for a late lunch, my plan here was a trip up the Mori Tower to the free ‘Tokyo City View’ observation deck. On trying to enter the elevators I was stopped and told I need a ticket, OK a ticket, a free ticket, again my favourite price to pay. But alas I was wrong, you had to buy a ‘Combination ticket’ starting from about $20 for Mori Art Museum & ‘free’ observation deck. My discussion with them in broken English / Japlish about not wanting to see the art museum or any of the other more expensive combination tickets attractions as they were not attractive to me failed. So what is the moral of this story, Mori Tower’s free ‘Tokyo City View’ observation deck is not free and didn’t get my money! I knew later in the day I was going to visit the Tokyo Tower observation deck which I had heard had a better view, and I was nicely surprised to find it was half the price too! Not quite my favourite price free, but still good value.

Just behind the Tokyo Tower is Shiba Park the home of one of Tokyo’s grandest temples ‘Zojo-ji Temple’. This temple had monks wandering around getting things ready for something, as I was leaving cars with dark tinted windows started arriving. I didn’t stay to investigate; I wanted to get up to Tokyo Tower’s observation deck before it was to dark. Nice view from the lower deck, about the same height as the Mori Tower, I however had purchased the valued added ticket that allowed access to the upper deck. Excellent view, well worth the extra price and still cheaper then the ‘free’ Mori Tower ‘observation deck. I stared down at the little Mori Tower with much glee in my eyes. I watched the sunset from the top deck, surrounded by mostly cuddling couples, I guess after all it was Valentines Day. I guess I spent near two hour there watching the city scape change from day to night with all the city lights shining bright. Damn this city must have a high electrically bill.

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