A Visit To Japan - Part 2

One of the places we wanted to go while in Japan was the place with the "big lantern". We had seen it on NHK's Tokyo Eye special program and thought that it would be a great place to check out. When we arrived, we were unprepared for the crowds of people who thought it also a great place to visit. While I was aware that the tourist areas were going to be busy, I didn't anticipate them to be as busy as they were! As a result, my wife and I meandered over to the side streets and alleys away from the main tourist area. It's in these alleys and side streets that we found Japanese strip malls, unique shops and some amazing food delicacies.

I highly recommended that you visit a small stall in the Senso-ji area (on one of the side streets) that makes deep fried curry buns. Although I don't have a photograph here, please take my word for it.... they were well worth every yen we paid.

The "big red lantern" is located in a temple called Senso-Ji in the Tokyo district (city?) of Asakusa. We spent a good day there and tagged a trip to the high-end Ginza district along the way.

Yamanote Line, Tokyo

Yamanote Line, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo - the person in the middle of the frame is riding their bicycle and using their cellphone at the same time. People in Japan ride their bicycles... a lot.

Asakusa, Tokyo - the person in the middle of the frame is riding their bicycle and using their cellphone at the same time. People in Japan ride their bicycles... a lot.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - What you don't see in this image is the intense amount of activity and also the sheer amount of people around us. The large lantern is currently behind me and this long pavilion leads up to the main temple area just barely visible in the distance. All along the sides are various shops selling various snacks and souvenir trinkets.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - What you don't see in this image is the intense amount of activity and also the sheer amount of people around us. The large lantern is currently behind me and this long pavilion leads up to the main temple area just barely visible in the distance. All along the sides are various shops selling various snacks and souvenir trinkets.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - We did not realize it at the time but around this time (mid-October) was when Japanese students went on field trips to famous places.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - We did not realize it at the time but around this time (mid-October) was when Japanese students went on field trips to famous places.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - just a few side steps away from the main shopping area, It's a lot quieter here. A few uniquely painted Japanese fans pictured here.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - just a few side steps away from the main shopping area, It's a lot quieter here. A few uniquely painted Japanese fans pictured here.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - This area was off to the side of the main area. Note the quiet (so far) alley way in the background filled with various shops.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - This area was off to the side of the main area. Note the quiet (so far) alley way in the background filled with various shops.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the main area. We ended up following this road that was connected to the main area. It was a quiet(er) and quaint little shopping area. As there were a lot less people here (squeezing past people is not always fun), we spent most of our time in this area. This was where we found the really tasty deep-fried curry buns!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the main area. We ended up following this road that was connected to the main area. It was a quiet(er) and quaint little shopping area. As there were a lot less people here (squeezing past people is not always fun), we spent most of our time in this area. This was where we found the really tasty deep-fried curry buns!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - There was a little shop called "Good Fellows" that sold American style popcorn... in Japan!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - There was a little shop called "Good Fellows" that sold American style popcorn... in Japan!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Back to the main pavilion.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Back to the main pavilion.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - stores like this sold a variety of delicious baked goods. 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - stores like this sold a variety of delicious baked goods. 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - the main temple area.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - the main temple area.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - people would pull the smoke coming from this large incense pot onto themselves as a form of cleansing before entering the temple.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - people would pull the smoke coming from this large incense pot onto themselves as a form of cleansing before entering the temple.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - you could hear the coins drop in between the wooden separations just before people prayed.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - you could hear the coins drop in between the wooden separations just before people prayed.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - off to the side of the main temple was a beautiful koi pond.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - off to the side of the main temple was a beautiful koi pond.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the temple area. My wife and I were both a little hungry and wanted to have something to eat. I can't recall how we found this place (it was on a quiet street farther away from the busy temple and pavilion area) but the food was amazing! I could taste the chef's passion in the food. Also, the washrooms were really clean! 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the temple area. My wife and I were both a little hungry and wanted to have something to eat. I can't recall how we found this place (it was on a quiet street farther away from the busy temple and pavilion area) but the food was amazing! I could taste the chef's passion in the food. Also, the washrooms were really clean! 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Rickshaws are still quite popular in the tourist areas of Japan.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Rickshaws are still quite popular in the tourist areas of Japan.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ginza, Tokyo - Occasionally you would see monks on the street with their eyes covered by their hats. 

Ginza, Tokyo - Occasionally you would see monks on the street with their eyes covered by their hats. 

Ginza, Tokyo - a quiet alley way just off the main street,

Ginza, Tokyo - a quiet alley way just off the main street,

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - we were surprised to come back to Ikkebukuro to find a parade happening on the main streets! I don't think there was any national holiday happening at this time (early-mid October). Some people just like to party :)

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - we were surprised to come back to Ikkebukuro to find a parade happening on the main streets! I don't think there was any national holiday happening at this time (early-mid October). Some people just like to party :)

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - people in Japan are exceptionally quiet on the train. It is customary to NOT speak loudly on the train and people keep conversations to themselves. 

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - people in Japan are exceptionally quiet on the train. It is customary to NOT speak loudly on the train and people keep conversations to themselves. 

Aboard the Shinkansen, somewhere in Japan - After time with relatives, we boarded the Japanese bullet train and headed for Hiroshima.

Aboard the Shinkansen, somewhere in Japan - After time with relatives, we boarded the Japanese bullet train and headed for Hiroshima.

Part III following soon.