Day one - Tokyo

Community Highlights Asia Day one - Tokyo

Off we go...

Boarded flight QF059 from Sydney to Tokyo.

A full flight and we were in the back of the aircraft surrounded by a group of Japanese schoolgirls. (there are no photos) All of which was fine until the pair in front of us started squealing during our windy, bumpy landing as if we were all on a rollercoaster.

The airport formalities were a mixture, very slow luggage at the carrousel, an app for immigration and customs which still needs work but helpful and polite assistance was available and no actual issues. We collected the portable wi-fi device ordered online and met our guide and most of the rest of the group for a bus to the hotel.

The guide explained during the trip that the standard Japanese hotel room has two singles rather than a double bed and our room turned out to have that configuration, two single beds and a square meter of space distributed to make standing possible but not getting past each other without one person sitting down. All the temperatures in the room are set high including the airconditioning and alarmingly the water jets in the Japanese toilet. Only one of these temperatures can be adjusted.

Day One - Tokyo with and for tourists.

Day one started with breakfast at the hotel and to ease ourselves into things we took the option of the western-style bento box. This consisted of a a selection of sausage, bacon and hash browns beautifully presented in individual dishes along with picked vegetables, and a strange potato mixture. Thankfully we are not doing the washing up.


All aboard and off to the Meiji Jingu. According to the website "It was established in 1920, to commemorate the virtue of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken who took the initiative to make a foundation of modernized Japan." While the shrine has the architecture of the old Japan the buildings themselves are relatively new.

A list of the virtues of the ascended Emperor and Empress can be found on the website along with examples of their poetry. There was a calmness about the shrine which is common in most religious sites and also a food court and gift shop.

Enshrined Virtues

One feature of the precinct was a collection of Sake barrels donated by districts in Japan.

Here are some pictures of people taking pictures in front of the barrels.


Having visited a shrine our next stop was a temple. (for a detailed description of the differences between a Shinto Shrine and a Buddhist Temple in Japan a more authoritative source should be consulted)

The temple at Akasaka is famous for the huge lantern hanging at the front gate.


I can only assume this photo was taken at the height of COVID as the place was absolutely packed when we visited. A central street leads from the gate to the temple. Lined with stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs it was a gauntlet to run to make it through to our meeting place.


There were many people dressed in traditional costumes, young girls, couples and even family groups. Apparently, there is no religious significance it is just something people like to do. Anyway for a brief period on that sunny afternoon, fully 12% of all Instagram posts in Japan were made at this temple.


It was here that we stopped for lunch. Most of the small restaurants in the area were already full with people waiting out the front. So we moved further afield and found a place to eat. Up some time wooden stairs to a room where we looked at a menu and took a punt on two mixed dishes which turned out to be slightly more authentic than we had anticipated.

The Mixed Odon was a selection of different colours and textures which may or may not have been fishcakes and vegetables plus a boiled egg.


The Chicken Skewers selection was chicken as advertised including chicken skin, liver and gizzards. An acquired taste and a bit of a leap for day one. The beer presented no such difficulties.


Our last stop of the day was at Tokyo Tower. Built in 1958 and deliberately 3m taller than the Eiffel Tower on which it was modelled it seems less imposing than its French counterpart perhaps because it has become surrounded by tall buildings. It is brightly painted and also illuminated at night and is ruthlessly promoted as a tourist attraction. The lifts are much more modern and quiet than the lifts in the other tower but are considerably smaller and some of the techniques in use on the Tokyo metro almost came into play. The view from the halfway point was good and the tourist traffic was being circulated with extreme precision through queues to the lifts then back down to a mid-level gift shop and back down the lift to more shopping opportunities. We did take the opportunity to pick up some deep-fried brown sugar snacks, CHeese Okaki and a bottle of Chilean wine at the convenience store before leaving the tower.



Altogether, a successful introduction to Japan.

This featured blog entry was written by StephenJBrown from the blog Filling in the blanks on the travel map.
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By StephenJBrown

Posted Thu, Mar 28, 2024 | Japan | Comments