Rest of our time we were exploring Tokyo… Luckily it is so big that every day you can find something new. This is just one small part of what Tokyo has to offer. And that is why I love it so much. Tokyo, big city of big contrasts.
In the southern part of Ueno Park there is small island in the middle of Shinobazu Pond with the temple on it.
Shinobazu-no-ike Bentendo is a Buddhist temple dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten.
I did all temple staff that I learned here so far. I washed my hands so I can get close to it.
Then I burned some osenko.
You can see a sculpture of Benzaiten there, goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge. And when you do this you need to do a little prayer.
I did them so many different as we visited so many temples and shrines, that with time I didn’t know what to pray for anymore.
Smoke getting to my eyes, not the first time, as I am too small.
The original Bentendo Temple was destroyed in a bombing raid in World War 2 and this building is a reconstruction of the 17th century, Main Hall, and it was built in 1958.
Photos are not allowed inside the temple.
Lotus plants, a Buddhist symbol of purity were planted in Shinobazu Pond and there are plenty of them.
This time, our second time in Tokyo, we spent a lots of time navigating Tokyo with trains and we didn’t get lost single time! I felt like a local :)
And it was funny too see al Japanese people on the train staring at their phones. Most of them are playing games actually!
And finally, this time we managed to have dinner at this place. Usually there is a big cue in the front and they don’t take any reservations.
Gyukatsu is a beef cutlet deep fried until golden on the outside while still medium rare on the inside you’ll get a nice pink color in the middle. The beef cutlet comes in set meal with cabbage, potato salad, pickles, barley rice, miso soup and grated yam.
You can fry more your mueat if you wish and if you ask me, this is my absolute number one favourite meal in Japan!
Bring it on, please!
One another delicious food is Shabu Shabu, thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water. I love the name.
Just around the corner, next to our hotel is my second favourite place, lemonade bar.
And then, of course, my old friend Pepper!
Good to see him again, I had a small crush on him last time :)
Well, I still do have.
Pepper is world’s first social humanoid robot able to recognise faces and basic human emotions. Pepper was optimised for human interaction and is able to engage with people through conversation and his touch screen.
Pepper was meant to be all around Tokyo during Olympics to help tourists with directions and various informations.
So cute <3
Visiting Takeshita in Harajuku at night…
And wondering when I will be able to do Super Mario Kart like they do. It looks fun.
Takeshita-dori is always fun as it is full of colourful shops.
I love Japanese stuff.
Rainbow Cotton Candy is pretty famous around here and it is must have. This one is not mine, as I don’t like cotton-candy, one girl borrowed it to me for photo ;)
Last time I missed most Fushimi Inara in Kyoto, and mom found smaller alternative of it in Tokyo. So strange to have a shrine in between all this glass buildings. But that is charm of this city.
We are visiting Hie Shrine in in Akasaka, located at the Centre of Tokyo.
This is one of Tokyo’s major shrines, it’s also the kick off point for one of its major festivals .
We visited this place on 15 of November and we found out that is a 7-5-3, a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan.
It is held annually to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children.
That is why lots of three and seven-year-old girls and five-year-old boys were dressed in traditional kimonos.
This was cool thing to see.
This shrine is famous for the spot for “Enmusubi” which means love knot and marriage tie and for safe delivery to come true.
Just around a corner we found this place
Full of Ema (plates used in order to send one’s wishes to the gods) with monkeys on them, and there are some Torii gates.
We found these foxes statues as well. This is because there is a Shinto belief that animals protect the gods, and they have been sent from the heavens.
Even though the guardians of Hie Shrine are monkeys, I found these guardian figures in the form of foxes or sacred komainu (lion dogs) in small fox shrine much more appealing.
And one of the three entrances to the shrine is this one.
This is a reason why we are here – the path lined by 90 bright red Torii gates.
It is mini Fushimi Inara Kyoto experience!
I’ve passed them several times… We even got back another day to show it to daddy.
This shrine is great example of Tokyo’s contrast!
As I loved Hie shrine so much, mom decided to take me to another one, but she didn’t want to tell me nothing about it.
She just prepared me that we will have to take several trains, as it is bit far away, and at some point we were only gaijins – foreigners on the trains. And somewhere it was just us.
When we got from the train I got a clue.
It was a long walk to shrine, as main gate was closed and we got to find other entrance.
By the time we arrived I got tired.
But as place was pretty empty we enjoyed in it’s calm and serenity.
Arriving to Pagoda, I’m still not convinced and I am a bit grumpy about everything.
And then in next moment everything changed!
We arrived at legendary birthplace of the Japanese Maneki-Neko cat, place dotted with hundreds of lucky beckoning cats.
I think everyone knows Japanese lucky cat!
Temple legend states that during the early 17th century, Ii Naotaka (then the second lord of the Omi-Hikone Domain) escaped from being caught in a sudden thunderstorm after having been invited inside the temple by a cat that lived there.
To show his gratitude to the cat, Naotaka decided to dedicate the temple to the Ii clan. After Naotaka passed away, the temple was renamed to Gotokuji, from his posthumous Buddhist name “Kyushoin-den Gotokuten ei-daikoji.”
This place is amazing if you are a cat lover. Or a kid. Or person that loves Japanese culture. And I am all of that!
This place is insane. It is filled with lucky cat figurines donated by worshippers, and there are lots of them.
Inside the temple, visitors can purchase omikuji (Japanese fortunes) and cat figurines in a wide variety of sizes.
Omikuji are always fun to get when visiting a temple; for those who cannot read Japanese, the staff can help by telling you if you received a good (大吉) or bad (大凶) fortune.
Along with Maneku-Neko figurines we took some Ema plaque.
You need to write wishes on it, in the hope that they will be realised.
The Ema are left hanging up at the shrine, where the Kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them.
I hope mine wishes will come true…
And then we placed our small Maneku-Nekos along with others.
Behind the temple grounds there is a small cemetery.
I visited some cemeteries in my country, but this one is pretty much different.
There were some red-draped Jizo statues – the one I met in Kamakura recently.
I walked so much there that my shoe broke, and luckily we managed to find shoemaker that fixed it in 5 minutes! This was the most neat shoemaker office ever!
Next morning I woke up with the view from our second hotel that was amazing.
Even though New Year is in more than a month, Tokyo started to prepare for it.
During night it is even better!
This crystal tree was just outside our hotel and it looked magical.
Even in the shopping malls, everything looked so shiny and bright.
Once again we passed through Chuo Dori in Ginza.
And took a same photo like last time.
We encountered some strange buildings like this one. I found it ugly.
Mom told me that this hotel once held Japan’s vision for the future.
It was constructed in 1972 and part of the so-called Metabolist Architecture by Kisho Kurokawa, and is perhaps the most famous building that sprang out of these social experiments.
With my brother and Rie we traveled all around Tokyo.
I have passed Shibuya crossing million times.
Walking, running and jumping!
We visited owls once again.
I met some strange people.
I kissed Hachiko.
I had strangest ice cream experience at Turkish ice cream shop in Asakusa.
In same area we were in some old underground places.
Where we stoped at this amazing Ninja bar.
We had drink there.
Watching real ninja working at the bar.
And then he came just to make photo with me.
I have lost my first tooth in Tokyo!
And I was so happy about it! Do you know there is no Tooth fairy in Japan? Luckily, Tooth fairy from my country arrived to cheer me up.
And then, of course, we went to Akihabara once again, my favourite place in Tokyo.
Akihabara… there is just something about it…
Maybe it is this…
Or this.. Endless source of fun for me.
Seriously, where can you find something like this?
It is insane!
And getting here I get a bit insane as well.
My first addiction is serious.
Luckily, Japan is only place where I have it.
I have spent all coins I got, and I asked for more.
And this is a result.
One last thing on our bucket list this time is TeamLab Planets digital museum.
Similar to TeamLab Boredrless, yet so different and much more fun and interactive.
This time we walked barefoot and had so much fun.
We got lost several times.
I wanted to get lost.
We walked in shallow warm water.
It was truly magical experience.
At the end we got lost within colourful spheres.
This was most funny thing here.
Best museum on the planet!
Our last night in Tokyo dad is celebrating his birthday and we are having a dinner outside.
I am having fun with Rie.
And already feeling sad because we need to leave.
After dinner Rie is taking us to “Tori no Ichi” Festival (The Cock Fair). Queue at the entrance is huge, but we managed to get in from the back.
I newer saw this many people at one place.
Many people visit to purchase “Kumade” (bamboo rake) which is an item to fulfil the wishes of the prosperous business.
About 60 stalls are selling “Kumade”, which is a lucky charm of prosperous business,
Only way for me to get through was like this. And of course, I bought one kumade fan for myself as well.
Once you buy Kumade fan, sellers perform rhythmic clapping ad cheering and they do it every time someone buys one of their rakes, to seal the deal and ensure the coming of luck and money. It’s a ritual called tejime.
People selling things here were funny with all this money.
But I found out even more strange people here!
At some point they were a bit scary to me.
And then this. A freak shoew, that we almost attended.
And then, food.
Very very busy place but we are happy that we were here.
And when we got out, I knew it… That was it.
And I was heartbroken.
Next morning I was so sad looking at this view.
Yes, I know… Christmas is coming, I should be happy. Bai Tokyo, hope to visit you again.