We started a little earlier on Wednesday. Before 10 AM, the shuttle goes to Shinagawa instead of Meguro. Not a problem though because both stations are on the same line. We knew we had several stops to make so we decided on an all day JR pass. That way, we could hop on any JR train we wanted all day.
We started in Shibuya. Before we moved Tim had a dream about being the Shibuya wolf. I thought it would be interesting to go there and see if he got any interesting feelings. He didn’t.
We did see the famous dog statue. His name is Hachiko and he would meet his owner after work at the train station every day. He continued to visit the train station, even after his owner died. There was quite a line of people trying to take pictures with the statue.
The local busses even have a picture of the dog on them.
We also saw Shibuya Crossing. The crosswalks flash from five different directions and hundreds of people cross the street at once. It was pretty cool to watch. I even took a video of it.
The crossing reminds me of Time Square in New York city with all of the video screens on the buildings.
After we finished in Shibuya, we hopped back on our train to Harajuku to see the Meji Jingu shrine. Wednesday happened to be December 23, which is the emperor’s birthday. This is the only day all year that the Imperial Palace is open to the public. What I didn’t know is that it also made it a religious holiday.
There were a lot of people in and out visiting the shrine. But by late morning, it wasn’t as packed as I would expect on a religious holiday.
People were there to receive blessings and prayers. You could pay to have your prayers put on a tree or to get on the list for a prayer of blessing. How wonderful that I can talk directly to Jesus and don’t need someone else to do it for me! It was still interesting to see a different culture though. Some of the buildings reminded me of the old Gyungbukdong palace in Korea, just less ornate.
After the shrine, we headed to McDonald’s for lunch. There was a sign from the train station so we knew it was close. Interesting fact, fast food is actually fast in Japan. McDonald’s and other similar restaurants take about 20 minutes to get your food in Korea. In Japan it is like in the US.
We were ahead of schedule so we decided to head to Ikebukuro for the Sunshine Aquarium. It took us a while to get there, but there were several signs along the way.
It was actually a decent aquarium. Tickets were 2,000 yen ($20) for adults and Clarissa was free. Clarissa enjoyed watching the seals and birds. Her favorite was definitely the fish.
There was a large tank that she kept running, trying to keep up with this shark.
She also kept saying that she wanted to find Nemo. Towards the end, we found both Nemo and Dory.
On our way out, we caught the end of the penguin feeding. There was a cute little penguin that was out walking around. Clarissa enjoyed watching him.
We then headed to Shinjuku for Tim to check out some electronics markets. He did actually find something he had been looking for.
We went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for a free city view. It was raining so we couldn’t see the whole city, but we could see enough. I guess I am spoiled by our travels because it didn’t look that different than Seoul to me.
We decided to go back to Shinagawa. On our morning shuttle bus ride we saw several interesting restaurants. It was hard to choose but we ended up with Mango Tree (Thai) for dinner. Tim had curry, I had pad Thai, we shared spring rolls, and Clarissa had some rice. It was very good.
After returning to Meguro station we decided to walk back to the hotel. Baskin Robbins is on the way and there were several flavors left to try. This round Clarissa had twinkle tree, I had raspberry holiday cheesecake, and Tim had matcha (Japanese green tea).