To get our bearings and learn how to use Tokyo’s public transit system, we decided to limit our travels on Friday to a simple ride on the Ginza Line to see the Tsukiji Fish Market and a Kabuki play.
The Tokyo subway and train system can be a bit overwhelming, although they do a pretty good job of including some English in the signage throughout the system and we have been surprised by the number of Japanese that have some proficiency in English.
Another rainy day. Here’s the Kabuki-za Theater from the outside:
… and from the inside:
We were in the highest row of the nose-bleed seats, having purchased the last “single-act” tickets of the 90 on offer. No photography was allowed after the curtain went up; otherwise, I would show you the all-male cast and the elaborate costuming. The play, itself, was about a Shōgun era warrior and his parents traveling to China to enlist the help of a local warlord in overthrowing the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Interesting, but to a Westerner, kinda boring, even with the subtitles. In fact, the German girl seated next to me and the two American girls seated next to Dale all fell asleep.
After the Kabuki, we continued walking down the street in the rain to the Tsukiji Fish Market.
The Tsujiki Fish Market is supposedly the largest seafood market in the world. We wandered the fishmongers’ stalls, ogling the shrimp, crab, tuna and other catch on offer. We would have liked to have been here early in the morning to watch the fish auction, but that will have to wait for another visit.
On Saturday, we ventured a little further, heading out in the morning on the Ginza Line subway again, but this time taking it to its terminus at the Shibuya Station. Our purpose was to see the famous pedestrian scramble crossing located there. It’s total bedlam when the light changes:
There were at least a thousand people crossing the intersection in all directions. After watching a few cycles from the train station, we went down to street level and crossed ourselves. From there, we saw him, standing right in the middle of the intersection! Waldo!
From Shibuya Station, we walked north, and were intrigued by fluttering flags along a path into a temple, so we decided to investigate.
It turned out to be the Togo-jinja Shrine, a Shinto temple, Shinto being the native Japanese religion, and a wedding photo session was in progress. So picturesque:
We continued north to the Shinjuku Gyoen, one of Tokyo’s biggest parks, in search of cherry blossoms.
We found them! Lucky for us, they’re a little early this year.
Having walked 7.5 miles, it was time for a break at the tea house before continuing our journey to the Tokyo Sky Tree, the subject of my next post.