Our attempt to see the Imperial Palace East Gardens ended in utter failure. Apparently yesterday was a holiday meaning they get an extra day off for observance. On Mondays most museums, parks, and even some restaurants close. Still their average work week is the same as ours: Monday through Friday. Not realizing this until we were staring at the faces of several strict looking guards and thick barred gates, we trekked around in the hot sun for half an hour looking for the entrance. Hot is an understatement. The entrance area is mostly boiling concrete with little shade to take refuge in. I think Allen died there and only came back to life in the cool subway. But we got some cool pictures of the entrance and you can’t enter into the palace anyway accounting for the royal family actually living there.

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There was a park near the Imperial Palace that we stopped to check out. 

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That shell thing stopped spouting water right as we walked up to it. Maybe it was shy.DSCN0565

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Some kids playing outside Skytree, the next destination.

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So we took our tourist party onward to the Tokyo Skytree. This baby is currently the world’s tallest observation tower with decks at 350 meters and 450 meters respectively. We cheated and used our white foreign powers to skip the wait of over an hour to go straight up to the first deck. (It also cost us an extra 800 yen but the less time spent queuing is totally worth it.) The elevator that took us there did so in the span of 15 seconds. The ride was incredibly smooth belying the pressure you felt in your head. After your ears popped everything was good though and we walked out to find everything had shrunk to doll size.

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I don’t think the pictures we took do it justice. Tokyo goes on forever and ever. They had some neat old art of Tokyo when it was Edo and sooooo much smaller. On a clear day you can look across and see Mt. Fuji. We saw some mountains but not that one. We did see some awesome architecture and this barge being towed while it leaked this dark liquid all down the river. (0_0 Yeaaah. Surely it wasn’t oil, right?} There was also a place where you could look all the way down the support shafts to the ground below. When we went back down it was odd to find everything so tall again.

Allen dropped my ticket.

DSCN0619Here’s that barge-thing.DSCN0653You can just barely see the trail it’s leaving in the river. DSCN0664

DSCN0650The support struts of Skytree.DSCN0691One of the old maps of Edo.
DSCN0629You can see Sensoji, the temple we’re going to next.DSCN0660

After Skytree, we rushed over to Asakusa and the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. (We definitely would not have been able to fit it in with the regular Skytree tickets.) There’s a large shopping street that’s been there almost as long as the temple which was erected in 649AD. There was a constant crush of people (as expected) but the temple at the end more than made up for it.

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DSCN0719Skytree from Sensoji.DSCN0723

The site was larger (in about every way) than what I had expected. After the gorgeous Thunder Gate entrance was a Peace Pagoda to the left and the main temple to Kannon ahead. Scattered around the grounds are shrines to other (we shan’t say lesser) gods and goddesses along with temple artifacts.

Close ups of the Thunder Gate.

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DSCN0729This wood carving was on the bottom of the large lantern in the middle of Thunder Gate.DSCN0734The main temple ahead.DSCN0735

We entered into the main temple and made a small donation along with a prayer. I’m not sure if it’s like birthday wishes or shooting stars so I won’t tell you just in case.

View back towards the gate from inside the temple.

DSCN0750Ceiling of the temple.DSCN0755

Then we went over to the side where I noticed people getting omikuji, a fortune telling paper. Of course I had to do that. First you make a donation. (Why would the god listen if you didn’t? Actually hilariously enough I saw a woman pull a bad fortune, exclaim, and then cluck to herself “Aah, that’s why” and deposit a hundred yen in the slot. I’m guessing she forgot to do so before drawing her fortune. See? It’s important children.) So after the donation you pick up a metal hexagonal box containing sticks with numbers on them. Shake it about then pour a single stick out of the tiny hole. The number on the stick corresponds to a drawer where you pull out your paper fortune. The fortunes range from Great Blessing to Great Curse. There’s something like 14 different ones. But I must’ve pleased someone cause I drew the Great Blessing! Everything shall, apparently, go my way.

We walked around the grounds after that enjoying their beauty and remarking on the red and green colors everywhere. (My favorite colors. Allen suggested perhaps this was Santa’s temple. >.<) We walked to the nearby river and took a couple more pictures before calling it a day.

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DSCN0788Really big and loud cicada. They are everywhere. Even in the middle of the city.DSCN0792

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DSCN0795Shopping street off to the West of the temple.DSCN0790The gate again on the way back out.DSCN0805The odd golden smoke/poo looking thing is Asahi Beer Headquarters. I don’t know how to feel about it. 
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FOOD INSTALLMENT:

I’m going to start putting our food at the end of posts so that everyone isn’t subjected to pictures of everything we eat. So, this is mostly your section Saige.

Our morning started off with this bakery here. French bakeries are all over. Their so cute and yummy looking!

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Lunch was a Sundubu restaurant. Korean food methinks. Allen ordered a level 2 on a 5 hotness scale before realizing it was Korean. It was too spicy but he ate a lot of it anyway.

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DSCN0546At some point we had a snack, but I can’t remember when.
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