When Dick and Andrew come to visit, Dick is usually full of ideas of things that he wants to see and do but, like us, he came to Japan with so much apprehension that he did no preplanning and is totally relying on us for all touring and exploring.
Their second full day in Tokyo we awoke to a steady rain so we had a lazy morning and then took the subway to Roppongi. We went to lunch at this tiny Thai restaurant in a food court and then on to Mori Art Museum.
This is a contemporary Art Museum founded by a real estate developer in a Tower that he built in 2003.
We are not fans of modern art but Dick and Andrew are.
Aki Inomate’s ” How to carve a Sculpture”. The artist gave pieces of wood to beavers in five different zoos to chew and gnaw on. (seems like cheating to us)!
Views of Tokyo skyline from the museum.
Other than the views, The Mori Museum was mostly a bust for all of us. Very modern Japanese art which none of us were really keen on..
Our friends Madeline and Don Leone from Florence taught us how to play Burraco which is a Gin-Rummy type of card game in the Canasta family for four players that originated in Argentina. We taught Dick and Andrew how to play and it became our evenings entertainment. Burraco is addictive, challenging and lots of fun.
The cherry blossoms were at their peak in Ueno Park.
We strolled through the park on our way to the Zoo.
Our goal for the day was to see the Pandas. We booked tickets on line and avoided the lines at the entrance, as you can see in this photo we walked right through the empty pre-booked line.
This is such a lovely Zoo.
The line to see the Panda’s seemed very long, but a sign advised us of a 50 minute wait, so we opted to get in line and it moved very efficiently and we felt it was well worth the wait and as you can see in the following photos and videos these adorable creatures put on a good show for us.
This goat has developed a loving relationship with the horse in the adjacent animal pen. It was adorable to watch them nuzzling over their fence.
In Feb 2023 Xiang Xiang the first female giant panda born June 2017 . through natural mating in the Ueno Zoo Japan was returned to China. The five year old got quite a send off as the Japanese people lined the road from the zoo to the airport to wave her Sayonara.
It was perfect weather to stroll the park. The red lanterns provide light for nighttime viewing of the sakura.
Many Japanese were dressed in their traditional kimono attire.
After Ueno Park we went to Gyoen Park which covers 145 acres and has formal gardens, pavilions and a pond.
Love the reflection.
No visit to Japan is complete without a swig of Suntory Whiskey for anyone who saw the movie “Lost in Translation” with Bill Murray. These are Suntory highballs which is only a little whiskey and a lot of sparkling water.
This is the famous Shibuya Scramble in Tokyo which is one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world and dates back over 100 years to the Shibuya Station in 1885. It is often compared to Times Square in NYC and Piccadilly Circus in London.
After our stroll through Shibuya we went to the basement food hall of Mitsukoshi. This store has a history dating back to the 17th century and is Japan’s oldest and grandest department store chain. They bought some delicious pastries for us to enjoy.
Next days itinerary was the Garden of the Imperial Palace to admire the flowers and trees which were in peak bloom.
We have been amazed at the size of the Palace’s defensive moat and stone walls.
This is one of many samurai Guard houses on the Palace grounds.
The gardens have an attractive pond that creates a lovely refection of the flowering cherry trees.
There are thirteen species of bamboo trees in a bamboo island.
Japanese Tea House overlooks the pond in the garden.
After our Imperial Garden stroll we went to the Four Season’s Hotel for lunch.
We had to wait an hour for the next lunch seating so we made ourselves comfortable in their waiting lounge.
And of course had drinks. Dick and Sandy had a very delicious passion fruit margarita.
The dining room on the 52nd floor had a great view of Tokyo.
We booked a tour of Mt Fuji and took a two and a half hour bus ride to get there enjoying the scenery along the way. These are rice paddy farms.
The weather that day allowed the bus to drive us up to station 4 of 10. There are a total of 4 trails to reach the summit which all start at different station 5’s. The snow cover prevented us from going any higher. Mt Fuji is the tallest peak in Japan at 3,776 meters, it is an active volcano and considered a sacred mountain. Summit hikes remain a popular summer activity and involve two days and one overnight in reserved huts.
When we arrived the top was completely obscured by clouds and mist. Fortunately it cleared enough briefly for us to see some of the peak and grab a photo. The tour guide warned us on the bus ride there that they only allow you 20 minutes and you may not see it during that time. So much for advanced warning.
Included in the tour was lunch which was awful.
And equally bad entertainment.
Another part of the tour included a boat ride in the town of Hakone.
More views of Fuji from the water.
After the boat ride we took a very steep tram ride up another mountain.
This afforded us our best view and photo of Fuji.
Nice view of Lake below.
And the Pacific Ocean.
We took the high speed Shinkansen, bullet train back to Tokyo. This train can hit maximum speeds of up to 200 mph.
Stay tuned for more adventures of the stalkers in Japan.
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