20 April 2014

Tokyo - Things to do Day 1

Tokyo National Museum
I made it to the hotel smoothly, my bag was in storage and check-in wasn't until 3 and although I was still nervous, I knew where I wanted to head first (the Ueno area) thanks to some guide book cramming on the plane. By the time I got there it was nippy and had just started spitting, so I decided to go to Tokyo National Museum and do the shrines in the area afterwards.


...Practicalities
There are dozens of maps around the park to help you find the right museum. Ueno station is huge, but so is the park, so once you find your way to Ueno from where you're staying you'll bump in to it.

There is ticket machine at the museum with English translations. I was handed an English leaflet which included a map with basic information about the various rooms and many of the exhibits have English translations. Every room had an introduction in Japanese and English - you get it?... It's a good bet if your Japanese isn't up to scratch.


There is an Umbrella holder outside the Museum and lockers for 100 yen.


But BEST of all... 


It has amazing seating of all different types and it's all so comfy. This, plus jet lag, resulted in me nodding off. 



The museum displays a wide variety of items, including some beautiful Japanese Art (also pottery, kimonos, armour, lacquer finished items, porcelain) and that is just in the Honkan Building.



Cost: 620 yen
Station: Uedo (G16/H17)
Top tip: As you go to leave the ground floor follow directions for the building next door. There is a circular area before you get through to the Heiseikan building that overlooks the gardens. The tea house gardens are only open in spring and autumn, but this area gives you a peek any time of the year, plus (you guessed it?) the comfy chairs are a quiet place to relax.



Toshogu Shrine
This is a beautiful little spot, also in Uedo park, is right next to a Peony Garden (600 yen entry to garden) and is worth a few minutes while you're in the area. 



There are a handful of English translation and when I went late afternoon there was only a handful of other people about.


The shrine is a touching tribute to those lost to Hiroshima & Nagasaki.


Cost: Free. The adjacent peony garden costs 600 yen.
Station: Uedo (G16/H17)
Top Tip: Look at the colourful origami that surrounds the tribute - these snakes of colour are made from stacked cranes. 


If you make your way down to the lake...
...warmer...

...hot...


...TADAAAA.






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