Friday, May 7, 2010

Trip Day 7: Tsukiji Market, Roppongi, Asakusa & Ikebukuro (March 26th) -part 2-

Well, here I am with the second part of yesterday's post! It's all about Asakusa, a place full of temples and tourists!

Public transport is very expensive in Tokyo, especially if you want to visit lots of places connected by different train lines or metro; so instead of paying overpriced tickets but arriving at the exact station we wanted, we paid less a walk a little so we got to see a little of the area instead of taking the train for everything..

So on our way to Asakusa, we walked by the Sumida-gawa (or River Sumida) where we saw quite a few homeless people.
We walked for a while, and as we were approaching Asakusa district, the Asahi Beer Building (AKA The Poop Building) was getting bigger and bigger.
We all love the golden poop, don't we? xDDD

Sumida-gawa 01

Sumida-gawa 02

Asahi Beer Building (AKA The Poop Building)

Once there, the sun started making its way through the clouds, which we thanked A LOT!
And I don't know how to explain this.., but I think this place has some kind of magic, good vibrations all over the place, everyone looked happy and were so nice despite all the people cluttering the streets and the shops.

Here are some photos of the shops and Nakamise-dori (or Nakamise street).

A cook making noodles..

Noodle Making 01

Noodle Making 02



Geta shop.., take look a the man, after talking to the other guy, he left running down the street..

Geta Shop 02 Geta Shop 01

This was a sweets shop, and they were also selling 'ningyo-yaki' (you can see the machine in the photo), and even if I'm not too fond of Anko, they were delicious!!

Ningyo-yaki Making


A masks shop.., we wanted to buy one, but they were so fragile that we were afraid it would break in the suitcase.. We wanted the crow one,sadly it's not pictured here.. ;_;

Noh Masks

Finally we made it to the Kaminarimon (or Thunder Gate), the first gate that leads to Senso-ji Shrine.
In this photo you can see the south face of the giant 'chochin' (or lantern) that hangs under the gate and reads 'Kaminarimon' and the upper tablet reads 'Kinryū-zan' (or Golden Dragon Mountain) and references the Senso-ji.

Kaminarimon South Face

There are four statues under the gate, two on the south face and other two on the north face.
On the south face there are the Shinto gods Fūjin, the god of wind, located on the east side of the gate, and Raijin, the god of thunder and lightning, located on the west side.

I don't know why I only got a photo of Fujin, if Raijin is cooler looking.. ¬.¬

Kaminarimon South Face: Fūjin

And here you can see 'Kaminarimon' North face, with the lantern and the other two statues.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon)

If you pay attention, the writing on the lantern is different than on the south face, that's why on the north face it says 'Furaijinmon', which is the official name of the gate.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon)

On this side of the gate, the statues are of the Buddhist god Tenryū on the east, and the goddess Kinryū on the west side.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon): Tenryū Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon): Kinryū

And here a photo of the giant lantern's bottom, where a dragon is carved in wood.
All the people that passed under it touched it, so I wanted to do the same, only I have to jump to reach it! xDDD

Kaminarimon Lantern's Bottom

We finally reached the 'Hōzōmon' (or Treasure-House Gate), the second gate that leads to the Senso-ji.
In this gate there are three lanterns and two similar statues located on the south face.

Hōzōmon South Face

These statues represent 'Niō', the guardian deity of the Buddha. Because of these statues, the gate was originally called the 'Niōmon' (or Niō Gate) before it was renamed the 'Hōzōmon'.

Hōzōmon South Face: Niō Hōzōmon South Face: Niō

And here is one of the two copper 'Tōrō' (or lantern), it's so beautiful!!!

Hōzōmon Copper Tōrō

On the north face of the gate there are the 'O-Waraji' (or straw sandals).

O-Waraji O-Waraji

On one side of this gate there is the 'Goju no To' (or Five-Storied Pagoda) founded in 942, later rebuilt in 1648; and reconstructed in 1973 due to the fire that burnt it in 1945 during WWII.
A beautiful Pagoda, if you ask me.. ♥

Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda)

Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda) Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda)

Here is Luc leaving his Omikuji at the shrine..
And if you pay attention, you can see a white wall at the back.., well, guess what, this shrine was also being remodelled!! WTF?! U.U


Luc in the 'O-koro', which is not a big ashtray.. xDD
It's a big thurible that's said its smoke healing illnesses and giving strength to the weak.


Here's the 'Senso-ji', and the only photo you'll see since I couldn't take a photo of the outside because of what I stated before, and the inside was too dark and all the photos came out blurry.. U.U
But this shrine is the oldest shrine in Tokyo, being built in 645.

Sensō-ji Shrine

Behind the shrine there is this beautiful ground with trees, plants and water running under the bridges..

Sensō-ji Grounds

This is me portraying Raijin.. xDDDD

Raijin (me) and Fūjin

And one of my happiest moments was when we found this Taiyaki shop!!
Ahhh, so many taiyaki in different flavours.
What makes me mad is the fact that I bought this taiyaki pan almost 2 years ago and my husband isn't capable of buying the correct plug to be able to use it! >.< Taiyaki Making 01

Taiyaki Making 02

Taiyaki Display Taiyaki

I went for the 'soft custard kurimu' one, 'chokoreeto' for Luc and 'sakura' for my husband.
So yummy!!!!! ♥♥

Taiyaki Eating 01 Taiyaki Eating 02

After eating the taiyaki, we left Asakusa and headed out ways to Ikebukuro, but in our way, we passed by Bandai building and these cuties were on the outside.. :DD

Bandai Building: Doraemon

Bandai Building: Cinnamoroll Bandai Building: Mametchi (Tamagotchi)

Bandai Building: Ultraman Bandai Building: Gundam

When we arrived at Ikebukuro, we went to 'Sunshine City' a BIIIIIG mall with aquarium, observatory, zoo and many more things.
Sadly we didn't visit any of this, we just bought a few things (not without a further fight) and went back to 'Baba'.
Here's a fountain inside the mall..

Sunshine City

And here is the Amlux building (or Toyota building), so beautiful at night!!!

Amlux (Toyota Building)

Well, I hope you liked it, and didn't get tired of all the explanations about Asakusa.. xDDD

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Trip Day 7: Tsukiji Market, Roppongi, Asakusa & Ikebukuro (March 26th) -part 1-

Here I come with the 7th day of the trip, the most exhausted of all and the one I feel I got the most out of it.
We all were supposed to go together, but the girls had to go to the post office in the morning, so we split, and my husband, Luc and I went on with the plan..

BTW, I think I'll make two different posts of this day, since there are so many photos, I hope you don't mind! ^^;

The alarm woke us up at 5 am., we were going to the "Tsukiji Ichiba" or Fish Market, one of the things my husband was looking forward to do.., me not so much, I couldn't care less.. xDDD
Anyway, we woke up and took the metro to the market located in Tokyo, when we arrived there were SO many tourists at the station and the street already coming back, that I knew we had arrived too late for the Tuna Auctions, since they do it very very early in the morning, and it was 6 am already..
So we just went through the aisles watching all the stalls with different fishes and things from the sea.. It was good, not fantastic for me since like I said before I couldn't care less for fish and all that.., but my husband has a fascination with it, so he liked it a lot!

Here people were really rude, the workers I mean, and I can totally understand since they are working and you are bothering them with photos or just your mere presence.., but they kept pushing us tourists to the sides with really bad manners, that I feared my husband would took it personally and start a fight with all of them, luckily he controlled himself and everything went smoothly.. U.U

Here are some of the photos I took of the 'things' we saw there.. (If you want to know what they are, go to my flickr page to see the photo with the name)

Tsukiji Ichiba: Tuna

Tsukiji Ichiba: Crabs


Tsukiji Ichiba: Tuna

Tsukiji Ichiba: Clams

Tsukiji Ichiba: Razor Clams & Clams

Tsukiji Ichiba: Octopus

Tsukiji Ichiba: Prawns

Tsukiji Ichiba

Tsukiji Ichiba: Workers

Tsukiji Ichiba

Tsukiji Ichiba

Tsukiji Ichiba Rntrance

We were so lucky it wasn't raining today since we had to walk in the open air and visit open places..
When we got out of the market it was around 9 pm. and I wanted to visit the Tokyo Tower, so we took the metro again and went there.

Here are some beautiful murals at Tsukijishijō Station.

Tsukijishijō Station Mural 01

Tsukijishijō Station Mural 02

When we got out from the station, we could see the Tower in the background, so we walked until we reached it..

Tokyo Tower 01

On our way we met a lovely dead end street with a little shrine on it..

Tokyo Tower 02

We were surprised when finding the Tokyo Masonic Building near the Tokyo Tower, the funny thing was it was located just in front of a Catholic Church.. :D

Tokyo Masonic Building

There was also this pretty building "Hasegawa Green Building", all covered with plants and with plants inside, too!

Hasegawa Green Building

And finally Tokyo Tower.., probably the only disappointing thing I found in Tokyo.. xDD
It was actually ugly and not impressive at all.. DD:
It was still closed but there were already lots of tourists around, but I was too hungry and I didn't want to wait, so we left without going up; it was daytime and cloudy anyway.., and I wanted to see something wonderful like all the city lights and not a city full of clouds.. xDD

Tokyo Tower 03 Tokyo Tower 04

Then we searched for a konbini to buy something to eat, I bought a good-looking bread with some kind of filling, Luc some kind of puffs, and mu husband two onigiris with 'who-knows-what' inside..
The puffs were OK, my good-looking bread was filled with some kind of cheese and TOO ugly to eat even if I was hungry, and my husband wasn't happy with his onigiri either, he couldn't find out what the inside was.., he didn't finish it and threw it away.., and believe me when I say he never throws food away he hates to do that.., but he just couldn't finish the onigiri.. XDDD

Onigiri of Hell

So after NOT eating we decide to go to Roppongi Hills since we were already in the Roppongi area..
On our way we found this beautiful Shinto Shrine (I love the ones with stairs the most..), which when I saw it I swear I thought it was "Hikawa Shrine" (Hino Rei's Shrine in Sailor Moon) since we were near. But When I arrived here I looked for it and no.., it wasn't.. ;_;

Shinto Shrine 01

Shinto Shrine 02

Shinto Shrine

Then we continued our way to Roppongi Hills..
We saw a sweets shop with this curious 'cakes', please someone with Japanese knowledge, could you tell me what does the tags say.. because they look like bread with ice-cream and such on top.. xDD


We also found the Hard Rock cafe..

Hard Rock Cafe

Once at Roppongi Hills everything was expensive and cool looking, there were lots of people going to their shops, lots of lovely girls and men in suits.
It was almost 11 am. so shops were about to open, but we walked around to see the Mori Garden and the Mori Tower.

Roppongi Hills

The 'Maman' next to the Mori Tower.. I've always wanted to see one of the Maman IRL, and having the Bilbao one quite near, I got to see the Roppongi Hills one first! xDDD

Roppongi Hills: Maman

Red flower that reminded me of the 'Le Petit prince' rose and the Mori Tower next to it.

Roppongi Hills: Red Flower Roppongi Hills: Red Flower & Mori Tower

Then we went to the Mori Tower to visit the Mori museum, but it was too expensive and we didn't know what we were going to see anyway.. xDD
But we got to see some of that day exhibition's sculpture from the Tower..
On the right, you can see a BoConcept sculpture: 'A Long Sofa', an interactive one, since you can sit there and.., well, sit.. xDD
And onto the left, there's CHOI Jeong Hwa's 'Lotus' sculpture, three Lotus flowers made of some light weight material with air blowing inside that made them go up and down..

Roppongi Hills, Mori Tower: BoConcept: A Long Sofa

Roppongi Hills, Mori Garden: CHOI Jeong Hwa: Lotus

Roppongi Hills, Mori Garden: CHOI Jeong Hwa: Lotus

Roppongi Hills, Mori Garden: CHOI Jeong Hwa: Lotus

And a view of the entrance to the Mori Tower..

Roppongi Hills: Mori Tower

Next post I will continue with the second part of the post, when we left from Roppongi Hills to Asakusa..
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