When James proposed a 20-day travelling spree to three very different locations – Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong – I was sceptical of my ability to handle such a long trip. Especially knowing how much we tend to do in a single day when abroad. We’re the type to set out early and not return to our hotel until past 10pm, which results in us having perpetual muscle aches and sore feet from too much exploring. Sometimes we even fall sick from this overexertion. But despite my initial apprehension, I caved and let James plan the entire trip (for which I am eternally grateful). We’re now one week into Japan and I’ve got no regrets so far! We have seen and done so many amazing things. I’m stupidly excited to share!
One of the first things we did on Day Número Uno (before our lunch date with Luke & TJ, who were also in Tokyo at the same time) was wander around Asakusa. We deliberately picked our hotel to be within walking distance of Sensō-ji Temple. Sensō-ji is very different in the morning. I’ve been to the temple both in the afternoon (when Nakamise-dori is at its busiest) and at night (when all the shops are closed but the temple is lit up spectacularly). I much prefer it in the morning, I think. Less people. More chance to enjoy the tranquility of the temple grounds.
Sensō-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple)
Of course, no trip to Sensō-ji is complete without giving your tastebuds a treat with some mitarashi dango (grilled mochi skewers covered in a sweet soy sauce reduction – one of my favourite things ever) and melonpan (soft, pillowy Japanese sweet bread with a crunchy cookie crust on top – check out our recipe). You’ll find a wide range of traditional snacks and souvenirs available along Nakamise-dori that are specific to the region of Asakusa.
We also got our fortunes read! We did this last year in November at the exact same temple. Known as o-mikuji (literally “sacred lot”), these random fortunes are written on paper and can be found at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples all over Japan. They are usually received after you make a small offering. In the case of Sensō-ji Temple, ¥100 is the recommended offering. As usual, I got a pretty bad reading. I never seem to get anything good! Either the game’s rigged or my luck is really crappy.
After our time in Asakusa, we took a train to Ueno to kill time at Ueno Park before meeting Luke and TJ in Shibuya for lunch. On the train, we learnt all about Lady Gaga’s bag enthusiast “best friend” (you need to see the ad). Getting to Ueno Station from Asakusa is a breeze – it’s three stops away on the Ginza Line. It’s summer and Ueno Park is beautiful this time of year! I wrote a blog post about Ueno Park back in 2012 if you want to take a look.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time for. I’ll blog about Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando and the rabbit café we visited in the near future. Check back soonish! ♥