Tokyo Day 3 | Meiji Jingu and Roppongi

We were determined to get out and see Meiji Jingu Shrine after our failed attempt yesterday. Again we struggled a little with starting early – I think we’re just about caught up on that red eye now. 

We polished off a persimmon for breakfast and walked to our local subway station, heading towards Yoyogi Park. 

Today felt a little colder than previous days, and we were both bundled up in hats and scarves. Meiji Shrine is a shinto shrine in Shibuya and is surrounded by a 170-acre forest, offering a pleasant walk away from all street noise. The entranceways are impressive, although some were under construction. 

Inside the park, we first came across a small area that sold charms and fortune, as well as a poem (omikuji) from Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. 

Within the main area we were able to write prayers and wishes, and submit them into a box underneath a well-groomed tree. 

We seemed to beat the crowds a little, as soon a huge bus-load of tourists arrived. 

This was on Jane’s Top 5 before the trip, so here’s her commentary on the whole experience:

My breath was taken away as soon as we approached the first torii gate at the south entrance of the Meiji Jingu gardens. The gigantic trees lining a perfectly straight path was unlike anything I’ve seen with my own eyes. The experience was calming and cerebral. It felt surreal to hear the large drums as one of the two daily ceremonies of Nikkusai (at 2pm – sacred prayers for worldwide peace and everybody’s prosperity) took place while locals walked by wearing traditional kimono dress and visitors wrote wishes and tried to take in the history and culture. There was a sense of peacefuless in the air that I don’t think I’d find anywhere else.

I think in all we walked around for a few hours, and even stumbled across a chrysanthemum festival.

There were also some barrels of sake wrapped in straw!

On leaving Meiji Jingu I wanted to see if the original Tokyo Pokémon store offered greater selection than the one at SkyTree. It was a bit of a hike on the subway, and didn’t really live up to its name: Pokémon Megastore Tokyo. We did pick up a few souvenirs though. 

We made our way now towards Roppongi, but first stopped to have a phenomenal cheese tart at Bake, a quaint bakery in the subway system. 

We hadn’t really eaten today, so I decided we needed to feast on some wagyu beef. My choice was Pound-Ya, and we were the first customers in the door (5pm). We selected to share a Marbelled Japanese Wagyu Steak, and I then opted for a deluxe burger (w/ mushroom) and Jane had a beef and rice bowl. The steak was juicy and a perfect accomplishment for our mains. 

Was it the best steak I’ve ever eaten? No. But I was pretty happy with my choice, and the price.

After dinner (6pm by now) we went in search of Roppongi Hills, an area known for some impressive views over the city. After a short walk we found the spot, and took a good vantage point to see the Tokyo Tower in its orange glory.

It seems there was a popular band playing in this area as we saw (and heard) many screaming fans rushing around. We later heard the beginning of the outdoor set, but neither of us knew who it was so decided to move on. 

While in the general area I wanted to get a much closer view of Tokyo Tower, so we jumped on the subway (1 stop) and walked up a steep hill to get a better view. Still very bright orange up close.

With all the outdoor walking today (14,000 steps) in the cold we opted to head back to the apartment by around 8pm and grab a few snacks for the evening. I picked up some beef balls and pork-wrapped rice, while Jane selected what I’m calling “triangle sushi” (Jane: it’s an “onigiri” and clearly Darren isn’t learning any Japanese this trip). 

Tomorrow is our last day in Tokyo, and we’ll be meeting a family friend of mine (Nobby) to experience Sensoji and the Tori No Ichi festival!

– Darren


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