Hugo’s first few days were spent very much in Tokyo’s urban centre taking in the typical guidebook sites. I took him to the likes of Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya on day one with the former including the Metroplitan government building which showed him what he had let himself in for in terms of concrete as far as the eye can see. As it was a Sunday Harajuku and Yoyogi Park were obvious choices but surprisingly there were very few cosplayers hanging out outside Harajuku station. No idea what’s happened to them but its seemingly been aan activity in decline for a while now. The ‘Elvis’ rock ‘n’ roll dancers were thankfully still in Yoyogi Park strutting their stuff in the heat as were a new collective of line dancers.
The following day we went to see the Imperial Palace but couldn’t go inside the East gardens as they are closed on Mondays which was something I hadn’t thought about but no real loss as I don’t recall it being that great inside. Luckily for us, it was another beautiful day (in the rainy season) so we walked onto Hibiya and Ginza where we went in the Sony Centre building which was a place I hadn’t been to since my first few weeks in Japan all those years ago. A great place for that hands-on experience of the latest electronic marvels.
Hugo kept on saying he loved water so as it was nice we took the monorail over rainbow bridge to the man-made island of Odaiba and from there we later took a boat cruise up the Sumida-gawa river to Asakusa senso-ji temple which is perhaps the most touristy place in Tokyo and as it was already 6pm when we arrived most of the stalls were already closed meaning fewer crowds.
Again, Hugo was struggling with the long days and the extreme and intense humidity of a Japanese summer so the following day would be an easier day. That day included the beautiful Rikugien gardens near Komagome which are seemingly natural in appearance but are actually artificial. Can’t say I am bothered at all about that.
Ueno Park was on the itinerary next and we casually walked around the huge area taking in a temple and Shinobazu pond. Of course there were more activities but that’s all I am going to say about Hugo’s trip (I think three parts is enough!) other than that, despite my negative tone at times in these entries, it was nice to have a friend visit a place which is similar yet so different from that in Western society.