10 Days in Japan (Part 3) – The Pedestrian Scramble and Other Experiences

Hi everyone, and here is the 3rd part of my story of visit to Japan. Here I pen down some more exciting moments of my 10-day tour.

Day 7

It was May 1, 2014. Yet another bright sunny day in Kashiwanoha (the place where we were staying in Japan). Me and my husband, Biplob, made the travel plan for the day while having our breakfast. We took a train to visit Meiji Shrine. But we did not get down at the station nearest to the shrine, instead we got down at a station which was at least a kilometer away from our destination. The one kilometer path which we choose to walk, was a very sophisticated and interesting place where one can get to see the modern youth-culture of Tokyo. It was a broad, tree-lined avenue known as Omotesando, also referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees.

Footpath, Omotesando

Footpath, Omotesando

Some call it the fashion street, probably because of the branded shops on both sides of the avenue, selling fashionable (and expensive) dresses and accessories.

A building decorated with flowers, Omotesando

Some building, Omotesando

At the end of the fashion street we found the entrance of Meiji Shrine, also known as Meiji Jingu. The entrance was marked by a massive Torii-gate (traditional Japanese gate) and once we crossed the gate to enter the shrine-area, we were as if disconnected from the hustles and bustles of the busy city.

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Torii gate, Entrance of Meiji Shrine

The main building of the shrine was approximately ten minutes of walking distance from the entrance. The walk through the tranquil forest-like area was enjoyable. We came to know that the trees in the shrine complex were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. On the way to the main building of the shrine, we came across the huge collection of (empty) barrels of sake, Japanese rice-wine.

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Decorative display of sake barrels

The main shrine was quite big in size and it was dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife.

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Meiji Shrine

Near the shrine, we saw some horizontal bars which is used to hang wooden tablets, where different wishes were written by people. It is a very common tradition in Japanese shrines.

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Wishes, written on wooden tablets

Our next destination was Yoyogi park, which is just beside the complex of Meiji Shrine. This Park is one of Tokyo’s largest city parks, having wide lawns, ponds, sitting areas and lots of lush green trees. We spent quite a lot of time there strolling around here and there and relaxing amidst the greenery.

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Entrance of Yoyogi park

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Yoyogi Park

When we came out of Yoyogi park, it was already late afternoon. We started to walk towards Shibuya crossing. We were walking through a posh area, with glamorous shopping malls and nicely decorated restaurants on both sides of the wide road.

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Decorated restaurant

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On the way to Shibuya crossing …

Finally we reached the famous Shibuya crossing! It was a pedestrian scramble, a special kind of traffic system that stops all vehicles at a time and allows the pedestrians to cross the intersection in every direction. For the first time in my life, I crossed such a special and world-famous intersection. Who knew that even crossing a road can be so interesting!

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Shibuya Crossing

After experiencing the scramble crossing, we arrived at the entrance of Shibuya railway station. There we saw the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog. There is a story behind this statue. Hachiko was a pet dog of a professor of the University of Tokyo. At the end of each day, Hachiko used to go to the Shibuya Station to receive his owner. This was a daily routine, until the day when the professor did not return at all to the railway station. He had suffered a cerebral attack in his office and died. Hachiko’s endless waiting started from that day… Each day for the next nine years, Hachiko used to arrive at the same station in the afternoon and he used to wait eagerly for his owner’s return, and then finally go back, sadly.

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Statue of Hachiko

We liked that fact that people of Japan still remember the faithful dog. They made a statue of Hachiko near the Shibuya station, the surrounding area is named as “Hachiko square”, in the roads of Tokyo we came across a “Hachiko-bus” – all these were tributes to the famous Akita dog, who waited patiently for his owner.

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Hachiko bus

Then we took a train from the Shibuya station and our headed towards Asakusa to see the ancient Buddhist temple known as Senso-ji temple. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple and a must-visit place in Tokyo. It was dark by then and the huge temple was beautifully lit up. I had my tripod with me, so I started to click pictures.

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Senso-ji temple

Apart from the main building of the temple, there was a pagoda whose architectural beauty is worth mentioning.

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Sensoji Pagoda (at right)

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Temple gate

When we were roaming around and clicking photos in the complex of the temple, a tall and nicely-lit structure attracted our eyes from far. It was the famous Tokyo Skytree which is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world. Its height is 634 meters! Biplob, in course of living in Japan for quite a long time, had already seen the skytree many times and he suggested that we could get a better view if we walk upto the bank of Sumida river. So we started walking, and yes! the bank of the river was actually a very nice place. We got stunning view of the Skytree and other buildings. This particular lighting style (in blue and white) of skytree is called “Iki”, which means stylish.

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“Love in Tokyo” 

It was cold and windy.. it was getting late.. but the place was so beautiful that we wanted to spend more time there. Before leaving the place, we captured the moment in my camera (utilizing the tripod). A kind-of-selfie…  “We and the skytree” …  Perfect!

We leave behind a bit of ourselves wherever we’ve been

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2 thoughts on “10 Days in Japan (Part 3) – The Pedestrian Scramble and Other Experiences

  1. Very beautiful Swagata di! The pictures are incredible. And the ending quote was simply awesome. By the way, there is a movie Hachiko on the dog by the same name, starrung Richard Gere. I don’t know if you have seen it, it is very touching. I had no idea your guys had visited Hachiko’s statue in course of your stay in Japan. I was pleasantly surprised. And yes, indeed we leave bits of ourselves wherever we go. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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