The day began with a new breakfast cereal we’ve discovered called Love Crunch, which has become an all time favourite for us. It’s a granola with bits of chocolate in it. There are a few different flavours and they are all delicious. We bought it from the organic shop the other day and then bought some frozen blueberries from 7-11 for around $3. Perfect start to the day!
After breakfast, we took one of those handy trains to Asakusa to eat lunch at this beautiful tiny french restaurant hidden inside the smaller streets (Thanks google maps!). This was one of those days we discovered that every part of Tokyo is quite different from each other. The look, the feel, the general vibe, noise levels, so much variety packed neatly inside of this remarkable city. Asakusa was almost the opposite of where we spent the first couple of days. Harajuku is more manic, Asakusa had a lovely, relaxed feel about it. We loved it as soon as we got off the train.
On the way to the restaurant we bumped into some women in traditional costumes having their photos taken. Josh quickly jumped into the opportunity to snap some shots for us! He found himself having quite a lot fun stepping into the “back up” photographer role to the elderly man snapping away shots for himself as the two girls maintained eye contact with his lenses providing us the not so common angles. We both love this one:
When we got to the cafe at first the owner of the cafe wasn’t going to let us in because she couldn’t fit a table of 8 together. Usually the cafes in Japan are quite tiny. You know, that cosy feel to everything you find in this beautiful section of the world. The general Japanese population are just so kind. Being brought up in Australia where most places will rearrange furniture to get that extra sale in, Japan’s respect for a beautiful experience outweighs their desire for sales. Truly a giving nation. After we said we’d split tables, she allowed us to come in, and then put a sign on the door saying no more customers! We felt quite giving ourselves for completely filling her small restaurant in one go!
It was such a wonderful meal – all cooked by her. The Set course we ordered went for 1000 Yen! (about AUD$12) About half the price we had been paying for other food venues in Harajuku. First up was a soup with red onion and cabbage, then a plate with two salads and pita bread with a side of spicy chickpeas. She also bought extra pita out as well as half a sweet bagel with cream cheese and jam. Oh yeah, also this miniature cupcake just to put the lid on our full stomachs. The wonderful owner, so gracious and warm hearted, did everything with care while showing little to no stress and wanted to make sure we had enough food and were happy.
After lunch we wandered to the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. It was quite easy to find. Just follow the noise level! It’s also called the Kannon temple after the Goddess of Mercy. There were so many people around and lots of shops lining the streets.
Walking towards the temple there was lots of interesting artworks around, including traditional figures climbing walls:
Or just chilling on the roof:
or warning you about something!
On the way Josh got approached by a Japanese boy who wanted to ask him a lot of questions, like: Do you like Japan? What is your favourite food? etc. It was so cute! He even forgot to write down the answers!
Kannon temple had a very spiritual feel about it. We caught onto the scent of smoke which our curiosity wanted to follow. It wasn’t long until we were gazing upon a big pot of burning incense right in front of the temple, people saying prayers and a beautiful and serene calmness about it all.
There were lots people dressed in traditional Japanese costumes. Apparently it was a special day that they were celebrating and that’s why so many people were dressed up. Isn’t it remarkable how life just provides all these neat little opportunities where you don’t even have to plan for it to happen. This trip was full of gifts to enhance our lovely travel experience.
Inside the temple people were praying to the Goddess of Mercy and getting fortunes for 100 yen. You put your money in a slot and then rattle a big tin full of sticks. You pull out a stick and then match the number on the stick with the number in the boxes and pull out a sheet of paper with your fortune on it. Yeh.. We did it 🙂 After that, people tie up their fortunes outside.
There were beautiful little gardens surrounding the temple. One had a pond with lots of Koi fish in it. We saw a glimpse of a rat tail darting into its hiding spot as we crossed the Koi bridge.
After we left Asakusa we headed to Asakusabashi which has an 8 story paper shop called Shimojima where they have the cutest little things! You can find everything in there, from kitchen utensils, to writing paper, to food! It was difficult not to stock up in this store! We loved it!
After that we headed back to Harajuku – and on the crazy crowded trains our group was almost split in two after attempting to board a crowded train!
We had dinner in Harajuku at a great place called Hanada Rosso that makes excellent vegan burgers!
These tasty morsels definitely fill the gap on any occasion. The restaurant is tucked away off the main street and we were just about the only customers there.
A short walk back home, with just enough energy left to brush our teethy pegs and climb into beds. Good night! Check back for the next Japan blog post soon!