Nippori to Akihabara – Temples, Buddha, Ueno Park and Manga

I was finally feeling better, and it was a stunning day, so it was time to explore more of Tokyo.

It was still surprising to see such clean streets.  There seems to be a lot of home and community pride in Tokyo.  These people are so respectful and tidy.

I also love that so many people here have pot plants out on the street.  It looks so sweet.

It was a 15 minute walk to Nippori Station.

The morning light was stunning.

I had quickly seen a coffee place yesterday called Excelsior Coffee, so I thought I would try it.

Excelsior Coffee Nippori

The food looked unhealthy and a bit scary, but perfect for jetlag.

The food was….. as expected. I will not be drinking this coffee again.

High on caffeine and sugar, I headed off.

I really appreciate all the map boards around the city indicating the distance to places of interest.

I hadn’t gone very far, and I arrived at the Tennoji Buddhist Temple.

Tennoji Temple

It is home to a 400 year old bronze Buddha.

Copper Seating Figure of Buddha

It was created in 1690 by Ota Kyuemon who lived in Kanda Nahecho.

Next door is the Yanaka Cemetery.

Yanaka Cemetery

Established in 1872, this is a secular cemetery with around 7,000 graves.

By April, these trees will all be pink with cherry blossom flowers.

I kept walking towards Ueno Park.

It was about 15 minutes walk.

Ueno Park

Established in 1873, the park comprises 133 acres.  It is a popular city park featuring walking paths, a fountain, a lake with boat rentals, a zoo & several museums.

Walking South through the park, I stumbled onto the Toshogu Shrine.

Toshogu Shrine

Built in 1616, Ueno Tōshō-gū is a Shinto shrine. It enshrines the first Shōgun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

It is one of Tokyo’s oldest buildings.

The shrine grounds also host the Flame of Hiroshima, which burns in remembrance of that horrible day.

Many people come to the shrine to pray for good fortune.

Karamon (Chinese style gate)

The Karamon was built in 1651. Gold foil as well as hand curved flowers and birds ornately decorate the doors and both sides of the gate. Two dragons are curved on the gate pillars that stand on both sides of the Karamon. They are known as Ascending dragon and
Descending dragon.
Legend has it that every night two dragons visit the Shinobazu-no-ike Pond to drink from its water.

Back out to the park.

I could see preparations being made for the cherry blossom festival.

I feared I was too early to see anything.

But then I saw some early blooming trees!

I was so happy I was able to see some.

I know they bloom in many countries, but it was awesome to see them in Japan. It truly made my day!

I continued down the park.

There seems to be a lot to see and do here.

Just beautiful…

It was time to find some lunch.

I headed towards Akihabara. Sometimes this place reminds me of the Bladerunner film.

I found another popular-looking food place, and since I was experienced with the vending order machines now, I decided to try it again.

Very tasty food.  It was a filling and delicious lunch. I kept walking, heading through Matsunagacho.

This was a cool area, originally developed as a town of merchants and craftsmen.

I reached Akihabara.

Akihabara

This area is the manga cartoon district and extremely popular with gamers.

It was time for a coffee.

The streets in this area are a visual delight.

It was time to take my sore feet home via the JR train.

Luckily it was before rush-hour.

Walking home from the train station, I knew I should probably snap a picture of the vending machines.  The Japanese love vending machines.

I cannot imagine a single healthy item coming out of a vending machine, unless it’s a bottle of water.

More early blooms along the way. Hello Spring!

What an amazing day.


Also published on Medium.

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