I woke up to rain. Not just a little rain, a typhoon.
I had a mini, internal panic attack—mostly because I had no internet and no way to check in with people and their plans for the day—but there was soon a lessening of the rain and I set off for the train station. Around the time I reached the train station it began pouring again, but thankfully I got on the train and was on my way to Tokyo.
The first destination for the day was Asakusa, and the temple and shopping district there. There were about 40 students—both Japanese and American—in total, and we roamed about in smaller groups. Of course, it was dumping rain still and the area was incredibly busy… and everyone had an umbrella! >.<
Basically there is a “road” of shops leading up to the temple, all of which sell a variety of things from snacks to trinkets to swords.
I had been here last January, but it was so busy with people praying for the new year that I didn’t actually go into the temple. This time I went in with a bunch of friends, and after yesterday’s experience at Meiji-jingu I had more confidence with the process of washing my hands, giving money, bowing, clapping and praying.
Happily though, today I was able to take pictures inside the temple!
Having another hour to kill between visiting the temple and going to lunch, we basically just wandered around taking pictures of everything… or at least, I did… 😛
For lunch the whole IES crew went to a restaurant close by. It was quite an experience! We all had to take our shoes off at the entry and then walked in to a room with cafeteria style seating. Each of us got our own bento which had a little bit of everything.
After lunch we headed over to take a boat to Ryogoku. On the way (of course) we all took a million more pictures, more so since it was finally sunny and we had the perfect view of the Sky Tree.
The boat was fantastic, and a really great change from walking and taking the trains everywhere.
We ended up in Ryogoku just outside the Edo Tokyo Museum. I had read a bit about this in a guide book a while ago, but it hadn’t really been high on my priority list of things to do in Tokyo. However, I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Tokyo! It was fantastic, and I felt like I actually learned a lot while having a nice time and being in an air conditioned place.
The museum has many life size and miniature models of houses and structures from Edo/Tokyo’s history, as well as tools and clothing and such that was used by people throughout the past several centuries.
After a few hours we headed immediately next door to the Sumo Stadium.
We were up in the nose-bleed section but it was still amazing. The IES students were separated between the East and West sides, but no matter where you are in the stadium you still have a great view.
None of us knew much about sumo—not even the Japanese students with us—but we had fun watching, “betting” and creating back stories for each of the sumo wrestlers. Apparently these people are all really famous, especially the two at the end…but they all seemed fairly similar to me! >.<
After the Sumo match, a bunch of us headed over to Akihabara for some sushi. All I have to say: delicious!
Tomorrow is the real beginning of classes…which I am both excited for and dreading. It is fun to have so much free time and no real responsibilities to be anywhere, but at the same time it will be nice to have a normal routine.
As always, thanks for reading and see you next time! 😀