Kongo finally returned to the port city of Yokohama and had a final day of sight seeing in Tokyo before flying back to California. After cruising for fifteen days, it had been a long trip for the monkeys. Mrs. Kongo was complaining of blisters on her toes (after doing more than 17,000 steps one day in the wrong set of walking shoes), Kongo was getting blurry, and they were both tired of ship tours. So on this last day they took off on their own to see a slice of the capital city they hadn’t seen before.
After a quick glimpse at the Imperial Palace through the trees it was off to see some more shrines and temples. You can’t swing a chopstick in Japan without hitting a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine. This time the monkey visited historic Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.
Known for its giant lanterns, the biggest in Japan, this is also the oldest temple in Tokyo and was founded in the early 600s.
Passing through the Kaminarimon Gate opens up a view of the main temple and nearby towering pagoda.
This is like another “shopping temple” and walking up to the gate is like a stroll through the largest World Market you’ve ever seen. There were thousands and thousands of visitors and many people dress up in kimonos to visit this spot.
The Sensoji Temple is close to the Tokyo Skytree. In the image below it towers over the neighborhood.
The Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan at more than 2,000 feet and houses high tech broadcasting capabilities and a restaurant.
Around downtown Tokyo are hundreds of building cranes. There is an enormous amount of construction going on and its changing the city on a daily basis.
Many buildings are covered in mirrored glass and they provide interesting reflections of the architecture across the street.
But even with all the skyscrapers you can nearly always find more traditional streets tucked in and around the modern buildings.
The recently renovated Tokyo Station is the center of Tokyo. Underground is a vast, subterranean city with shops, restaurants, and passageways that connect to several other train and subway stations. It’s easy to get lost here. Kongo knows this because he got lost there. You have to surface to figure out where you are then go back down and wander around some more.
Making it back to the ship shortly before dark, the monkey reflected on the trip as he watched the sun set on the Yokohama skyline from his stateroom veranda. It was a good trip. A detailed review will be coming out in the next day or so.
Travel safe. Have fun!