Tokyo July 2011 Day 10: Asakusa & The Imperial Palace

Day 10 in Tokyo, Friday 22nd July. We went to Asakusa, the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi (old town), where an atmosphere of old Japan survives. There are many temples and shrines in Asakusa.

We visited Sensō-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. During World War II, the temple was bombed and for the most part destroyed. It was rebuilt later and is a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people.

The “Thunder Gate”. This massive red & black paper lantern is meant to suggest thunderclouds and lightning.

Worlds largest Izakaya lantern? ^_~

There are many statues and shrines in the temple grounds.

Wooden prayer tablets (Ema)

Giant sandal!


Asakusa was also historically an entertainment district. This statue is of a Kabuki actor.

Clean up your dog’s poop?

Pom Poko

There are some lovely traditional shops in Asakusa selling things like handmade crafts and vintage Kimonos. Wish I’d bought one of these cute pin cushions.

After walking around Asakusa, we headed to Chiyoda to the Tokyo Imperial Palace. In this area the contrast between old & new buildings was quite stark.

Double-bridge Nijūbashi leading to the palace’s main gate over the moats.

Tokyo is often defined by extreme contrast of old and new. After a day of exploring classic Tokyo, we spent the evening enjoying modern Tokyo. Some local Tokyo friends took us to ‘All-you-can-drink’ karaoke in Nakano. It was a fun night out, we got our own booth with a karaoke machine and a phone to order drinks with! Things I learned about karaoke: Punk songs are great to sing as they are short & you can shout along! NOFX ‘Murder the Government’ and Rancid ‘Time Bomb’ were awesome! But I also learned that no matter how much you like Glee, you really have to be able to sing to bust out ‘Don’t stop believin’. *cringe*

After karaoke we went Para Para clubbing in Shinjuku. Really awesome night from what I can remember! Cheers to Aleister, Maya and Max for a great night out!

We finished off the night by sampling Honey Toast. Honey Toast is basically a loaf of white bread transformed in to a delicious cakey desert. Half a loaf of white bread is toasted on top,  drowned in honey, syrup and butter, then topped with ice cream, fruit & nuts. Ours was strawberry flavour! It’s a pretty strange concept but it was tasty and it also pretty much prevented me from having a hangover the following day, even after all you can drink karaoke. Sugoi!

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