We were fortunate enough to arrive at this Buddhist temple just on 3 pm and be able to watch Goma, a fire ritual performed 5 times a day by monks of the Shingon sect. No photographs of the ritual are permitted. It involved taiko drums, fire and the chanting of Sutras. Very impressive.
Afterwards we had coffee and tea near the temple grounds where we watched the world go by.
A train ride out to Ochanomizu and a short walk leads to Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan, a 6 story centre specialising in high quality traditional Japanese paper. The current gallery exhibition features samurai hats. There are classes in paper craft going on all the time. The staff are happy for visitors to wander around, including into the paper making workshop where we watched paper being painted and hung.
All things origami and washi paper are available in the shop which we will visit again at the end of this trip. I was in heaven.
A rainy day is a perfect opportunity to visit any attraction that is warm and under cover. Tokyo’s National Museum holds many beautiful pieces of Japanese art, clothing and Samurai artefacts, making it well worth a visit.
Here are a few of the items I particularly liked, captured by the iPhone, because I neglected to bring a spare camera battery with us on today’s outing.
We flew into Narita airport yesterday evening after around 9 hours in the air.
Entry formalities went smoothly. Once we collected our pre-ordered pocket wifi device from the Post Office in Terminal 2, bought Suica cards for the subway, and purchased tickets for the Narita Express into Tokyo we were on our way into the city. It was raining as we emerged from the subway station in the Akasaka district for the directionally imperfect walk to our small but perfectly formed room, complete with pillow selection on your way up.
We dropped into a busy local restaurant well after 9pm and enjoyed some warm food and a most convivial atmosphere (smokers notwithstanding) where noise levels happily rose with every entry and exit of customers. (We have actually come back tonight from a second visit to Youyusyonin).
The rain set in for a good part of today. No surprise, then, that our first purchase this morning was two umbrellas. Today’s destinations were the National Museum of Tokyo, Ochisnomizu Origami Kaikan and Fukugawa Fudo-do, all of which rate their own posts which will follow in due course.
At Ueno Station we had lunch at a soba noodle bar where you order your meal at the vending machine outside the restaurant.
We spent a good deal of time in the subway system today. Even during the busiest rush hour crushes, everyone is polite and helpful. Single lines to the left going up escalators assist fellow travellers rushing for a train. We had unsolicited offers of assistance with directions and have been made to feel welcome in every cafe and restaurant we’ve visited. I think we’re going to like it here.