September 2021. In our Grand Scheme of Travels, Danny and I had planned to be in Japan with Michel. Quod non. So let’s go back to March and April 2013, when my sister Florence, her husband Kenneth, my nephew Leo and my niece Isaline travelled to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. The classic intro to Nippon and a golden opportunity. I grew up with anime such as ‘Dragon Ball‘ and ‘Saint Seiya‘ on television and Japan had been on my wish list since I was little. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But thanks to photos on Facebook, my guidebook and check-ins on Swarm (Foursquare), I can reconstruct parts of that trip.
On day 2 my sister and her family joined in at some point.
I started the day passing by Akasaka Rikyu or State Guest House. The palace was originally built as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince in 1909. Today the palace is designated by the Government of Japan as an official accommodation for visiting state dignitaries. Located in Moto-Akasaka, Minato, the building took on its present function in 1974, having previously been an imperial detached palace. In 2009 the palace was designated as a National Treasure of Japan.
Next up was Ueno Park. It’s a spacious public park in the Ueno district of Taitō. The park was established in 1873 on lands formerly belonging to the temple of Kan’ei-ji. Amongst the country’s first public parks, it was founded following the western example as part of the borrowing and assimilation of international practices that characterizes the early Meiji period. The home of a number of major museums, Ueno Park is also celebrated in spring for its cherry blossoms and hanami.
We ended the day at Shibuya and its world famous scramble crossing.