JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Sensō-ji, Hamarikyu Gardens and the Imperial Palace East Gardens

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. 

After a solo day 1, my sister arriving on day 2, we started day 3 with the Sensō-ji Temple.  

Sensō-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a five-story pagoda, the Asakusa Shinto Shrine, as well as many shops with traditional goods in the Nakamise-dōri.

The Sensō-ji Kannon temple is dedicated to Kannon Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and is the most widely visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million visitors annually.

Hamarikyu Gardens

Next up were the Hamarikyu Gardens, a public park in Chūō ward

Located at the mouth of the Sumida River, Tokugawa Tsunashige, the shōgun’s younger brother, received permission to reclaim land from Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay), on which he built a villa and garden in 1654. The property was inherited by his son, Ienobu, who later became shōgun.

It was opened to the public on April 1, 1946. A landscaped garden of 250,216 m² includes Shio-iri Pond, and the park is surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay.

Imperial Palace East Gardens

The Imperial Palace itself is not open to public, but the Imperial Palace East Gardens are. They are the former site of Edo Castle‘s innermost circles of defense, the honmaru (‘main circle’) and ninomaru (‘secondary circle’). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.

More at Japan Guide

2013 Japan Family Trip

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