I had gone to Kyoto on my last trip and
there were many things to see, and Jen was keen so we decided to go on
Thursday. We saw Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace grounds, but
this time planned ahead and got passes to go into the inner grounds of
the Imperial Palace, which we didn't do before. I'll try not to
duplicate views from before
present new material.
Here's some Nijo
pictures. It was hot hot hot again today so we didn't
linger tremendously. The nightingale floors of Ninomaru Palace
still impress. Did I mention this is where the end of the Shogun period
occurred with the return of power to the Emperor?
He kept his eyes on us.
Taking a quick breather.
I like how this would have channeled invaders into a confined
space. It was never tested.
On my last trip I noticed this apparent shortwave broadcast antenna. I
did some research and think it's JOBR of the Kyoto
After Nijo we headed back to the Imperial Palace for the 2:00 English
tour. Below is one of the entrance gates. The white covers the
exposed grain of the wood to prevent rot. It also looks cool.
Here are three waiting rooms, and which one you get depends on your
rank. The one on the left is least.
The inside of that room.
Here's a look into the inner courtyard. The orange color is
supposed to scare away evil spirits in the night and is known as vermilion
The newest entrance gate, which has an overhang large enough to handle
This is the main audience hall. There are two thrones which are
used but which were moved to Tokyo in the early 1990's for the
installation of the current Emperor.
As you can see, everyone's huddling in the shade, and the use of
umbrellas to keep the sun off is prevalent. I still got some sunburn.
Note the imperial
on the ends of the roof elements. It's based on the
In the back is the Emperor's bedchamber and a sitting room.
It's moss on the ground.
This is a pine tree, trimmed in such a way to make it this style.
After that we took a break in the air conditioned lounge then headed
back to the subway. Jen wanted to buy a kimono and found an ad in
the local guide paper for a store having a sale with kimonos being
about ¥2000, or $20. We found the store, but only a select
few were that price, the rest were above ¥18500 and sashes were
another ¥8000+. We left without buying anything.
They provide places to hide if you fall off the subway. How kind.
For dinner, Jen was hoping for some beef. We ate at Gyuzen
, which we found as we walked to
the kimono shop, but which also advertised in the tourist paper and
gave a 5% discount. We were hoping for Kobe beef, which it
wasn't, but it was high quality beef, sliced thin, which you could
either cook yourself in a pot on the table, kind of fondue style, or on
a grill surrounding the pot. We liked the grill better, so we ate
much beef and cooked many veggies. Happy happy!
The next morning Jen was leaving and we had to head to Tokyo station by
8:00 to catch the Narita Express. We hailed a cab who took us to
the station for ¥1500, with no problems.
A large bank of vendings at Tokyo station.
Sadly, with Jen gone I was back on my own. (Don't feel bad for
her, she went JAL first class!) I rode home to catch up on some
sleep and email. On the way (Yamanote again) I saw this old
train. A transit museum?
A couple of signs on a board near the hotel. I like the little
Minato characters, in the shape of the Minato-ku ward, complete with
the little piece of Odaiba that's Minato. As to the poster on the
right, I'm not sure what angel kitty is saying, or even if it's angel
Even though it was 35 degrees it was a beautiful clear blue day.
Good time to take some more pictures from the roof. The Roppongi
Hills MT building still amazes me, how it dominates the skyline.
Another view of the Rainbow bridge, which we can now picture better
since we rode over and under it a few days ago.
This is the main Shiodome area, a relatively new commercial
complex. When we were at the Edo-Tokyo museum they showed some
things they dug up when they excavated this site - like an aqueduct
that was in place during the Tokugawa years to bring water from 40
I risked life, or at least limb, to capture this picture of
Akabanebashi crossing, our closest subway station.
There's a nearby temple with burial grounds. There were visitors
this weekend, it being Obon
Looking over toward Roppongi I noted a different flag on this
building. There are many embassies around here, but hadn't
noticed this one. I'm pretty sure it's Afghanistan
It's not Russia
They never seem to fly their flag.