Two hours in Tokyo

Trip Start Oct 31, 2009
Trip End Nov 11, 2009

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Where I stayed
Sheraton Miyako Hotel

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Friday, November 6, 2009

I had two hours this morning to explore Tokyo before catching the airport bus for a five hour flight to Hong Kong.

After the failed attempt to see the Asakusa temple yesterday I was told that there was a shrine close to the Harajuku train station. Determined to see at least one cultural thing before I left the country I hopped back on the free Sheraton shuttle to the Meguro station and took the JR train three stops to Harajuku.  I walked outside the station and saw a sign for the shrine, and a giant gate, and I knew I was in the right place.

There was a very long tree lined path.  It actually reminded me a bit of hiking in Yosemite earlier this summer. After a bit of a walk I came across what appeared to be the main entrance for the shrine.  There was a sign listing an entrance fee of 500Yen.  There was also a gate and a padlock and a sign that I believe could loosely be translated as "the shrine is f****ng closed".

I ask you, what's worse than traveling all the way to Japan and discovering a temple covered in scaffolding? The answer?  Visiting a shrine that is closed the very next day.  Oh the irony.  Somewhere, Grace is laughing her ass off.

Determined to make the most of the visit I continued on the path and eventually found an entrance to the shrine gardens.  Entrance fee was 500 Yen.  I paid it and proceeded to walk around the gardens for about 45 minutes. Although, you could have easily spent hours there.  It didn't even feel like we were in the city anymore.  After the gardens I continued on the path ( I told you it was long) and at the very end found what appeared to be a shrine.  Or at least, that's what I am calling it.  Only had time for a few pictures because I still had to walk all the way back to the train.

On the way back to Meguro station I stopped at Shibuya for a quick photo op of the famous intersection there.  This location has appeared in numerous films, including, of course, Lost in Translation.   Took a few pictures, camera battery died, and I got to cross the intersection along with a few hundred people in order to get back to the train station.

Back at Meguro I ran to Coco Ichibanya to pick up some curry mixes to bring home and caught the 12:45 shuttle back to the hotel.  Checked out of the hotel and was on the 1:40 bus to the airport.

Still determined to find ramen, I scoped out the dining options at the Narita airport.  Gotta love that plastic food. It was on display everywhere.  They were even selling some at the gift shops.  No, I didn't buy you any.

Never did find plain ol ramen but I did find a restaurant that had skinny soba noodles and a view of the runway.   

Boarded JAL flight 735 for a 6:25 flight. One Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and half a Julie and Julia later, we arrived in Hong Kong. 
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