Oriental Outings – Section 3

Day three dawned with the promise of more walking and more sightseeing (which is about right for a holiday). I began the day by strolling to Shibuya. It’s actually a pretty decent walk from Shinjuku to Shibuya but I would rather have walked than circumnavigated the underground.

Shibuya is famous for a few things but only two had made it onto my hit list. I wasn’t interested in the tech for sale or the clothes, oh no. My primary focus was on a stature of Hachi-Ko. This famous canine waited for his master every day at Shibuya station. One day, his is master was taken ill at work and passed away. Hachi-Ko waited and waited for his master to come home on the train but he never came home. Hachi-Ko died waiting. He showed a level of loyalty that touched the Japanese so they erected this statue in his honour.
Hachi-Ko Statue
You can see the Hollywood version of Hachi-Ko’s story but be warned, you’ll probably cry (I cried so much that my nose ran).

Also at Shibuya is the most insane pedestrian crossing you’re ever likely to see. The crossing at Oxford Circus is as almost as bonkers but not quite. There are so many people crossing at once that you’re forgiven if you wince in preemptive expectation of seeing hideous people collisions. What happens instead is a fairly miraculous people mesh when the lights go green. My vantage point was the Starbucks 2nd floor area.

Shibuya Crossing

It was like watching someone with mad ‘skillz’ play lemmings. I could have marvelled at it for hours but I did have other stuff to do.

From Shibuya, I walked in a northerly (ish) direction towards Yoyogi park. The park itself is a decent green space. There were lots of families playing various games as I passed through. I only stopped for a brief time as the weather appeared to be turning windy and I didn’t want to battle with it if I didn’t have to.

My main target was the Meiji Shrine. The shrine entrance is just round the corner from Yoyogi park. It’s a fair walk from the initial entrance gate before you see the shrine itself. The path is covered by trees and when the sunlight shines through them, it’s incredibly beautiful.

You’ll walk under many tora as you GH follow the path. These Tora indicate that the land beyond is blessed. It’s customary to bow once as you pass beneath.
meiji shrine tora

The shrine is impressive. It’s surrounded by low level buildings apart from the entrance gate. Two enormous trees stand in front of the shrine. They must be hundreds of years old.
meiji shrine

Around the base of the right tree, people have been hanging ‘EMA’ boards. These ema are inscribed with hopes and wishes. It’s said that hanging these ema wishing boards will bring you extra luck there were hundreds of them.
Ema wishing plaques under tree

The shrine is nice enough to look around but I was feeling rather shrine’d out by now so probably didn’t appreciate it as I should have.
Remember I told you the weather seemed to be going nasty? Well, it went properly nasty. A massive dust/pollution cloud blew over from China. It made the walk out from the shrine feel very spooky. Everything took on a yellowish tinge and I felt like I’d been sent into Silent Hill.
Spooky walk out because of dust cloud

The walk back to Shinjuku was windy and dusty. When I made it back to the hostel, I resembled a sand myrk (look it up, flight of dragons the film). I didn’t venture back out that day.

That closed off my trip to Tokyo. The journey back to the airport was less stressful as I’d got some experience under my belt but the underground still didn’t make sense.

I feel like my days in Tokyo barely scratched the surface. I would happily return.

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