Not that we’ve been chomping at the bit, but one week after the Japanese government opened their borders to independent travelers – guess where we are! Usually Wilf has our big trips planned in great detail well in advance. And, in the past two years, he has discovered the world of city video bloggers on YouTube, which means he has been ‘visiting’ Tokyo virtually since the spring of 2020. This trip is not like the usual for us. We booked a hotel for a month in Tokyo and just showed up. We’ll figure the rest out as we go.
We are staying in the Asakusa district. Way, way back the city of Edo, the precursor to Tokyo, was founded in this area on the banks of the Sumida River. Besides the great temple of Senso-ji, which has endured through the many versions of the city, this was at one point an entertainment district and a horse racing area. There is still an amusement park, and venerable theatres. Wide modern streets cut through little areas of narrow streets packed with shops and restaurants. Much of this area was destroyed during WWII, so while people have lived here for a very long time, it is mostly a modern district.
Usually when we come to Japan we have Places to Go! Things to See! Trains to Catch! Food to Eat! We hit the ground running and get to it. I suppose we’ve been jet lagged, but we’ve been to busy to notice. Let’s just say the pace this time is more relaxed – and we’re both fighting the time difference. I’m writing this at 5:30 pm and trying to figure out how we’re going to stay awake until 9:00 so that we can sleep. And not be up at 4:00 like we were this morning
Thank heavens our hotel room is big enough that there is a bedroom with a door and a sitting room with a couch. At 40 square metres this place is positively capacious! Most regular hotel rooms are about half that. I’ll take pictures later and show you what the place is like.
When we were here in 2009 we found a shrine to the tanuki, the raccoon-dog patron saint of good times and prosperous business. I wrote about it here: Tanuki shrine. And here is an article about who he is and where he fits in Japanese culture. Every time we come back to Tokyo we make a visit to the shrine to say hello. And we have learned that there is a small street in Asakusa with little lampost shrines to various aspects of tanuki-ness. It is called Tanuki street and it runs between Hoppi and Orange street.