Friday, October 24, 2014

Tokyo

Last month Brian had back to back conferences in Japan and we decided that I would tag along this time to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
Salt Lake City to Seattle then a 9 1/2 hour flight to Tokyo's Narita airport followed by an hour-long bus ride to our destination left me utterly exhausted. Our hotel felt like heaven when we arrived.
(view of Tokyo from our hotel room)
We only had one day to explore Tokyo so we decided to book a "panoramic" bus tour of the city. Our guide was full of interesting factoids.

  • 127 million people live in Japan--half the population of the United States. Yet, they live in an area the size of California.
  • 26% of the population is 65 or older and there are 5300 centenarians in Japan.
  • The two oldest people in the world live in Japan--a woman who is 117 and a man who is 112.
  • "4" is an unlucky number. It symbolizes death. There is no fourth floor in hospitals in Japan.
  • The Tokyo tower is similar in design to the Eiffel Tower but proudly stands 9 m taller.
The first stop of our tour was the Meiji Shinto Shrine. A simplistic explanation of the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism offered by our tour guide is that Shintoists worship nature while Buddhists worship idols. 
(barrels of sake wrapped in straw)
A Torii gate stands at the entrance to Shinto shrines. This "pi"-shaped structure symbolizes purification or passing from the secular world into a spiritual world.
Another important ritual before entering the shrine involves cleansing the hands and mouth. Grab the ladle (below) with your right hand and pour it over your left hand. Next, grab the ladle with your left hand and pour it over your right hand. Lastly, ladle water into a cupped hand and rinse our your mouth being sure to spit the water out.
Our second stop of the tour was the Imperial Palace East Garden.
I liked seeing an actual moat and the more than 400 year-old rock wall that surrounds the Imperial Palace.
The final stop of the morning was Senso-Ji--one of the most popular Buddhist Temples in Japan. We were surrounded by people and incense and red and gold.
On our way to lunch we passed Tokyo's famous Kabuki Theater.
We lunched at a restaurant overlooking Tokyo Bay then took a harbor cruise under the iconic Rainbow Bridge.
We ended our day at Tokyo's Statue of Liberty. That was certainly a surprise.

4 comments:

Laura said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate 30 years together!

Marianne said...

Oh. Your photos are spectacular. I am so glad you got to take this trip!!!

Treble Clef ♪ said...

Trip of a lifetime!! Fantastic photos and I loved reading the facts you shared. Happy 30th to you both!

Laura H said...

Wow! These pictures are just beautiful! Had you been to any part of Asia before? It's my dream trip...someday.