Discovering Tokyo – Ueno Park, Asakusa, Meiji Shrine & Calico cat café

After 6 days in Japan it was finally time to visit Tokyo! It’s such a big city with tons to see, I was really looking forward to it.

We took a stroll through Ueno Park, famous for cherry blossoms, but the trees hadn’t entered full bloom and only a handful of individual trees had flowers.

When evening fell we visited Asakusa Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple. The gate at the entrance has a humongous lantern and it’s a very popular spot with tourists. We had a blast taking photos of the lanterns and architecture.

The next day we visited the Meiji shrine in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. The shrine is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and is surrounded by a forest. The shrine displays big sake barrels that are donated by brewers around the country as offerings to the shrine.
I had read that Shinto weddings sometimes take place at the shrine and being able to see one is very rare. I was stunned when I suddenly saw a bride, groom and their parents in wedding kimonos walk to the temple!
It was such a sight, my jaw dropped: the bride had a white kimono with a paper hat covering most of her head, the groom had a black jacket with a stripy robe, the mothers had the most elegant black kimonos with golden patterns and the priest carried a big red parasol.
After posing for their photographer (and dozens of tourists) they vanished into the temple for their ceremony.
These details are proof of a rich culture that makes japan a very interesting and exotic country to visit!

Since our feet were very achy we took a rest in a cat café.
The concept is simple: it’s a café with cats. This quite common in Japan and they now have cafés with bunnies, owls and even goats! We paid our entry fee, got a drink and a box of chicken breast to feed the kitties.
They are no fools, they know who has food, who hasn’t and when fed up with us humans, climb up the cat tree to sleep!

We had dinner in Omoide Yokochō, a small alley lined with Japanese grill (yakitori) restaurants. This once again could have been a scene from a movie: dozens of open front restaurants with lanterns and the smell of grilled meat filling the air.


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