Welcome to Day 9 of my Japan & Korea 2017 travel series! If you have been following the series since Day 1 (or even since my travel prep series that I published before leaving on this trip last year), you’ll know that this day is the last full day that my parents were in Japan with me (so this might get a bit emotional). Or maybe I’ll just be the one typing and crying, and re-reading and crying, while you guys … don’t cry. Haha. Yes, I get emotionally attached to places! Especially places that I love. But enough of my ramblings. I hope that you will enjoy this post!
We had a bit of a late start on Day 9, because of all of the things we had done on Days 8 and 7, and how tired we were from all of that. So, we didn’t make it out in time for breakfast, and therefore opted for some brunch (nearby in Roppongi) at one of my favourite places to eat on earth: CURRY HOUSE CoCo ICHIBANYA!
You’ve never had Japanese curry until you’ve tried CoCo Curry! I’m serious! I didn’t much care for curry until my friends took me to one of the many Coco Curry restaurants in Tokyo when I visited in 2014, and I’ve never been the same since! After we finished eating, we bought some of their famous tsukemono (pickled veggies) to take home to Canada, and then went to get ourselves some coffee (and a green tea latte in my case, since I’d never had one in Japan before). Then we were off to the Tokyo Imperial Palace!
Sadly, we didn’t think to check if it was closed on any days of the week … and we managed to decide to visit the palace on exactly the day that it’s closed every week! Sigh. So, we wandered around the perimeter, which was very green and pretty as well, and then made our way to the Tokyo Skytree (which is now the tallest building in Tokyo! Sorry Tokyo Tower!) We took a look at it from below, and visited some of the shops at its base (where we found a large display thing about Attack on Titan, which my dad and I are fans of). There was also a Studio Ghibli store which we spent way too much time in, but we didn’t go up to the top of Skytree because it was just too expensive!
When we finished there, we weren’t quite sure what to do, so we had a seat on a bench under a nice big tree, and I started consulting my handy-dandy smartphone. And, as if it were meant to be, I found out that there was a matsuri (Japanese festival) happening at Asaksua temple (which is a temple that we had not yet had the chance to visit)! We didn’t even have to stop an consider. I looked up the train route, and we were off!
Walking from the train station, we could definitely tell that something was happening (especially the closer and closer we got to the temple)! Sounds became louder and louder (but not the kind of loud that one would hear at a festival in North America). We could also smell food! And we also saw our first matsuri float (middle photo above)!
Ever since our fascination with Japan started (which for my dad was the case since long before I was born), we had been intrigued by the matrsuri. So, finding one and participating in it was a dream come true! We seriously could not believe that we were able to experience a matsuri on my parents’ last full day in Japan! It was fate!
We arrived at Asakusa temple and luckily it wasn’t too too crowded. My mom and I don’t do very well in crowds, but this was just the right amount of people. And we got there just in time for dinner too … and there were so many choices (and smells)!
All of us like to try new things, so getting food from as many stalls as possible was, of course, the natural thing for us to do! I sadly didn’t get pictures of everything because we were busy feasting. By the time we got to the squids (pictured above), we were full enough to take a breather (as well as some photos). Everything was so tasty!
I forget what else we ate, except that I think my mom got a large watermelon slice which she ate standing up. Afterwards, my parents rested for a bit, and I wandered around the festival and found some interesting stuff, including the statues pictured below, flavoured shaved ice, and a long row of souvenir shops where I picked up some gifts!
We stayed at the festival until it started getting dark, and then made our way to Shinjuku! As I mentioned above, it cost far too much money to go to the top of Skytree in order to see Tokyo from above … and others evidently agree, because I found an article discussing this, and recommending some tall government buildings in Shinjuku that let people go to the top for free! And the view was completely worth the extra trip! Once we finished staring at one of our favourite cities, we started heading to Roppongi.
I personally feel very attached to the lights show in the third picture above because they are located at one of the entrances for the train station by our apartment, and also where the friends that I was there to visit were living at the time. I had also seen those lights during my first trip to Japan, and I really really hope to see them again. We went to the grocery store near our apartment one more time and picked up some of the food that my parents wanted to try and pack to take with them, and then stayed up late, unwilling to have the next day arrive. Unfortunately, the day eventually caught up with us and after we checked the parents’ luggage one more time, we drifted off to sleep.
Stayed tuned for my next post in which I will be talking about days 10, 11, and 12! I decided to combine them because I didn’t do a loooot of touristy stuff during those days, so I’m not sure if you would find those days too too interesting. I basically stuck around Tokyo and hung out with new and old friends while also preparing to fly to South Korea on Day 13 (which I was very very ecstatic to tell you all about)!
ALL PHOTOS (EXCEPT FOR THE GIF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST) WERE TAKEN BY MYSELF OR MY DAD! PLEASE ASK ME FOR PERMISSION IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE THEM ANYWHERE. ALSO, THANK YOU FOR READING THIS POST ABOUT MY JAPAN AND KOREA 2017 ADVENTURES! PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR SOME OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES IN JAPAN, ASIA, OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COMMENTS!