Day 4 - Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park and the Sky Tree Tokyo
It was apparently "my day to choose", so I narrowed it down to three places: the Imperial Palace, Senso-Ji Temple and a park with museum attached. After cajoling, he chose the Imperial Palace.
We had finally managed to sleep through the night and then some - so we didn't actually leave until about 11.45 and already the day was HOT. And slightly humid - not hugely, because of the sheer amount of heat, but enough to make you feel tacky for a while.
We travelled about 50 minutes and then bought some drinks from one of the many many veding machines - I've not actually mentioned these: so there are vending machines EVERYWHERE selling a range of juices, energy shot drinks, pepsi, sprite and varieties of water. They are cheaper than in shops and are frankly an amazing idea. I reckon local councils could make some revenue out of them at home, but then again, we have way more vandalism, so maybe not! - anyway, we got our drinks and sat in the nice, cold "rest hut", looking at the world outside.
We walked to the Ote-mon gate and found it to be shut to the public. We walked to the gate leading to the East gardens and found it closed. How could we access the palace without swimming the moat and scaling the walls?! Turns out it is closed on Monday and Fridays! Who'dda thunk? Our fault for not reading the extensive blurb on the official website.
So these are the pictures I took of the areas around the castle. The grounds are pretty extensive and there's a fantastic information board in the resthut detailing the flora and fauna one can expect to see and at which times of year. If only the National Trust were government run... then they could have super informative things in their areas too. And provide free sitting areas. And free access to gardens. ...But then again, we probably wouldn't fund that sort of thing.
After our realisation, we found a map and then saw there was a park near by - everything else was government buildings.
We found the park and enjoyed the ice cream - I had a gorgeous watermelon ice lolly. It was like sucking on a cold wedge of honey dew or gala melon wedges. He just had a "crunky" which is like a nutty magnum style ice.
We must have spent agood 90 minutes cirling the park as it's pretty big.
After that we decided to try our luck at the Sky Tree, which an apartment building attached to a giant radio signal tower. It's the tallest tower in the world at 634m - visitors can view the whole of Tokyo from 354m or, for a bit extra, 451.2m (The 20cm is important!)
It was a bit pricey but worth it. Unfortunately, it was a bit too hazy by that point to see Fuji clearly :( It was starting to come through... I'm hoping my camera picked up enough of the shadow. We did get to see the sunset though. We foolishly went downstairs before dark, so we don't have any night views. I doubt it would have been easy to photograph anyway, because the windows were so damn clean they reflected everything!
We then ate a LOT of grilled eel (hitsumabushi), served in fancy ways. He got a set meal with several courses, whereas I just wanted a bowl of rice with grilled eel on with seasoning.
His courses included: Crispy dried/smoked bone (the spine), Eel liver with wasabi, Eel salad (yum), Vinegared eel with cucumber, Eel without sauce and the hitsumabushi, which is where you have grilled eel served on a bed of rice with optional miso to pour over it to turn it into a soup. He then got a choice of three ice creams for pudding.
Also that drink was a "Cassis Orange" cocktail - really nice!
Tomorrow we will return to the palace to visit for realsies this time and then go on to Shibuya to explore. Apparently there's a big road intersection or something... I dunno. I'd not heard of it. He seemed to think that was weird. Go figure.