After arriving the evening before in Tokyo we now felt used to our new surrounds in the Shinjuku area. So we walked from our studio apartment down to Shin Okuba station and caught the train down to Shinjuku where we met up with our youngest son, Jay. He is studying at Sophia University here in Tokyo on exchange from the University of Melbourne for six months until the end of February. Having been in Tokyo since the start of September he knew enough to act as our guide for the day. First stop a cafe for some breakfast.
Next stop a beautiful garden, the Shinjuku-gyoen (Shinjuku Gardens). After paying a small entry fee we were free to wander.
It was beautifully set out. A large part is Japanese style but there are also French and English gardens. We concentrated on walking around the Japanese section with its small lakes and pavilions.
It was a peaceful way to start off a Sunday.
From there we walked through a massive park
to one of the temples, Meiji-jingu. Now this was far busier – people everywhere.
Many of the children were in traditional clothes. Jay explained to us when the children in Japan turn 3, 5, or 7 they wear the traditional clothes and come to the temple for a special ceremony.
After leaving there we walked to a nearby station and took a train back to Shinjuku. Jay took us into an area of lanes with many small hole in the wall style cafés serving lunch. They were extremely small, seating perhaps 8-10 at most and usually a one woman or one man set up. We ordered a selection of small plates to share.
Once we had finished eating lunch we took the train to Harajuku, which is a neighbourhood famous for alternative fashion and food. Saw a few unusually dressed youth but it was a crush of mainly tourists as we walked slowly down Takeshita Street.
Karen and Jay popped into a few shops to look.
In the end I joined them in looking around one of the 100¥ shops. (Lots of Hallowe’en stuff, given it’s not America.)
Apart from outlandish clothing
we noticed crepe restaurants everywhere.
After surviving the crush of Takeshita Street we walked the broad boulevard of top end stores between Harajuku and Shibuya. Here we watched the incredible number of pedestrians crossing the famous Shibuya intersection before actually crossing ourselves.
As it was now virtually dark we took the train back to Shin Okuba and showed Jay our studio apartment. As we had been on our feet all day it was nice to sit, rest and have a chat.
We headed out along the main street of Shin Okuba, checking out the menus at a large number of restaurants before settling on a noodle restaurant. We ordered huge bowls of ramen noodles with meat and vegetables as well as some gyoza (mini dumplings).
After dinner we headed back for an early night and Jay took the train back to his student accommodation. He was back to uni the next day of course.