We are on our last day here!
Really loved reliving this trip this week, and drafting this last post is making me sad. Tokyo is a fabulous place, so unique and we experienced so many things that I will hold in my heart forever.
Tokyo Day 5- Isetan and the Asakusa Sensoji Temple
On this day, our last day, we slept in a tiny bit, till like 8AMish. We needed the rest after the night before, AND, we needed the rest to get us through traveling back home. We quickly packed up the room, got ourselves ready, said goodbye to our room with the incredible Mount Fuji view and checked out. As I mentioned in the first post, we hired a car service to take us to and from the airport, today he was scheduled to pick us up at 3PM. So, we had a good chunk of the day to spend in Tokyo. SCORE!!
We decided to go grab some breakfast at Isetan a few blocks away. They’re the largest and best Tokyo department store, and their food bizarre level is crazy insane! I saw things (and bought things for family) I never had seen anywhere else in my life. I am still floored thinking about all the prestigious foods and knowledge I acquired from that area. My husband surprised me with taking our breakfast up to their rooftop deck, open to eat and relax. Wow, what a stunning place! They had a large grassy park flanked by a small shrine and vending machines of course with an incredible view of the city. Definitely recommend this quiet sweet spot.
After chilling roof top, we walked around the city to find some souvenirs for the girls before hitting up one last attraction, the Asakusa Sensoji Temple. Man, souvenir shopping was the hardest part of the trip. Oddly, though the Sanrio stores there were big, the sections in toy stores back home were better than their specialty shops in Tokyo. Surprised? Me, too. But I was not freaking out because we still had shopping in Asakusa and the airport. The airport, by the way, is the best spot to shop for any type of souvenir you are looking for; I scored for the kids there big time!
Finally, we made our way by taxi to Asakusa; it’s about a thirty minute drive. I am so glad we didn’t opt for a train like we did back in 2004. We ended up seeing a totally different side to Tokyo driving from Shinjuku to Asakusa, like real life. Working class people. Their homes. Their parks. Their stores. No flash. No lights. Not a thousand people hoarding around. Real life.
The Asakusa Sensoji Temple is the oldest Buddhist temples in Tokyo, and was one of my most memorable stops thirteen years ago. A lot of people visit this place, from all over the world. It looked the same, except there were about 50% more people in the area than I remembered. But it could be because it was a weekend, I don’t know. Tokyo seemed flooded with more people than I remembered before in general. The experience, with so many people, was different. Not bad, just different. The gates to the Temple are a colorful wonder, with a giant lantern in the middle flanked by two intimidating statues that open to the grounds market. This place is so great, and the shopping was a lot of fun, grabbed a lot of Japanese souvenirs for the girls here.
The Temple itself is at the end of the market; it was so crowded we didn’t actually have that type of time to wait in the line to go in after walking through the market. I did go inside in 2004, so this time I walked up to the large incense burner right out front where a mass amount of people were there lighting large incense sticks they were buying along the building. I gently wafted some of the incensed smokey air over to my body, from head to toe I pushed the air around me for a blessing.
Now my trip to Japan was complete. 🙂
We left the Temple to find a taxi, well, first we stopped for coffee then hailed a taxi back to the hotel. I never mentioned this before, but my husband never drank coffee till last year, and I really love having a coffee drinking partner in crime everywhere I go now! haha It’s the little things people.
We got to the hotel just with two minutes to spare! The driver was there waiting for us, so we grabbed our bags from the Bell Hop to hit the road. The drive back to the airport was great. Saw all the fun spots we visited in 2004, and those sights we couldn’t make this trip. Like the tower and of course the big one for me, Tokyo Disney. I saw it on the way in but didn’t want to mention it. You guys have no idea how much I am still bummed I didn’t make it, because we were staying at an affiliated hotel that had direct bus service, so I literally had planned out a whole day to go for when I was alone while my husband was at work that day. Up till three weeks before we left I had these plans, then everyone made me realize how sad that would be for me, no one to share the day with, and riding rides alone…it sounded super lame without anyone else, so changed it to what I did. Which ended up being a lot nicer on my own and was invited out with everyone that night unexpectedly for dinner. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I went to Disney and something that ended up being LESS depressing! haha
Anyways, I am not bashing it, but Tokyo Disney from the highway above looked real small, sort of like Disneyland shrunk down. The entrance was right near the highway and I saw Cinderella’s castle, which was small. I think smaller than Disneyland’s!! They had a gorgeous hotel next to it, and it was more beautiful than the castle..so. Also, by the ads on the hotel TV, not what I researched online, it looked more like an amusement park near my house, Canobie Lake, with Disney themes, than a Disney theme park. I was reminded many times I made the right choice.
Ok, so back to this day… We had an extremely nice, comfortable ride and got to the airport in 1.5 hours. We checked in, grabbed some food for the ride and gift shopped some more, then boarded our flight at 6:10PM Sunday. We landed in Boston at 4:54PM Sunday. We grabbed a car home, and we arrived to a wonderful reception of family waiting at the house. The girls went bat shit crazy seeing us, crying and laughing, and I swear held onto me for a half hour straight! I wasn’t letting go so. haha
This was an amazing trip! Every day I learned or was experiencing something new, and that was exciting. Tokyo is an exciting city, with so much history, tradition, yet so modern and forward, the art, the buzzing crowds, and so many wonderful things to see! I really didn’t expect to go back to Japan, and I am so grateful I had this opportunity again to visit such a beautiful country.
Thanks for reading along! Till next time!
To read about the whole trip:
Day 1– Traveling to Tokyo
Day 2– Tsujiki Nippon Fish Market/Taito City
Day 3– Shibuya / Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Day 4– Harajuku / Meiji Jingu Shrine