Asakusa to Shibuya to Harajuku and Back

The Ginza line ends in Asakusa station and it is a straight ride to Shibuya and the excitement of downtown Tokyo.  Well, maybe not DOWNTOWN, but near town and in an area of everything going on at once.

We had four goals today: visit the Meiji Shrine, see Harajuku, and walk around the Shibuya shopping district, and spend some time finding Bubble Tea….Halle was obsessed with finding tea with tapioca and the online information on this type of tea said most of the shops were in Shibuya and Harajuku.  So, once we left the Shibuya station, we turned to Apple Maps, again, to find our locat

Bubble Tea FOUND!
Bubble Tea FOUND!

ion.  About 1.4 miles later we found Lady Pearl’s Tea and Crepe Shop.  Bubble Tea found!

The tea spot is in the midst of the mania of the Harajuku shopping district, Takeshita street.  The hawk wares of questionable quality as well as any kind of hip, trendy thing going on in Tokyo at the time.  Seriously, here is the center of youth fashion (maybe for the world) and you will find people attired in a wide range of clothing and styles….the main word I would use to describe the clothing and area is “cute”.  Little animated characters are everywhere; anime and manga characters are represented as well as small, cute cartoon animals.  The young women are often seen dressed as dolls all in lace.  Some are dressed in a kind of goth style with black and white accessories.

As we waddled on, the day became almost painfully hot.  93 F; 64% humidity.  Walking in the sweltering weather, we hoped for a cooler respite in the Meiji gardens.  The shade was a blessing, and, as many of you know living in the southern states, shade does not seem to alleviate the heat.  Still, we walked through the park, to the shrine.  Crews had covered the shrine and were doing some restoration work.  We took pictures, hung around for a while, spent some time writing prayers on paper and putting them in a prayer box….then off to shopping!

Sake Donations, Meiji Shrine
Sake Donations, Meiji Shrine

While I can imagine shopping is one of those things that draws people to it, I am not one of them.  I found a bookstore and café in Shibuya and Halle and Natascha wandered the streets looking some of the hundreds of shops and stores.

We met back up around 4:30, waited until almost dark, and headed over to the so-called Shibuya Scramble.  It’s a place where thousands cross the road in 5 directions at once….it is something to see to believe.  I’ve mentioned the number of people we pass each day and the huge numbers of humans crossing these streets and walking through town are just amazing.

Grabbing the Shot
Grabbing the Shot

We watched for most of an hour as we photographed various stages of the experience.  And it is an experience to be among so many people at one time.  I have to say that humanity, in these moments, is so wonderful.  Just being in the presence of people and all of us in our own little worlds, passing by one another, making eye contact ( or not), a smile (or not), all of it is so remarkable.  I stood in awe of this experience….hopefully, when I develop my photos from the trip, I can share some of the wonder.  In the meantime, I’ll post Halle and Natascha’s photos to the blog tomorrow.

Halle in the Midst of the Scramble.
Halle in the Midst of the Scramble.

We ended up eating at the original sushi spot, Maguro Bito, and we, now regulars, received special treatment from a couple of free dishes and watermelon.  The sushi chefs really got a kick out of Natascha and Halle….making Halle, tonight, order in Japanese!  Funny.

On we go tomorrow back to the U.S.  We are ready to get home.


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