Photos by: Philip Galvin
Narratioin by: Yoko Galvin
Imperial Palace（皇居）- Travel Tip: short walk from Tokyo Station
Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan which is in central Tokyo. It used to be called Edo Castle (江戸城) and was occupied by Tokugawa Shogun (徳川将軍) who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867 when Shogunate was overthrown.
Unfortunately, the public was not allowed inside, so we walked around the outside of the palace and enjoyed views of the bridge, outer walls of the palace and the moats. Apparently, it is very popular area for joggers. Last time we visited Imperial Palace, a limousine crossed the bridge, but we could not see who was in it.
Nijubashi Bridge (二重橋)
Statute of Masashige Kusunoki (楠木正成像)
He is remenbered as an ideal samurai during the Kamakura period as
he fought against Kamakura shogunate and brought back the power
in Japan to the Imperial Court.
Tokyo Sky Tree Travel Tip: Take Tobu Skytree Line from Asakusa Station.
Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest tower in Japan (634 meters). It is a broadcasting and observation tower which was completed in March 2011. You can oversee the whole of Tokyo from the top of the tower. You can see Mt. Fuji if it is a clear sky which is located 105 kms away from the tree. Unfortunately, when we visited in August 2010, we were unable to see it.
Ueno Park（上野公園） Travel Tip: Take JR train to Ueno Station
Ueno Toshogu Shrine was established in1627 and later renovated by Tokugawa Clan in 1651
Drinking water well for travelers
Hanazono Inari Shrine
Kiyomizu Kannon Temple （清水観音寺） Maple Tree （もみじ）
Tuki-no-Matsu (Moon Pine) (Tokugawa clan era) It was seen in Ukiyoe during Edo era.
The branch is in the shape of circle?
Ueno Park : Statue of Takamori Saigo
Takamori Saigo,who lived during the end of the Edo period (Tokugawa Shogunate period) is thought as the most influential samurai in Japan as he led the Satsuma Revelion against the Meiji government, and established the NEW Meiji government which led to the modernization of Japan..
Akihabara (秋葉原), Tokyo Travel Tip: Akihabara is a name of the train station. Take one of many JR trains to get there.
If you like electronics, this is the place to visit. There are tiny stalls to large department stores in this shopping hub. Sometimes you see girls dressed as maids on the streets as there are some “maid cafes” nearby.
Most of the Japanese restaurants display the menu items in front of their place. They are made from wax and this way customers can choose before they enter the restaurants. They even offer some hot food in outdoor vending machines.
Yes, there is a restaurant somewhere in this bush. (Akabane City)
2. Kamakura（鎌倉）Travel Tip: Take a direct train from Tokyo station or Shinagawa Station.
Kamakura once was the political center of Japan ruled by the Minamoto clan initially led by Yoritomo Minamoto. Kamakura period represents Japan’s medieval era (1185-1333). Thereafter, various wars lasted until Ieyasu Tokugawa won the battle against the Toyotomi Clan in 1603.
Kamakura has many temples and shrines including the Great Buddha of Kamakura（鎌倉大仏）that sits outdoor as seen below. It is a bronze statue of Buddha with a height of 11.4 meters. It is the 2nd tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, the first being the one that sits inside the Nara’s Todaiji Temple.
The above photo of rows of stone buddhas represent the souls of many babies conceived but never born. You can find these statues in Hase Temple (長谷寺) which is shown below.
Quick historical references of Japan related to the photos in this document:
660 BC Jimmu Tenno becomes the first emperor of Japan according to myth
794 Capital was set up in Heiankyo (now Kyoto)
1185 Japan’s medieval era begins (See Kamakura)
1192 Yoritomo Minamoto becomes the first Shogun (See Kamakura)
1543 Portuguese sailors reached Japan (See Nagasaki)
1585 Hideyoshi Toyotomi ruled Japan between 1585 and 1592 (See Osaka)
1600 Sekigahara Civil War (between Toyotomi and Tokugawa)
1603 Tokugawa clan began to reign Japan (See Tokyo and Kyoto)
1639 Foreign traders except Dutch were forced to Leave Japan.(See Nagasaki)
1867 Emperor Mutsuhito regained the power over shoguns (See Tokyo)
1945 Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima (See Hiroshima and Nagasaki)