Day 3

We’d actually seen more than planned during the first 2 days and we were as tired as you might expect as a result, and with the lack of sleep I was getting.  So the goal today was a bit more sedate.

We headed out in the morning to see the Meiji-jingu Shinto Shrine and it didn’t disappoint.  Set in a park south of Shinjuku you had no idea you were still inside Tokyo.  The noise from crickets and birds is so loud, there’s nothing comparable back home.  The shrine was large but relatively simple, but that’s kind of the point with Shinto.  Was a lovely area to stroll through though.

We then walked south into Shibuya to get lunch.  The recommended suggestions from the guide book no longer existed so we went for more tempura, this time a mix of vegetarian and sea food.  It was again very tasty.  Despite coming to Japan wary of sea food it has been some of best food yet.

We then hopped onto the Yamanote line to Akihabara to do a little shopping (and finally find an example of a vending machine selling underwear!) and then returned to the hotel.  We headed out for the evening to the Park Hyatt Hotel, featured in Lost in Translation.  We went to the New York Bar, used in the movie and had cocktails and some food.  I had a gorgeous Wagyu beefburger and the views from the 52nd floor over the night skyline of Tokyo were just fabulous.  It was truly worth me getting an eye test and buying glasses a few months back just for that one view.

We grabbed a taxi back into Shinjuku but I didn’t mind where they dropped us off, so I told the hotel porter to request Shinjuku station north exit.  The look on his face was priceless.  I realised that the station must not have a north exit (I did know it had west, east and south) but it seemed like I was putting the poor man in a terrible position of having to tell me that I couldn’t go there because it didn’t exist and that just seemed culturally unacceptable to him.  I think he probably considered building a north exit before I put him out of his misery.

From the station we walked back to the hotel via Kabuchiko, the “pink” light district of Shinjuku but it didn’t seem to be too bustling yet.  I then found some time to start writing these!  Tomorrow we head out of Tokyo by bullet train and go north to Yudanaka, an Onsen (hot spring) town up towards the mountains.  We’ll then have a largely relaxing week travelling across the mountains before getting back into sight-seeing mode for Kyoto.