Tokyo, Japan

Rainbow bridge tokyo tokyo harbour

We entered Tokyo Harbour, sailing under Rainbow Bridge. It was impossible to see Mount Fuji which is very close to the city, but obscured most days by the haze.

Tokyo park tokyo park

Tokyo has been destroyed twice in the last century: first in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and later after extensive firebombing in World War II. Because of this, Tokyo's current urban landscape is one of contemporary architecture, and there are very few older buildings.

The parks are very small by most city standards. We were taken to this park as one of the best examples of a "typical" city park, but you could walk round it in 10 to 15 minutes. Popular with the locals though.

Jeju statue tokyo

These shrines are a feature of modern Japanese life, this one is a Jizo statue wearing a red shawl and bonnet. Jizo is the guardian of dead children and sorrowing parents bring the little garments of their lost ones and dress the Jizo statue in hopes Jizo will specially protect their child. A toy is often seen as well, the gift of a rejoicing parent whose child has been cured of dangerous sickness thanks to Jizo's intervention, or a gift to help the deceased child in the afterlife. In addition in Japan, the color red is associated closely with a few deities in Shinto and Buddhist traditions, and statues of these deities are often decked in red clothing or painted red. There are many clues that underpin the red association. The most compelling clues involve demon quelling and disease (e.g., smallpox, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, measles). According to Japanese folk belief, red is the color for "expelling demons and illness."

Edo Tokyo museum geisha girls tokyo

A trip round the Edo Tokyo Museum was not particularly memorable, apart from two local tourists who were dressed as Geishas, and giggled when their photo was taken - a bit of Japanese culture that was rarely seen on the streets today.

japanese drums in Tokyo Temple alter tokyo

Next stop was a temple with lots of entertainment like drums and karioke in the grounds

tokyo temple pond tokyo temple entrance

Once we wandered outside the temple grounds there was a local market which was there to attract temple visitors

street vendor tokyo cooking squid 2 japanese girls watching food being prepared

Therefore a lot of food was sold, ranging from squid to dumplings, Chhildren in particular seemed to be fasinated by the choice on offer. Here two little girls look at food being prepared.

And this is my favourite, a little boy with a chocolate banana in each hand and living in his own blissful world.

Toyko market food Toyko market food

All around were stalls selling both bulk food and the more conventional sweets and chocolates.

Toyko market food Toyko market food

Hungry people the Japanese, and by and large the quality was better than one would see at a similar western venue.

Swan pedalos on a Tokyo lake Tokyo harbour at night

We walked back to the boat past a lake with these pedalo swans, and at dusk the Volendam slipped out of Tokyo harbour under the Rainbow Bridge.

The Volendam then headed north to Hakodate, which was much more "Japanese"

Return to Volendam Cruise of China, Japan and Alaska