With our bag packed with snacks, water, LeapPads for the kids, maps, and a list of things to see, we headed to the Yokosuka-Chuo Station around 0930. We hopped on the Keikyu Main Line Rapid Express at 1008 and set off on our way. The first ride, roughly 45 minutes, went from Yokosuka to Shinagawa, where we got onto the JR Yamanote Line (outer loop), and rode a couple stations until we arrived at the Harajuku station a little after 1100 and the fare totaling around 980 Yen.
|Entrance to Meiji Jingu|
This is an imperial shrine built by the government and dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji (1867-1912) and Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan....it was a combination of political and military efforts between Emperor Komei (Emperor Meiji's father) and Emperor Meiji that ended the Shogun rule in Japan and moved the country forward in respect to Western advances. He was the first emperor to wear Western style clothes and promoted trade and education with outside countries.
It took about 10 minutes or so to walk from the entrance at Harajuku Station to the main shrine complex where Emperor Meiji is enshrined. In the picture below of the torii: gate marking the entrance to a shrine, you can see the three gold chrysanthemums across the horizontal board. That is the Meiji family crest, that's how you know this is an imperial shrine.
It was a nice walk under a beautiful canopy of trees. Our only issue was keeping the kids from kicking the rocks and shuffling their feet in the dirt...makes for a dusty trek. Garytt also had a very hard time not picking up every stick he saw and "hi-ya" the air all around him, whether there were people around or not!
Several yards into the walkway we came across the barrels in the first picture to the left and then the second picture of more barrels. The sign beside them explained that the white barrels are full of sake and wrapped in straw. Every year the Meiji Jingu Nationwide Sake Brewers Association makes an offering of a barrel of sake to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, these barrels are placed here as a showing of gratitude to the brewers who have donated their sake. The brown barrels have been offered by wineries of Bourgogne in France as a gift toward the spirit of world peace and with a prayer that "France and Japan will enjoy many more fruitful years of friendship."
|Main complex where the Emperor and Empress are enshrined|
|Torii: gate marking entrance to shrine.|
|Torii with shrine building behind it and then the city buildings rising in the distance.|
From here, we headed on to Yoyogi Park. This park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo with lots of different kinds of trees. In 1910, this was the site of the first powered flight in Japan. And, in this is the site of Olympic Village for the 1964 games.
|Large billed crow sitting on the fountain nozzle.|
|Garytt tried speaking to the birds.|
Kris bought a sausage from a street vendor. It looked yummy, but...ewwww....Garytt, the boy who will try anything, ate at least half of the foot long thing-on-a-stick.
|Tokyo Olympic Stadium. It was hard to get a good shot of this building because of all the soccer nets around the city. Maybe next time we can walk around the block a little more, or find another bridge in the area to get another view.|
Shibuya is famous for its very busy train station, over 1 billion people per year - the second busiest station in the world. And, this train station along with a dog named Hachiko, is a very famous story where a loyal dog waited every day for 12 years at the station for his master, who had died. There is a statue of Hachiko at the station, but we didn't find it.
We walked aimlessly for a few blocks before we figured out which direction to go. We did find a Disney store. I'm surprised we made it out of there without spending one Yen. Even though I really wanted to...
|Entrance to the building.|
We found Rapunzel and Belle blankets and stuffed Perry's. Then, up more twisty stairs (where Tinkerbell sat at the very top) on the third floor we found the best place!!! Toy Story and Cars for Garytt and Princesses for Mackenzie! There were dresses, shoes, crowns, purses, beautiful dolls, Buzz PJs, tons of Cars sets...I have to save some money and get back to that store!
|Shibuya, waiting for the cars to stop|
|Mackenzie, after successfully crossing|
|WOW! All those people!!!|
From Shibuya, we decided to go back to Harajuku and look at the shopping streets. The first one we came to, just outside of Shibuya Station, was Takeshita Dori (Takeshita street). This is a 400 meter long shopping road. There were a lot of clothing stores, we saw a three story 100 Yen shop!
|We even found Waldo!!|
There were all kinds of boot shops, scarf shops, hat shops, crepe shops (smelled sooooo yummmyyyyy), and gourmet popcorn shops. We didn't stop at the food shops because the lines went on forever! At the end of Takeshita Dori we made a right onto Omotesando Dori (we should have made a left because that's where the stores I wanted to go were....Kiddy Land, with a Snoopy land inside it and a Hello Kitty land inside). But, on our way back to the station we passed some pretty neat, and tall, stores.
|Nike Store - three story Nike store, with shoes displayed in the windows.|
|Four story Forever 21|
After we hopped on the train at Shibuya, then changed over to the Keikyo Line at Shinagawa, we were headed home. It didn't take long for the boy to fall asleep. It took Mackenzie a little longer, but she did pass out. She had a spasm in her sleep where she kicked the guy standing in front of us in the knee and plopped her arm down on the lap of the lady sleeping next to us (everyone sleeps on the train, we even saw a lady almost fall on the floor because she was falling asleep standing up).