Friday, May 3, 2013

Tokyo's Imperial Palace Grounds

We were lucky enough to have our first visitors this week!!!  My sister-in-law's parents were in town, on a one day stop during their Pacific cruise.  :)  Yay!  Family!  What's on the itinerary....The Imperial Palace, Tokyo.

We all got up pretty early, ate our breakfast, and headed out.  We hopped on the Limited Express from Yokosuka Chuo to Yokohama, then switched to the subway and headed on to Nihon-obashi station.

We said our "hello"s and Garytt even said "ohayogozaimasu" (good morning).  Then, we hopped back on the subway to Yokohama and then on the train to Tokyo station.  We have been to this station before, but we just switched trains inside.  This is a beautiful station!  I would love to go back and take pictures of the building....the kids were ready to run and I wasn't prepared to take pictures, so I will have to wait till next time.  

Once outside the station, we walked a few blocks to the palace grounds.  I at least thought we would be able to see the palace, but we didn't.  Maybe we need to hit the grounds from another angle.  I'll have to research that.  We did get to see a few beautiful swans!  And, we saw fish in the moat.  It's amazing to me how much work went into constructing those massive walls!  We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather!  I checked the forecast every day and the last I looked at it (10 pm the night before) we were forecast to have 60% chance of rain from midnight to 3 pm.  But, the rain decided not to show!  YAY!  

Tokyo Station

Palace Hotel...probably a beautiful view of the city from the top floors.

We arrived just in time to see the fountains.  A few minutes later they all shut off.
 The kids took off when we got to this little park.  They ran around the fountains and jumped over the little waterways.  I was exhausted just watching!

Getting a better look at the swan
The first gate we went through was the Oteman Gate. 

That's a mighty big door!

Mackenzie thought this was the mailbox because there was an opening at the mouth.
We walked through the museum and then took a nice stroll through the East Gardens (Higashi Gyoen).

Taking a rest and munching on carrots

After walking for a couple hours we decided it was time for lunch.  So, we exited through the Kita-Hanebashimon Gate and turned right.  We found a Chinese restaurant and found a place to sit.  We ordered three dishes and then Gayle tried to teach The Boy how to use chopsticks.  We ended up ordering shrimp and cashews (slightly spicy), beef and peppers, and sweet and sour pork.  All very yummy!!  Mackenzie had a turkey and cheese sandwich from our backpack.  (sigh).

Chopstick lesson
Turn table lunch.  Garytt likes this kind of table (Garytt saw:  "toy")

Cashew shrimp and the beef and peppers.

After lunch, we hopped on the train at Takebashi Station.  We decided to go one station past Nihon-odori (in Yokohama) and take a walk back to the ship through Yamashita Park.  What a great idea!  The flowers were amazing!!!!  (The pictures below aren't in order...sometimes I can't get Blogger to do what I want it to the fishyfalls came the roses and then the flower bed arrangements.)

A fishy waterfall

After our walk through the garden we found the Kings' ship.  We all said our good byes, and gave hugs, then walked back to the station and headed home.

What a great day!  I'm so glad the weather turned out to be beautiful so we could take a nice tour of Tokyo with wonderful family!!!  A big THANK YOU to the Kings for taking time in their cruise to spend the day with us.  :)  Much love to you both!  (And, Mr. Gayle....You are a very sneaky man!  Thank you :)  We hope the rest of your cruise clears up with beautiful skies on the way back to the States.

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