December 8th, 2013

drinking bird

Last day in Tokyo

I had nice sunny weather for most of my stay, and no rain at all. This last day was particularly clear, and I was delighted to be able to see Fuji-san from my hotel window:

Of course it's with a fairly strong telescoping lens... Nevertheless, it was very satisfying to see that elusive mountain from my own window!

I decided to go stroll in Yoyogi park and re-visit the Meiji shrine. I could see them too from my Shinjuku window [Harajuku is only 2 train stations away]. I don't think I have ever seen Harajuku uncrowded, and this was no exception. But the crowds were sparser in the park. However, as I got closer to the shrine, I realized there were a lot of dressed up families, with little girls in fancy kimonos. There were a very few boys in hakama and haori. I think it is harder to get the boys to dress up that way! Fond grandparents were snapping pictures all over. Obviously they were celebrating "Shichi-go-san" [7-5-3] day, a traditional celebration for children of that age. By the time I actually got to the shrine, there were also several wedding processions.

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a gate detail
Detail of a gate, Meiji shrine
meiji shrine
An inner courtyard

a wedding procession
A wedding group
1 wedding

I am always interested by flowers, so I went to look at the chrysanthemum displays, which you always see near shrines in the autumn.
super white
And this spectacular "Fuji" mum:
fuji white
There were several bonsai as well. It must take infinite patience to grow them!

More surprising were a number of carts loaded with vegetables. I suppose they were there because of some Shinto harvest celebration:
great color:
bright c9lors
I wonder if the priests at the shrine get to make soups and salads out of those luscious looking veggies?

That evening, when I went out for dinner, I took the time to admire the Christmas lights display around the Southern Terrace of Shinjuku, right outside my hotel..
lighted trees

more lights

A blue/violet light actually keeps going down those tubes, giving the impression of falling stars.


Unfortunately I flew back home the next day...