My final full day in Tokyo was grey and dull with a chance of showers but still quite warm. That was not going to stop me making my usual last day visits to Yasukuni Jinja and Meiji Jingu.
First stop though was a coffee and muffin at Dean and Deluca under Yurakucho Station to get me going.
I love seeing the ikebana displays at Yasukuni Jinja, they are always quite spectacular and seasonal, although hard to photograph through glass.
After paying my respects at the shrine, I wandered around to the koi pond behind the main shrine building. There is a vending machine to buy food for the huge koi that inhabit the pond. In front of the shrine there is always a letter from a soldier, printed in Japanese and English, they are a reminder that they were just men who were separated from their loved ones. Letters to mothers and wives are the hardest to read.
Depending on the season you will often find floral competitions/displays at temples and shrines sometimes there are also plants being sold. I happened to be at Yasukni Jinja for an Iris display, so pretty and a shame I couldn’t buy bulbs to bring home.
On my way out I walked behind the Irei no Izumi (Soul Comforting Spring) memorial dedicated to those who suffered or died from thirst during battle situations. At the rear of the sculpture are stones from various battlefields of WWII.
After walking through the huge steel Daiichi Torii I took a short walk to Kudanshita metro and hopped the train to Aoyama-itchome. This was not the station I needed to get out from but I ended up having a nice walk back to Aoyama/Omote-sando. Even discovered a little festival with food from different areas of Japan, I opted for a burger which featured regional pork and a glass of Japanese white wine.
After visiting the ceramics shop at the main intersection of Aoyama/Omote-sando for some Kenzan, I headed back across the road and up to Meiji-Jingu.
Walking in to the park is so refreshing in the heat. Wide paths lead around the park to the Shrine, up past the tributes of wine and sake through the Torii and on to the Shrine. They were still replacing the copper roof shingles which Mum and I saw part of in 2016. This was being done ahead of the 100 year anniversary of the dedication of Meiji-Jingu in 2020.
Then it was back to the hotel for a quick rest and then on to dinner. As it was my last night I had a walk around Ginza and then checked out the restaurants under the tracks again. I found Za-Watami which looked interesting. Quite a large restaurant stretched out under the tracks, multiple dining areas with a selection of seating options.
I ended up being seated in a small bar area with two groups of ladies either side. The waiter poured sake for the ladies to my right, and he kept pouring, the glass over flowed in to a bowl that the glass was sitting in. I learnt that this is Sosogi-koboshi, there are many reasons for doing this, and the practice seems to have gained popularity after the WWII. Naturally I had to try it, bit difficult to drink and I have since learnt there are several ways to imbibe the generous pouring.
Thankfully the menu was in Japanese and English with handy photos as well. I was quite hungry and ordered, Blue Fin Tuna sashimi, chicken Kara-age, Lotus root and Burdock chips, chicken and leek skewers, gyoza. There were several things such as horse sashimi that had me doing a double take. But dear reader I ride horses I don’t eat them.
After dinner a farewell stroll through Ginza before heading back to pack. Last night in Tokyo is always a sad night.