Earlier in the year I was planning to go to Tokyo by myself. I knew Mum had a bit of annual leave accrued so decided to see if she would like to tag along, which she did. I got all our bookings arranged and then just had to count down to the departure date.
As I wanted to fly in to Narita we had to have a stop over in Brisbane on the way. By the time we got from the domestic terminal to the international and went through customs, we only had about 30 minutes before our gate opened. The flight was uneventful andmanaged to grab a little sleep as well as watch the latest Star Trek and Independence Day movies.
We caught the train from the airport to Shimbashi and then walked to Hotel Villa Fontaine in Shiodome.
After a good night sleep we went down for breakfast. Hotel Villa Fontaine serves a Japanese style breakfast andas it was quite busy I grabbed a table while Mum went for food first. I think she was quite lost with what to have until I came back with my tray. On offer was, meat balls(delicious) Tamagoyaki, pastries, rice, pickles, natto(nope, still haven’t tried it), 3 soups (including miso), cereals and fruit.
Our first day was clear blue skies and quite warm so a stroll through a park was first on our list. Hama-rikyu Onshi Teien was the grounds of a former Shoguns Palace. From the Meiji Restoration in 1868 it was a Detached Palace for the Imperial family until 1946 when it was taken over by the government of Tokyo and opened to the public.
There is a great deal of history within the garden walls and great care is taken in preserving the gardens. Two kamoba(duck hunting sites) are preserved and now make great spots for taking photos of wildlife with in the park. In the trenches leading to the kamoba we saw crabs and fish enjoying the tidal waters while ducks bobbed around on the outer lake.
There are three restored tea houses in the garden, two on the lake shore and one on an island in the middle of the lake accessed by three bridges.
We wandered around past the old wisterias trained over pergolas, along the river bank, past the fields that are planted to different varieties each season, we saw the last of the cosmos, past the Ume (plum) grove and around to the majestic 300 year old pine tree.
One of the most amazing trees in the garden is the 300 year old pine tree planted by the 6th Shogun Ienobu. The tree is majestically sprawls over its patch and due to its age many of the branches have supports to help them.
Then it was a short walk over to Ginza to have a wander through the shops and the fascinating back lanes.
Nissan caught our eyes with some concept cars they had on display. I put the Gripz on my Santa list and Mum put the IDS on hers.
After a good look around we headed back to Shiodome for dinner and a good night sleep.
Stay tuned for more of our busy week in Tokyo!