Tokyo Day One: Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine

We visited Yoyogi Park and also wandered around Harajuku a bit while waiting for our walking tour Friday, which started at 3:30.

The park was lovely, with lots of trees and walking paths.


We paid an entrance fee to visit the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden, which was well worth it. There is a lovely pond as well as a garden filled with irises. Even though the irises were clearly near the end of their blooming cycle, I loved seeing a garden full of my favorite flower!

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We ate lunch at a little café in Harajuku right next to the Laforet building. I’m glad I read the warning that many Tokyo restaurants are cash only – make sure you have plenty of cash on hand when visiting Tokyo! My dish was a delicious pork curry, and Domingos had roast beef on greens and rice.

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We visited the Meiji Shrine at the beginning of our walking tour, meeting at one of the large cypress gates at the entrance to the park.


Along the way were sake barrels wrapped in straw and wine casks from Bourgogne which were offerings to the shrine deities.


Our guide explained proper shrine etiquette to us, including the cleansing ritual before visiting the shrine:


The shrine is being refurbished in anticipation of its upcoming 100th anniversary, which coincides with the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. One of the gates leading to the shrine is being worked on, so it has a covering with an exact picture of the gate painted on it:


At this point, we set off for the rest of the walking tour, having no idea the frenzied pace our guide Rie would set. We covered almost thirteen miles total on Friday (not all on the tour), but it was a great way to get a feel for some of the city. I’ll cover the tour in my next post.

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