The post that I had originally planned for today was going to be me waxing lyrical about the Japanese train network, and a few other things I've noticed about the country. Sadly, that'll have to wait for a bit because I've surprised myself with the things I've done today.
I'm taking it easy in Tokyo, having only two days here I feel it would be counter productive to go Hell bent and try to see everything in very little time. Instead, I've chosen to keep things simple by just wandering around certain areas that spark my interest.
Today I explored a couple of areas local to my hostel in Asakusa. Firstly, the Senso-ji temple which happens to be just a short walk from where I'm staying.
It has a rather impressive tower! As well as some other areas of course. I spent a bit of time meandering through the crowds, admiring the architecture before heading down a street that leads away from the temple itself, and is inhabited by various brightly coloured street food vendors.
I wasn't quite ready to eat at this point so headed straight to Asakusa station to catch a Ginza line metro to Ueno Park. Not before snapping a picture of Tokyo's famous Sky Tree Tower and it's accompanying skyline from outside the station though.
Ueno Park is huge, and includes three or four museums/galleries, a zoo, a large pond, and a few shrines. I wandered round pretty much all of it, I took a few pictures around the place, but not many are worth showing off on this here blog thing.
My route did however take me towards a Tosho-gu Shrine where I found this smaller shrine that (for whatever reason) was adorned with coloured garlands.
And slightly further up the approach there is a display of ema, left by Shinto worshippers with prayers and wishes written on them ready to be received by the Kami (spirits/gods).
After my day of wandering I headed back to the hostel, but before I got all the way there I called in at the local Cat Cafe where I spent an hour petting various cats.
Japan has a few cat cafes, and I only learned of their existence a few days before hitting the airport so it was nice to find one so close to where I was staying. I didn't get any pictures other than those on my smart phone so i won't post them here, but in essence the cafe is just a lady's front room on the 6th floor of a residential building. Inside, she houses (at time of writing) 17 domesticated cats, all are rescue cats and she re-homes them over time whilst allowing people to come in and spend time with them.
Most of the cats were sleeping whilst I was there (as cats are known to do), but there were a few milling about, choosing carefully which guests (about 6-8 guests while I was there) to entertain, and sitting on laps as and when they pleased. All the cats were happy, healthy, and clearly well looked after.
I'm already considering the possibility of opening my own cat cafe wherever I end up on a permanent basis. Along with my mountainside Zen garden of course!