Sunday, 7 April 2013

A visit from the Aussie rellies

There is nothing like having guests in town to see Tokyo with new eyes and to rediscover the places that you have already been to. My lovely Aussie rellies (Paula and George) arrived from Aus on Tuesday and we had a fab few days gallavanting round Tokyo.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent trying to avoid the rain, and a perfect excuse to hit the shops of Shibuya. Much time was spent trawling the endless floors of Tokyo Hands and Loft, and gawping at the culinary wonders in Foodshow food hall. 

Thursday was a beautiful day and we decided to head to Sugamo where there is a market held on 4th, 14th and 24th of every month. I had never been to it before and it had a great atmosphere with food vendors, antique sellers and people generally enjoying a fun day out. Needless to say, I came home with some fabulous fabric purchases.

This vendor was cooking up some octopus balls....

These apples were most impressive in size!

Sugamo is famous for its red knicker shops which are supposed to bring good luck...

We spotted many pampered pooches.

On friday, we were lucky to experience the once yearly Hono Ozumo sumo match, a dedicatory match held at the Yasukuni shrine near Kudanshita station. We joined the masses and filed into the outdoor sumo arena to watch some matches in the sun. There was a lot of larking around, but it was great to experience the tradition of sumo.

These fine lads were waiting in the holding pen for their round in the arena.

Limbering up in the morning sun.

Many people like to get their photograph taken with the sumo wrestlers.

After the sumo match, we had a much-needed hearty lunch at one of my favourite don buri restaurants in Foodshow food hall. 

On saturday morning, we headed to the Nezu museum in Omotesando. It is one of my favourite museums, mostly because it has a beautiful Japanese garden at the back - a little haven in the middle of the city. 

 We were very lucky to experience seeing many kimono-clad women heading to various tea ceremonies held in tea rooms around the gardens. Quite magical!

The kimonos tended to be in soft colours. I'm not sure if this is significant to having tea....

These lovely ladies very kindly let me take their photo.

On saturday we made it to the Meiji Jingu shrine, a must-do if you are visiting Tokyo for the first time. The walk to the shrine is long, but it was well worth it as there were several Shinto weddings going on when we arrived. I am still impressed by these traditional ceremonies and love the pomp and ceremony involved in it all.

The wedding procession emerges from the side of the shrine.

The bride has a massive "hood" that covers an amazingly intricate (and probably heavy) headpiece.

We couldn't help laughing at the "priests" cartoon-like shoes.

 Part of the entourage. I love the red under-robes.

Everyone looked very sombre.

Our lovely guests have now departed these shores and headed on to the next leg of their trip - London! It's been fab having them to stay with us and showing them our Tokyo.

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