Tokyo CHAPTER 3: The Neighborhood of Tsukiji & Ginza

From serenity to the latest gismos…

In Japan, Ginza is one of the most famous shopping districts in the world, reigning alongside Fifth Avenue. Ginza and the neighboring district of Tsukiji, home to world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market, make up a fairly compact area. Unfortunately, with it being the first week of the New Year, many things were closed in Tokyo (and throughout all of Japan) because it is a national holiday. We were lucky to have been able to see many other touristy attractions, but the Tsukiji Central Fish Market was not something that was open during our time in Tokyo. So that will have to wait until the next time we go back! But nevertheless, we were able to spend a morning here exploring beautiful gardens and getting to perform a tea ceremony, enjoying a cruise up the Sumida-gawa (river), and checking out the latest gadgets that Sony has in store.

Hama-Rikyu Onshi-teien (Detached Palace Garden)

The Edo Period pond was a tidal pond that depended on the intake of seawater from Edo Bay. It had two duck hunting sites within the grounds. The garden is a typical example of the famous gardens of the Edo Period.

In 1654, the younger brother of Ietsuna, the 4th Tokugawa Shogun (Tsunashige, the ruler of Kofu), had part of the shallows filled in and built a residence on the reclaimed land that came to be called Kofu Hama-yashiki (Kofu “beach pavilion”). Later, Tsunashige’s son became the 6th Shogun, Ienobu, and this residence became the property of the Tokugawa family. On this occasion, the name of this residence and grounds was changed to “Hama-Goden” (Beach Palace”). From that time onward, various Shoguns made changes to the garden. The garden was finally finished at the time of the 11th shogun, Ienari, and has remained basically the same down to the present time. After the Meiji Restoration, the garden became a Detached Palace for the Imperial family and the name became the Hama Detached Palace. The Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II bombings caused a great deal of damage to a number of buildings and trees and rendered the garden unrecognizable. But on November 3rd, 1945 the Imperial family gave the garden to the City of Tokyo and it became open to the public in April of 1946.

Bridge to the Detached Palace Gardens.
Bridge to the Detached Palace Gardens.

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Entrance to the gardens.
Entrance to the gardens.

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Site of Enryoken: Enryokan, built as a guest house for overseas VIP’s in May 1869, it is the first Western-style stone building in Japan. General Grant and his wife stayed here for two months in July 1879 during their world tour. It kept on accommodating overseas honored guests even after but it was demolished in 1889 due to its dilapidation resulting from the earthquake in 1887.
Site of Enryoken: Enryokan, built as a guest house for overseas VIP’s in May 1869, it is the first Western-style stone building in Japan. General Grant and his wife stayed here for two months in July 1879 during their world tour. It kept on accommodating overseas honored guests even after but it was demolished in 1889 due to its dilapidation resulting from the earthquake in 1887.
Uchibori (Inner Moat): This moat was a transit facility for carrying goods transported by boats from Kyoto, Osaka or Nagasaki etc. to Edo Castle during the Edo period. There were also landing stairs for unloading goods built on the moat walls, which were built of kenchiishi, wedge-shaped stones used to build stone walls.
Uchibori (Inner Moat): This moat was a transit facility for carrying goods transported by boats from Kyoto, Osaka or Nagasaki etc. to Edo Castle during the Edo period. There were also landing stairs for unloading goods built on the moat walls, which were built of kenchiishi, wedge-shaped stones used to build stone walls.

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300-year Pine: The pine is named “300-year Pine” because it was planted in 1709, about 300 years agao when the sixth shogun, Ienobu greatly repaired the garden. Its majestic form, praising the great work, is reminiscent of the old days. It is one of the largest black pines in Tokyo.
300-year Pine: The pine is named “300-year Pine” because it was planted in 1709, about 300 years agao when the sixth shogun, Ienobu greatly repaired the garden. Its majestic form, praising the great work, is reminiscent of the old days. It is one of the largest black pines in Tokyo.

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Us by the 300-year Pine.
Us by the 300-year Pine.
Us on a beautiful bridge surrounded by pretty fall colors.
Us on a beautiful bridge surrounded by pretty fall colors.
The flower field: In the flower field, rape flowers blossom. The cosmos make for a colorful scene in the fall.
The flower field: In the flower field, rape flowers blossom. The cosmos make for a colorful scene in the fall.
Inabu Shrine
Inabu Shrine

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The Peony Garden: This garden comprises 800 plants among which are 60 different types of peonies. In the spring they bloom with great profusion of colors.
The Peony Garden: This garden comprises 800 plants among which are 60 different types of peonies. In the spring they bloom with great profusion of colors.
This is the bronze statue of Umashimadenomikoto, who is the son of Nigihayahinomikoto and also the god of war who followed the Emperor Jinmu on a military expedition to Eastern Japan and distinguished himself therein.
This is the bronze statue of Umashimadenomikoto, who is the son of Nigihayahinomikoto and also the god of war who followed the Emperor Jinmu on a military expedition to Eastern Japan and distinguished himself therein.
O-tsutai-bashi: This 118m long bridge connects Kono-ji Shima with Nakajima (island with a tea house). The entire bridge is made from "hinoki," a Japanese cedar. The bridge was completed in May 1997.
O-tsutai-bashi: This 118m long bridge connects Kono-ji Shima with Nakajima (island with a tea house). The entire bridge is made from “hinoki,” a Japanese cedar. The bridge was completed in May 1997.
Nakajima-no-ochaya: From 1707, when this teahouse was first built, the Shoguns, and other elites such as Imperial Court nobles, who never got tired of the relaxed atmosphere and the wonderful view of the place, had been using it continually. The teahouse was renovated in 1983.
Nakajima-no-ochaya: From 1707, when this teahouse was first built, the Shoguns, and other elites such as Imperial Court nobles, who never got tired of the relaxed atmosphere and the wonderful view of the place, had been using it continually. The teahouse was renovated in 1983.
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Traditional teahouse.

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Beautiful zen designs in the rocks.
Beautiful zen designs in the rocks.
Inside of the teahouse.
Inside of the teahouse.

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View from the deck of the teahouse.
View from the deck of the teahouse.

The Manners of tasting Matcha Tea (powdered green tea):

1. The confection (sweet) is all eaten before drinking the tea. It is because the taste of the tea becomes better. Don’t taste them alternately.

2. Bring the confection toward you by putting it on the packet of paper (kaishi). Cut it with small wooden stick and eat one piece after the other.

3. Take the bowl with your right hand and place it on the left palm. In order to avoid the front of the bowl, turn the bowl clockwise twice. Then drink all the tea in three or four sips.  (When the tea is served, the visitor’s side is the front of the bowl).

4. After drinking the tea, wipe the place where you drank from with your right thumb and index finger. Wipe your fingers on your kaishi. Then turn the bowl back twice so that the front faces you and place the bowl in front of you.

Matcha tea and a sweet.
Matcha tea and a sweet.

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Inside of the sweet.
Inside of the sweet.
Komo-maki: When the weather turns cold, harmful insects at the branches of a tree will get down to the ground through the trunk. In order to catch and remove them, they carry out komo-maki (straw mat wrapping, a work of wrapping komo (straw mat) around the trunk of a tree. Before the spring comes and the insects start to move, they detach the komo from the tree and then burn it up.
Komo-maki: When the weather turns cold, harmful insects at the branches of a tree will get down to the ground through the trunk. In order to catch and remove them, they carry out komo-maki (straw mat wrapping, a work of wrapping komo (straw mat) around the trunk of a tree. Before the spring comes and the insects start to move, they detach the komo from the tree and then burn it up.

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Kamoba (duck hunting sites in the garden): There are two kamoba. The first was built in 1778 and the second in 1791. The kamoba areas feature many narrow watercourses built into the garden. Duck blinds were used to observe the ducks and feed them grain. When they came close, they were caught using nets, and it was a form of duck hunting.
Kamoba (duck hunting sites in the garden): There are two kamoba. The first was built in 1778 and the second in 1791. The kamoba areas feature many narrow watercourses built into the garden. Duck blinds were used to observe the ducks and feed them grain. When they came close, they were caught using nets, and it was a form of duck hunting.
Huge net used for trapping (kind of hard to see).
Huge net used for trapping (kind of hard to see).
View out the blind.
View out the blind.
Another blind.
Another blind.
View from the other blind.
View from the other blind.

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Kamozuka (Duck grave): In November 1935, a grave to console the spirits of the ducks that were killed was built.
Kamozuka (Duck grave): In November 1935, a grave to console the spirits of the ducks that were killed was built.

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Tokyo Cruise on the Sumida-gawa

Though the heavily developed Sumida-gawa is no longer a quaint river, it is still famous for its 14 bridges, and a trip via suijo bus (water bus) is an excellent way to survey Tokyo’s old geography and see the city from a different perspective. We departed from Hinode Pier, in the Tsukiji area and rode upriver to Asakusa (about a 40 minute cruise).

All aboard the water bus!
All aboard the water bus!
Inside of the water bus.
Inside of the water bus.
Even though it was extremely windy out, we stood on the top of the bus to get a better view.
Even though it was extremely windy out, we stood on the top of the bus to get a better view.
View of the Detached Palace Gardens as we pulled away from the dock.
View of the Detached Palace Gardens as we pulled away from the dock.
KachidokiBashi Bridge
#1: KachidokiBashi Bridge

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Tsukuda-ohashi Bridge.
#2: Tsukuda-ohashi Bridge.
Chuo-ohashi Bridge.
#3: Chuo-ohashi Bridge.
EitaiBashi Bridge.
#4: EitaiBashi Bridge.
Caution! Low Bridge!
Caution! Low Bridge!
Sumidagawa ohashi Bridge.
#5: Sumidagawa ohashi Bridge.
KiyosuBashi Bridge.
#6: KiyosuBashi Bridge.
Shin-ohashi Bridge.
#7: Shin-ohashi Bridge.
RyogokuBashi Bridge.
#8: RyogokuBashi Bridge.
Kokugikan Bridge.
#9: Kokugikan Bridge.
KuramaeBashi Bridge.
#10: KuramaeBashi Bridge.
UmayaBashi Bridge.
#11: UmayaBashi Bridge.
KomagataBashi Bridge.
#12: KomagataBashi Bridge.
AzumaBashi Bridge.
#13: AzumaBashi Bridge.
Pretty view of Tokyo Skytree and the Asakusa city buildings.
Pretty view of Tokyo Skytree and the Asakusa city buildings.
Bundled up on a chilly boat ride :)
Bundled up on a chilly boat ride 🙂
KototoiBashi Bridge.
#14: KototoiBashi Bridge.

Sony

The Sony building is situated right on Sukiyabashi Crossing and attracts gadget hounds in search of gizmos that have yet to be released. On the first four floors of this mid-century international-style mini-sky scraper, adults tend to easily lose an hour or two perusing all the latest audio and video accessories.

Sony Building.
Sony Building.

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Couldn’t read the signs but this was some kind of “feel the sound waves” type of thing. Marketing amplifiers or something.

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An awesome smart watch!
An awesome smart watch!
Up close of the smart watch.
Up close of the smart watch.

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Watch programs and movies through the glasses like you are in the theater, can hook up to computer or phone.
Watch programs and movies through the glasses like you are in the theater, can hook up to computer or phone.

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Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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