The second day in Japan was a mix of sightseeing and traveling as we were heading to Kyoto that afternoon. Having made sure our phones were actually on Japan time, we got up at a reasonable hour, checked out of our hotel, and made our way to Harajuku to have a look around.
One of the brilliant things about travelling in Japan is the convenience factor – things like lockers in the stations that are big enough to fit suitcases. We needed to be at Tokyo Station around 2pm and as Harajuku was on the way, it was much easier to take our suitcases with us and store them at the station than have the hotel hold them and have to backtrack. Good work, Japan!
We hadn’t really done our homework, so assumed we’d exit the station and see crazily dressed people; as it was, we exited towards Yoyogi Park and ended up wandering a calm and quiet route through the trees towards the Meiji shrine.
It might not have been what we’d been expecting of a visit to Harajuku, but it was lovely. The Shrine, with its towering gates and gorgeous trees, was beautiful and we were even lucky enough to cross paths with a traditional Shinto wedding procession.
After the shrine (and a rest with a cold Asahi at the nearby cafe to rest my leg after the unexpectedly long walk!) we made our way to Takeshita Dori, the trendy and strange shopping street across from the station, before making our way to Tokyo Station to catch the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.
We’d purchased green car (first class) JR Rail Passes for the fortnight so we’d have the comfort of extra leg room for our journeys and I can attest to the comfort – after enjoying my first ever ekiben (station bento/lunch), which you buy at the station and eat on the train, I ended up sleeping almost the entire way to Kyoto! Nick, however, documented the trip with some classic from-the-window-shooting so when he starts uploading his photos, we’ll get a chance to see all the lovely countryside I missed!