First day in Tokyo reminds me a lot of the time we used to spend during our last days in Japan—riding the trains. I think they are the best transportation in Japan. They run fast, arrive on time and can take you anywhere you want to go. Although an hour ride will put a pain on your back, it is nevertheless quite comfortable for the money you paid. We arrived late in the evening at Haneda Airport; by the time we were cleared at the immigration and customs the train service has retired for the day. We spent the night at the airport to catch the first train in the morning. My daughter bought us a 3-day pass for Metro lines. She gave us a map for Tokyo and the map for the subways and off we went. First, I was not sure about this but after a few rides, going around with the subways was quite easy. If I could do it you guys could do it as well. So, don’t worry if you need to catch the train for your next trip in Japan, you would get the hang of it in no time. Besides, the staff at the station would make sure you will not get on the wrong train. They are very helpful even if we don’t speak much of Japanese; just ask and be polite!
Our destination was to get to the place where our daughter lives, on the north-eastern part of Tokyo. The green line will take us there and on the map, it is labelled A for Asakusa. The stop is called Higashi-Oojima and is about half an hour from central Tokyo. The word, “Tokyo”, seems to sound big and complicated but believe me it is the most friendliest place I have ever been. I don’t know how to describe it but you should come and experience it yourself. The only thing that you need to remember is to behave and respect the local culture. Our daughter has just started working here and we came to see how she’s doing. The apartment was big enough for her and a couple of roomates; situated in a new and modern apartment complex along the Edo river. The cycling tracks and jogging path along the river made my heart dropped. They were long and wide and run along the river for miles and miles. Every time when I looked down from the balcony, I would see people racing through the misty morning chasing the river flow. What an awesome sight! And in addition to that, they have thousands of cherry trees planted along the river bank. I could imagine the pretty cherry blossoms that would be here in the spring. I hope my daughter will be safe and happy here.
We had a good sleep to refresh ourselves from the jetlag. It was early in the afternoon and we were ready to be out and about to explore this great metropolis. We chose the Imperial Palace to spend for the rest of the afternoon. Sunset would be at around 6pm so we had about 4 hours to enjoy the beautiful summer sunshine in Tokyo.
The sight of the Imperial Palace was so magnificent from any angle you look at it. Too bad we could not get into the palace but looking from outside would be enough for me. I have been to many palaces and castles in Kanazawa and Kyoto so this one should be as great as those places. It was amazing to see that this place is in the city and has beautiful lawns and fields. People used it as running tracks along the road circling the Palace. I could see how running is a favorite sport in Japan; everyone runs. A short ride away we stopped at the Tokyo Skytree. At night, it was a beautiful and glittering tower reaching into the sky. It took my breath away. We took a few pictures and left. It was time to chase the trains again.
Oojima at night
We had an opportunity to visit The Camii Mosque of Tokyo
Dinner at a small Egyptian restaurant