Old Tokyo

Tokyo is widely known as a (the?) futuristic capital of the world. But the fact of the matter is that the flashy city and the underlying culture are seamlessly interwoven. I’m sure Japanese people on the more traditional end of the spectrum would disagree with me, but for a foreigner visiting the country for a couple weeks at a time, it all feels so effortless and organic.

One of the prime examples of this marriage between the old and the new is Yakana, a district in the city center that preserves much of the culture and ambiance of the past. Its main street, Yanaka Ginza, is sprinkled with all kinds of street food stalls, specialty shops, and tiny markets.

We bought a few food items and sat down at Sudo Park, a small but pristine park complete with a tiny bridge and waterfall. Baby L spent some time playing around and admiring the dozens of turtles hanging around in the pond. A short walk from the park, and we were in Nezu-jinja shrine.

We walked through the entire neighbourhood, watching life happen and enjoying the smiles of locals, probably thinking we were lost. I just can’t get enough of these peaceful and idyllic narrow streets where you often can’t fit two people going by each other.

After catching the train we slowly walked up to Sensō-ji in Asakusa, where we got some food and watched the sun slowly go down. The temple itself was closed for a private event, that we initially thought was a wedding, but later found out from a huge security guard with a southern American accent it was due to a visit of a US diplomat.

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