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Exploring Tokyo: Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Golden Gai

July 11, 2018

Ha Giang Loop Rough Roads

If you’re reading this because you read our Week 3 Highlights, and want to hear about our favorite day in Tokyo, you’re in the right place! Meiji Shrine was incredible. I tried summarizing, but there was no way to condense such a fantastic day. If you have not read our highlights post, what are you waiting for!! Check it out here! 😉

Anyway, here’s our Day 4 summary!

Yoyogi Park

Daniel and I were talking and figured we should probably go see some temples before leaving Tokyo. We decided to see Meiji Shrine because it’s the most famous. The shrine is right next to Yoyogi Park and figured we should stop by. Guys, it was so gorgeous and peaceful. A complete contrast to the bustling city life in Shinjuku and Shibuya next door. There were people playing with frisbees, some playing music, and others having picnics. We even saw a many who had three pet bunnies for visitors to play with FOR FREE!

Daniel and I bought some matcha ice cream, which was… interesting, and strolled through the park, hand-in-hand and just enjoyed a nice date day. Cheesy moment warning!! I love how much time Daniel and I get to spend together now. I never imagined that I could be this happy with my life, and credit a large part of that to sharing this all with him. We spent the time at the park taking pictures, and being just total goofballs.

Meiji Shrine

After spending way too long at the park, we made our way to the Shrine just an hour before it closed. It was actually the coolest time to go. It was a cloudy, almost eerie, day and the sun was setting over the first shrine gate. A long, winding gravel road, framed by giant pine trees, guided us toward the main entrance of the shrine almost a mile down. Since it was almost closing time, the shrine was empty. All you could hear was the sound of birds calling through the forest, and buzzing of the insects. We honestly felt like we were in a movie…a horror one, and at any moment someone was going to jump out of the woods and murder us. Haha. Although the surroundings looked that way, it was actually really peaceful.

The spiritual energy at the shrine was palpable. The Japanese are traditionally Shinto, and they enshrine the spirits they worship. In the case of the Meiji Shrine, Emperor Meiji and his empress. The original shrine was built in 1920 in traditional Japanese style, but got destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War 2 in 1945 . The shrine was rebuilt in the same style as the original in 1958 and is absolutely gorgeous! If you go to Tokyo, you need to check it out!

Tokyo: The Golden Gai

Lastly, we went to the Golden Gai in Shinjuku. Golden Gai is a bar district filled with over 300 tiny bars that only seat 6-12 people. Looking for a place to go, we heard the faint sounds of karaoke. My heart started to race. If you know anything about Daniel and I it’s that we LOVE karaoke. It’s our jam (and bread, and glass of milk, too). Sure enough, we pass the bar and the current singer sees me watching him and tries to pass me the mic. I was sold. We walked into Diamond’s Bar and were welcomed by locals who were enthusiastic for us to be there. The next 3.5 hours were spent singing and drinking with 6 of our new best friends. We had so much fun that we forgot about the time and missed the last train home.

So how did these two foreigners make their way back home and 45 minutes away? We asked a stranger, who spoke no English, and he told us to get into the Taxi with him. I know that sounds a little crazy, and I’m sure my mom just got an ulcer from reading this, but he was SO nice. He spoke some Japanese to the Taxi driver, and managed to get us only a few minutes walk from our AirBnb. During the 45 minute ride, we spoke in made up sign language and learned he has three daughters, is a Sushi chef, and is the nicest man on earth.

Moral of this story: Go out there and live some life! Get lost, talk to strangers, and forget language barriers. If you live life with an open heart, the language of love and respect supersedes everything.

As always thank you so much for reading! Please help support this crazy adventure of our by sharing this post with your friends. Make sure you’re following us on Instagram for live updates, and our YouTube channel to see exactly what we’re doing!

 

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