Monday, June 25, 2012

Tokyo tourists

After out trip to the fish market (buying nothing), Tetsu and I went looking for the Imperial Palace.

One "problem" of sightseeing in Tokyo is that there are so many people and so many cars and not enough parking areas. Well, for a price there are parking areas but they are few and far between. I was always surprised when I heard of people living in Tokyo who had never owned a car or even had a driver's license. How can one live without a car? But in Tokyo I can imagine that it might be easier to move around using the trains and subways rather than fight traffic. (This had been my point exactly when Tetsu was planning our visit. Wouldn't it be easier to use Tokyo's great public transportation system?) The closer we got to the center of Tokyo, the more expensive the parking areas, and for monthly use of a parking spot (for example for someone living in a condominium) I noticed one place that was asking about $400 a month! Leiya pays less than that for her apartment in Ohio!

Anyway, we did park the car ("I wonder how much this is going to cost me for two hours parking...") and then wandered into the Imperial grounds. Of course there are inner gardens and outer gardens and a moat separates them with guards manning the gates and entrances. So actually, we couldn't see the palace at all, just a large expanse of outer park, a moat and the large trees beyond the walls.

Even so, in this bustling metropolis it seems like an oasis of quiet and people were picnicking on the well cared for lawns or napping on the benches. There also seemed to be a marathon going on with colorful runners circling the vast grounds.

This is the scenery in one direction.

And this is the scenery in the other direction.

The two guards at the far gate reminded me of the guards at Buckingham Palace... but these guards seemed to turn their heads and check out the tourists to the left and right.

Tetsu holding up one of the back gates.

And we took a short (long) walk over to the Diet Building. No one there. (But there was a political protest going on in other places in Tokyo about the proposed tax increase.)

On to other places! (parking for two hours was about $12)

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