Golden Week 8 – Tokyo 3

My last day in Tokyo was possibly one of the most amazing days there. We went to Shiba Park, which is very close to Tokyo Tower and holds Zojoji Temple, which is really pretty. You can see the juxtaposition of the old and the (relatively) new with the Tokyo Tower rising up behind the Temple.

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Zojoji Temple is full of some interesting things. In a smaller temple off to the right there’s a place where people can take stillborns for burial services, which I think affected me the most.

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At the entrance there’s a place to wash your hands, as is custom when entering temple grounds in Japan.

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This is the temple. It was really beautiful. It looked brand new.

Behind the temple there were all of these little stone babies lined up on the wall. Each doll had a hat and was decorated by the family who had lost a child. There were hundreds of these dolls. I didn’t realize the purpose until I walked up to one of the stone babies and around it’s neck was draped a clear necklace, with a picture of the would-be parents. Some were dressed in the baby clothes that would never be used. It was incredibly moving and sad, but at the same time there was a beauty to it and each doll seemed to take on the distinct characteristics of the family that had put it there.

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They lined the path – hundreds of these little stone dolls. It was astounding and made my heart sink into my stomach. It almost made me want to cry, thinking of all the people who had come there at some point to decorate a statue of the child they might have raised. It definitely took the luster away from the beautiful temple in front.

I had a short walk to shake off the emotions that were felt in the memorial and arrived at the Tokyo Tower, which – until the Tokyo Skytree opened – was the tallest tower in Tokyo.

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The first viewing platform is about 500 feet high. The second is over 800 feet high!

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The tower was built in 1958 but it still looks and feels new. It’s incredible how long it’s lasted. On the first viewing platform, they have a glass panel built into the floor. You can stand on it and look down to the street 500 feet below.

The Tokyo Tower was the last thing for me to see that day in Tokyo as I had to catch a bullet train back to Nagoya to get ready for work. Golden week is an amazing time. It’s a great opportunity to see some amazing things; things I don’t think you can see anywhere else in the world. Tokyo is one of the places that you should definitely add to your bucket list. I hugged Kathy and Trev and wished them a safe flight home since they would be flying out of Tokyo to return home. I missed them almost immediately as I left. It occurred to me though, that as I left the Tokyo Tower, that I’d been living here by myself for 9 months. I barely speak any Japanese, but I’ve been ok. I’ve been without seeing my friends every day, but I’ve been ok. I’ve slept through earthquakes and been woken up by a few more. I’ve seen people dressed as Elvis and Anime characters. I’ve been asked for photos just because and I’ve been approached by people from all over the world who are doing the same thing I’m doing. It’s an amazing place and one can’t help to think what an amazing life we have to be able to experience it all.

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With the Koi flags of boys’ day blowing in the wind, I took one last picture of Tokyo Tower and headed off to the station.

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