Hey everyone! So we're getting so close to the end of my Japan series and I'm so sad. There's still a few more posts, but the end is nigh! So, the day after Kamakura, we had another "free day" where we planned to just pick a place and head there. We were on our way to Ikebukuro when we realised that Yoyogi was on the way. Yoyogi Park was one of the things I had wanted to cross off along with the Meiji shrine when we explored Shinjuku, but the rain had quelled that idea. So, we hopped off at Yoyogi stop on the subway, and were greeted by a busy but small town. Like Nakano, the buildings were much fewer stories here, and everything felt a lot more 'normal'. We picked up some breakfast in the form of Onigiri, sushi rolls vanilla donuts and ice cream, and headed over to Yoyogi park.
The change was pretty amazing. Unlike Shinjuku Gyoen , which was carefully clipped and composed, Yoyogi park just suddenly turned from pavement, to cobbled street to huge, rambling forest, heralded of course by a Shrine Gate! Obviously, of course, there was still order in the place, paths leading to different entrances, the shrine, etc, and a map to help you around, but the trees were towering over us creating cool shade as we strolled along. Again I think the time of year was a huge bonus. Much fewer tourists, though apart from the Ghibli museum it was probably the busiest "attraction" we had been to.
Still, it was bearable, and the cool paths were respite from the baking sun that day.The shrine was probably the biggest I had been to, a huge courtyard surrounded by different parts of the shrine. I saw shrine maidens in their red and white robes. I elected not to take a picture of them though. Whilst we were there we also got to witness a traditional Japanese wedding procession. I again, elected not to photograph, but it was a sight to behold! Both the bride and groom were in kimono, shaded by an enormous black parasol. The bride was in so many layers, padded to weigh it down and fully display the train. It was beautiful, but I felt sorry for her - she must have been so hot.As you can see, the crowds were big here, compared to most places except maybe Asakusa. If you look closely you can see Martin snapping a pic of me snapping a pic of him!
After we'd taken in the exciting wedding vibes, we wandered through the other side of Yoyogi park, basically looking for the exit. However, I'm so glad we did, because we stumbled across a bridge and found a river full of Koi. We were admiring the drifting fish when suddenly I spotted TURTLES!! Or Tortoises? We couldn't decide. They had pretty claw like 'hands' but then spent most of their time sunning themselves on rocks. I was absolutely in love with them, relaxing in their little pebbly beaches and paddling through the water. We spent way too much time photographing and giggling at these little guys, before realising half the day was gone and we should probably head off.
Then, we actually headed back to the station, grabbed a vending machine drink (Mitsuya Cider - not as exciting as we thought it would be, basically that Ramune flavour that they have over there, oh, and not alcoholic) and got back on the train to Ikebukuro. We spent most of our time in Ikebukuro browsing the shops, so I only took one picture, but the sunshine city mall was excellent and it was busy and thriving with lots of arcades, so definitely check it out if you are going to Tokyo! After that, I lost my phone - yay stupid me! - and we spent the rest of our night running around stations trying to communicate with Lost Property.