Tokyo By Foot

June 3, 2023

Typhoon Mawar decided to sleep in this morning and was reluctant to leave the Tokyo area. After pounding the city with rain for the the last 24 hours she decided to give it another ten to remember her by. In actuality she did next to no damage to The City of 808 Villages as she swept by but she did make for an unpleasant day and night. My evening walk for dinner turned into a mad dash to a convenience store for whatever I could grab. This morning when the downpours finally tapered down to some sprinkles, I decided to head out for some last minute gear replacement before starting my day. That short delay cost me a chance to buy tickets for an attraction I was interested in but while disappointing, was no great loss.

Instead I went to Tokyo’s impressive Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan and platform for communication arrays, shopping and gawking from a height. With the final addition of a communications mast in 2011 it became the tallest tower in the world at 634 meters (2,080 ft). There are observation decks at the 350 and 450 meter levels which are reached by high speed elevators that can lift 40 people at 600 meters (1968 feet) per speedy minute or 22 vertical miles per hour. While the view was not great with the Mawar’s last gasp still swirling around, it was still quite impressive. I have included a downloaded view along with what I was actually able to see for comparison.

After a stop at the Skytree food court for a surprisingly good and inexpensive lunch, I decided to do a Crocodile Dundee style Walkabout and just see where I wound up. I picked a direction and started out eventually coming upon a linear park that went on through a number of blocks of tall residential apartments. Within its confined spaces I found a very industrial urban fishing spot as well as a landscaped area complete with waterfall and rocky stream. It seems as though this park like every green space in Tokyo is a mecca for dog owners. I guess the pooches have to make do with what they can find for toilet facilitates. To a dog, all were of the smaller breed sizes, compact dogs for compact green spaces.

Where the park ended I went up onto surface streets and just kept walking through some of the former 808 villages that mostly looked to have been rebuilt into modern mid-rise residential areas with shops at street level. This occasionally melded into business like concrete canyons as I headed mostly south and west. Occasionally, I stopped at a bench, when I could find one, to read a bit, glance at Google Maps and do a bit of people watching.

Eventually my travels took me to the Imperial palace, home to Emperor Naruhito, who acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 1 May 2019, beginning the Reiwa era, following the abdication of his father, Akihito. He is the 126th monarch according to Japan’s traditional order of succession. (this from Wikipedia) Like the former Queen and now current King of England, his role is ceremonial and he is forbidden to make political statements. Still, he lives in a nice house with lavish grounds on the former site of Edo Castle, the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. His palace is surrounded by a mote and the grounds outside the mote are popular with joggers. It is not known if the Emperor ever tosses a line over the palace wall to catch fish but given the Japanese interest in this sport, it would not surprise me to know that he might when no one is watching.

From the palace I decided to skip the long and somewhat boring walk back to the hotel so I ducked underground and took my chances at following Google’s subway directions. Despite my penchant for sometimes heading the wrong way, I made it back without a single inadvertent adventure.