Jizo, Showa Kinen Park, Manpaku festival, Treasure factory, Book Off Bazaar, Kichijoji
May 18th, 2013. Diary format. It is the weekend! Woot Woot! That means we are not staying at Kyodo but moving out to explore Tokyo some more. There is so much to do here and we pack in a lot of sightseeing Saturdays and Sundays.
‘Today’ will not fit into one post – the title is a give-away to all those wonderful numerous things you gonna get – I had to take some events out and will prepare bite sized posts for the leftovers. Diary format is in its test phase.
Ready? Go! Let’s start tranquil.
Before we headed out to the station in the morning (as in 12.00) we passed a temple close to our house.
The most popular kind of statues are Jizo stone statues, mainly found around temples. They have a gentle smiling face and are believed to be protectors of travelers and children. Jizo statues will sometimes be dressed up in red ponchos and beanies. This one even has a bag.
I like to walk through the temples and tiny cemeteries in Tokyo because they are such a contrast to the modernity of the city.
To our surprise we stumbled upon this old car. The tyres were partly buried in the sand, still inside were the seats, dusty magazines and some other things left behind, the colours faded but not one window smashed, no scratches or any sign of vandalism. The car must have been abandoned ages ago yet no one has touched it. This is Japan.
More neat things. A sparkling public toilet adjacent to a playground. Toilets are simply awesome in Japan.
Construction sites. Safety first is not just a phrase. Buildings will be wrapped up all the way, a metal paravan will keep dust out and safety men guide you around. In this case even the cables were wrapped up in yellow.
Vending machine heaven awaits at almost every corner. 80 yen a pop is the best deal I have found – drinks are usually around 120 yen at the vending machine. We still had once can of freebie coffee from our voice acting lesson.
Vending machines are like German Kiosk.
Yakult – two for 80 yen.
There was more to see at the station. This guy was pushing his wagon up to the station stairs and we were wondering how he was going to get that load up… which was when the wagon climbed the stairs on its own! Can they attach that mechanism to shoes?
We have arrived. Tachikawa Station. When you get out of the metro or exit a station, a stunning view often awaits.
Everything is so vast, yet easily accessible in Tokyo – a multi level future city.
Japan makes train fetishists happy.
Music events were held around the city with individual and group performers.
It was fun to walk. We came across various music performances and adorned buildings, many shops and restaurants.
All the way to our final destination – the Showa Kinen Park.
One facility of the park is Hanamidori Cultural Center. There were various exhibitions.
One was about cakes.
These were real daifuku treats! If you follow the blog, you will know how much we love those blissballs.
The other exhibition was about the art of depicting vegetables.
The drawings were incredibly detailed.
Those giant Japanese radishes can be seen in many supermarkets and all vegetable shops.
The next exhibition was about the art of recycling.
I think the artist got his inspiration from René Lalique‘s beautiful dragonfly ornament for a woman’s corsage (made in 1897). I am nit sure if art nouveau goes together well with 80s recycling art.
There was more, for example The Emperor Showa Memorial Museum and an amateur artist gallery but we headed out to get sunburned.
Not before we got a stamp. You will find stamp stops all around sights in Japan. This is one way to collect free souvenirs.
The entrance to the park is 400 yen for adults, 250 yen for kids. Opening hours are 9.30 to 16.30 but the park is open until 18.00 on Saturdays and Sundays.
In Japan, most things are open longer on weekends – which makes sense. People are off work, they have more time. While Poland has grasped that convenience concept for big malls and some supermarkets, in Germany, everything closes earlier on weekends. Catholic countries try hard to get you to church on the weekend and out of new age temples. Flexible working hours, 24h shopping, no differentiation between week days for those who chose to do so… is still all ahead of Europe.
A cool thing is that you can rent bicycles on the spot here – for 400 yen per person. We tried a tandem first because we had so much fun riding it on a small Swedish island in 1998 as a young couple… and for young and slim couples it is. I was bumping my knee against either Tomek’s back, his saddle or the handlebar.
We switched to normal bikes.
You can also rent bikes with children’s seats and small bikes for kiddos.
The park is huge but easy to navigate and has two completely separate lines for bikes! No way to crash with oncoming bike traffic. One lane for each direction.
There are maaany different stops and activity areas and it took us about four hours at a brisk riding pace to see the main spots. We passed some and didn’t explore all the kiddies areas.
Japan is the best tourist destination for families (as far as I can tell) and the park offers many baby rest spaces. Have a look at the loo. Most Japanese toilets have baby seats but there even are flip up child size seats at the park.
The main flowery attractions at the park are the gingko tree avenue (turning bright yellow in autumn), the cherry trees (in March/April), the tulips (late April), the poppy fields (be prepared for maaaaaany pics further on), the fringed orchis (August) and the cosmos flowers (September/October).
Magnolia obovata and oblivious me.
The other sights are the waterfowl lake, the rainbow pool, the sports areas, the open field, the children’s forest (with strange gadgets and fun activity play areas), the Japanese garden, the awesome Bonsai garden my Dad would have loved and Komorebi village.
Dogs and owner can have a drink at one of many water fountains.
One of many sports areas. The park really is huuuge. A group of people in their 70s playing boules.
Horseshoe tossing court. Sports can be peculiar.
There are 9 exciting pools with water slides and wave pools and river pools but they open in the summer (additional fee).
Peddle boats and rowboats can be rented.
Komorebi village reproduces the appearance of a farm village in the 1950s. You can learn about life in the Shōwa Era (corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor Hirohito, from 1926 through 1989) and agriculture.
The seasonal highlight of the park were clearly the poppy fields. Just scroll through and enjoy!
Papaver nudicaule! Yeah!
Van Gogh repeated.
Back to the poppies.
Who would have thought. I grew up to appreciate flowers.
There were other flowers, too. But it will probably take me ten more years to appreciate those velvet ones.
It is not easy to be me.
Are you guys still hanging in with me on diary format?
On the park’s site Rockin’ On (the music magazine) was presenting Manpaku 2013.
A food festival with (as we found out on the spot) mainly pork based dishes. Boring. Who is daring to tackle the vegetarian challenge!
Appetizing pictures awaited meat eaters.
We settled with avocado rice salad.
With an entry fee of 500 yen per person and 600 yen for a tiny bowl of rice, it wasn’t the best deal.
The prices for food were generally not a bargain and the selection not better than around Japanese metro stations.
The beer selection was big but truthfully all beer tastes the same. Yes, the difference is like between pepsi and coke.
Jeez, that must be one tasty hamburger.
Eh, which trash container is the right one?
Interesting were the Japanese portable diesel lamps.
After a festival reality check we decided to go to another super cheapo Japanese chain serving super (Italian) food – Saizeriya!
A quick peach yoghurt drink at the Japanese 7 Eleven conbini, chosen solely due to the writing: “Hope this food will bring you a wonderful time.” Yes please!
And the drink spell worked right away as we passed the Treasure factory in Tachikawa with the whole palette of used clothes and a lot of designer garments. I saw a dress in pin up sailor stripes design. A keeper. http://www.tf-style.com/shop/44/
It was getting colder during the evening so I just put it onto all my clothes. The dress is made in Japan, thick cotton with red retro sailor rope writing below the cleavage: ‘Lucky to have you’ (sorry my hair is covering it) – for 1,000 yen! I am in a Japanese public toilet at a station here. Sometimes there will be chairs like in a classic women’s powder room and girls sitting, chatting and touching up.
I also got me a matching lip stick (Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter – candy apple) in a big and shiny drug store in Tachikawa.
We also discovered a big department store called BOOK OFF – SUPER BAZAAR (do not confuse with just ‘Book Off’ selling solely used books).
Location: Tachikawa, Tokyo 2-7-17 Akebono, look at their website for map details: https://www.bookoff.co.jp/shop/shop71026.html
BOOK OFF BAZAAR was an enormously sized second hand mall with used books, used anime action figure, toys, games and clothes.
Rows of used books. Most looked absolutely new.
And manga action figures. Many still had their original wrapping.
Puzzles, figures, games… I even found old Gameboys – the b/w model I played when I was 11!
Tokyo is just full of surprises.
It is just fun to get off at any station and see what’s going on.
We found Caslon, a fancy bakery right at the station. It was past 9pm and we were buying fresh bread.
Location: ３丁目-１-１ Shibasakicho, Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
A whole loaf of good (as in European wholegrain type) bread for 700 yen and a nice phrase on the display: ‘Life is beautiful’. It is!
More at the station. A cute bear creature morphed with a fish body.
Because it was still early in the evening (when you go to bed at around 3 am – 9 pm is very early) we decided to get off at another station. Kichijoji.
Kichijoji had all the convenience of any of Tokyo’s numerous districts.
Typical Japanese city street views. Many pachinko (gaming) places, shops and restaurants.
But we also found a small street with tiny eateries, like Nonbei Yokocho close to the world’s most famous street crossing.
Tradition meets innovation.
Kichijoji had many sweet small European looking buildings.
Isn’t that cool – it was past 10 pm and this bookstore was still open!
So long, hope you like the new diary!
Let’s take a break.
Eh, no! A final wake up call, you guys. Always be very careful at Japanese toilets when considering to go for the flush button – you wouldn’t want to make an emergency call with unfinished business!
Money: We spent around 11,000 yen that day. Plus 1,200 yen for the train rides.
See you tomorrow!