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Mitsubishi, Tenmangu, Kamukura, Parco = my Tokyo weekend

Mitsubishi, Tenmangu, Kamukura, Parco = my Tokyo weekend

This post has nothing to do with cars, although the house we walked through today once belonged to the Mitsubishi magnate Iwasaki Yataro. Big in the automobile business he also owned a big house. Which nowadays can be visited by the less fortunate, for a fee. Although history has been tough on the Iwasakis during WWII. During turbulent war times the family had lost their residence, which is now open to the public.

The attraction is called Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens but truthfully, the garden is just a lawn, not at all as elaborate as the house. The real sight is the building itself.

Admission: 400 yen per person. Location: 1-3-45 Ike-no-hata, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 3min to Yushima Station (Chiyoda Line), exit #1

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

Hello readers! Welcome to another Tokyo series of Dasza learning about the world.

Tokyo, Japan

 

This is what I know:

The residence was erected in 1896 and marked a new era in architecture in Japan. British architect Josiah Condor was invited to Tokyo in 1877 and became the first professor of western style architecture. His students were to design Tokyo Station which strikes with a similar grand look and apart from being a busy and beautiful station, it is another popular sight in the city.

Cool eclecticism – Western architecture and Asian palm trees.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Iwasaki Yataro’s upper class home was pampered with all the extras and enjoyed exquisite design. Popular at the time was 17th century Jacobean décor with incorporated Islamic motifs of the Renaissance. The floor tiles had Islamic designs. One ceiling was covered with embroidered Persian silk. Very subtle and beautiful. Sadly, no pictures allowed inside the house.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

I couldn’t resist but to take at least one picture at the one-step-staircase. Because you see, it might make all the difference.

Tokyo, Japan

 

So, I can show you the smashing and sunny veranda with a colonnade. Actually there were two storeys of colonnades. When I looked at those, I had to think of American country residences of the rich and Scarlett O’Hara’s Tara Plantation.

Tokyo, Japan

 

“A round of cricket? It is tea time, lord Thomas.”

Tokyo, Japan

 

“A splendid lawn indeed, my dear.”

Tokyo, Japan

 

The billiard ‘room’ was a separate ‘house’, which looks like a Swiss mountain chalet. It was fancifully connected with the main house through an underground passage. I would have loved to walk that secret tunnel!

Tokyo, Japan

 

Oddly and interestingly, the western style residence was integrated with a Japanese style building, contrasting with tatami mats and sliding doors adorned with traditional paintings, which led visitors straight into the garden.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The grounds were once property of the Echigo Takada Clan during the Edo period before it belonged to the Iwasaki family. The residence consisted of 20 buildings on a 49,500m2 property. After WWII the property had been confiscated and became buildings of the Supreme Court; it is now under the administration of Tokyo city authority. Only the glamorous two storey building remained.

My sunshine.

Tokyo, Japan

 

PT shadows on perfect lawn.

Tokyo, Japan

 

The garden was surrounded by contemporary architecture.

On the other side of rich.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Maybe not the luxury of space but who has got the better view? Laughs the lucky cat.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Mitsubishi-san’s residence is located close to a nice Shinto shrine, another one dedicated to Tenjin, the kami spirit of scholarship, frequented by many students hoping for good exam results. It is a small but important temple associated with the magnificent shrine in Dazaifu, which honours the most popular Japanese scholar, Michizane Sugawara.

Location: Yushima Tenmangu Shrine, 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The shrine dates back to 458 AD! Now it is being choked by new age buildings.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Students come here to pray for passing their exams, especially in February and March at the end of their academic year. You can watch them write their wishes on a wooden plate, the ema which they hang up to be heard by the gods. Ema can be purchased at the temple for 800yen.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

If you touch the oxen’s head and then yours it might give you the wisdom of Tenjin. So they say.

Tokyo, Japan

 

You can also buy the usual temple omamori, Shinto lucky charms and talismans.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The shrine is known for its ume plum tree blossom and in November for its display of flowers. If I had listened more carefully to granny, I wouldn’t have to google that these are Chrysanthemum flowers.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

I am just glad university assessment time is over. I cannot say how much anxiety I suffered before written exams, in my oh so very British girls’ hall in Manchester. Which is why I am happy to enjoy the sweeter moments in time.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Mochi with beans and tuna/egg sandwich.

Tokyo, Japan

 

From sacrum to profanum, as we Polish use to say.

Tokyo, Japan

 

These cake cubes are actually… toast bread – up side down. Plain or buttered white toast. A hollowed out half-loaf is placed vertically on a plate, toasted, drizzled with honey and topped with sundae treats like fruit, cream and ice cream. It is incredibly popular and there are toast parlours just selling that. Here is a window display.

Fancy bread.

Tokyo, Japan

 

I can just about resist white toast… but not fashion. I wasn’t as hungry as not to be distracted by Book Off – a clear sign of second hand goodness. But upon closer inspection they just sold used books (all in Japanese – surprise), no clothes. Usually, if it says Book Off Bazar, there will be fashion fun.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

Dinner time! This place looked inviting, so we gave it a thorough inspection. It was a ramen place. Kamukura Soup with noodles.

Location: 29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

 

Ramen soup is usually based on a pork broth so that when we saw this sign, we were happy to be able to say the magic words “No Pork“.

Tokyo, Japan

 

To place an order you use the vending machine in front of the restaurant. First you choose the soup, then you can buy more tickets for extra bowls of seaweed, spring onion, bean sprouts etc.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The place was full and we had to wait – a good sign and common practice in Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan

 

A steaming kitchen in the middle of the restaurant was busy cooking and stirring, chopping and serving.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The open counter kitchen in Japanese restaurants is not only quality control but a fun food spectacle. The first time you enter a Japanese restaurant you may be surprised by the loud greetings. I have so gotten used to the welcome shouts, it feels like something is missing in restaurants outside Japan.

 

Spices and soy sauce at the counter.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Spicy spring onion.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Waiting for the bowls to arrive.

Tokyo, Japan

 

When our side bowls arrived we clearly noticed that we had pulled too many tickets.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Because this was the main bowl of soup.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Chopstick fail.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Apart from fun places to eat Shibuya has department bastions for girly, frilly and cute. Parco is one of them.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Yayoi Kusama vending machines at Parco with the artist’s trademark of dots, selling underwear – a clear sign you are nowhere else but in Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Interactive store screens – this is Japan.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Girly exhibitions, young manga artists showing their best. One floor at the Parco department store had an exhibition hall, sharing the space with neat designer clothes. Admission to exhibition hall: free.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Konnichiwa country of cute!

I will be back with more kawaii from Tokyo!

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