It’s day three and we were finally going to see the cherry blossoms!
To be totally honest, I wasn’t really expecting there to be loads since the weather has been too cold and rainy since we arrived in Japan. The prediction was that they were going to bloom starting on the 25th of March but because of the terrible weather, I knew it was gonna be delayed. Still, I was hoping that there was going to be a nice surprise for me when we arrive in Ueno park. Spoiler: there wasn’t. The cherry blossom trees weren’t totally bare but there definitely wasn’t enough for me to live my dream of dancing around while cherry blossom petals fall all around me. Not that I could even attempt to do that with the amount of people in the park. Never under estimate the Japanese people and the power of hanami. There was plenty of people already enjoying the cherry blossoms no matter how little there was.
While we were admiring the park, we stumbled into a matsuri. A MATSURI! I never thought I was going to be able to see one since I wasn’t aware of any big buddhist or shinto events happening in March/April. (Yep. I totally forgot that hanami totally counts as one). Since we were a little disappointed about the lack of cherry blossoms, we decided to drown our sorrows with all the street food that was in front of us. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. We were just hungry cause we didn’t have breakfast (not that I eat breakfast normally anyway). Everything tasted amazing and I got to taste my first sakura flavoured food in Japan! That sakura mochi was possibly my favourite out of everything that I sampled that day.
After eating our fill, ate Janna and I went in to check out the temple where the matsuri was being held. My research later told me that it was called “Benten-do”. You can tell that they were used to having loads of tourists as their fortunes and lucky charms have, not only english, but korean, and chinese translations too. Once we were done checking out the temple, we headed back to the main area of the park since we were supposed to meet up with ate Davie and her family again. They were heading back to the Philippines that afternoon and were doing some last minute sightseeing. We had a little photoshoot in Ueno and then parted ways.
Asakusa was out next stop for the day. I don’t know if it was because of the nice weather or the time of the day, but the place was completely packed! I already dislike big crowds as it is but if I had social anxiety, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to tolerate the crowd for more than ten minutes. The nice thing about it was that the crowd was moving so it didn’t take long for us to get to the main temple. The downside, was that the crowd was moving so it made it hard for us to stop and look at the shops in Nakamise dori.
Once we got to the main temple, ate Janna and I didn’t lose anytime in paying our respects. We wandered around the area for a little while. There were also street food stalls set up in the area and we did contemplate about eating there but we figured we’d rather have a proper meal. We found shokudo (something like a local cafeteria, similar to “turo-turo” in the Philippines) and settled there, mainly because we were entranced by the Japanese style low tables on a tatami floor. We were disappointed with the flavour of the food that was served to us but in retrospect, I think that for the price that we paid for, the food was actually quite decent.
While we were looking for a place to have lunch, we saw a bakery that had a big queue. From our, limited experience, we knew that long line = good food. So as soon as we finished our lunch, we headed over to line up at the bakery. It was touted to be the place that sold the best melon pan in Japan. We didn’t wait too long. Around 30-45 minutes by my estimation. Yeah, in terms of Japanese line waiting standards, that’s not a long time. The melon pan was really good too so it was definitely worth the wait.
Once we were done with our melon pan, we were ready to do some shopping! Don Quixote was just five minutes away. I don’t think I’ve seen a multi-purpose shop that big in my life (malls do not count). There were five floors and each floor has a designated department. I’m quite proud to say that I managed to roam floors one to four despite my aching feet. I gave up after the fourth floor and just waited for my cousins by the stairs where I sat down and rested my feet.
Our last stop for the day was supposed to be Tokyo Skytree but we were exhausted so I found a cafe located in the Asakusa Bunka Kanko Center, just by Senso-ji, and we just ended our day there. There was an observatory deck right beside the cafe and I got to take pictures of Skytree from there. That was enough to satisfy me for the moment. After all, I’m definitely coming back to Tokyo. I can go visit Skytree up close and personal then.