13th August 2014: Samurai vs. Kaiju {Japan, summer 2014}

We started the day in Asakusa [浅草], which would be one of my favourite places in Tokyo if it was not so crowded all the time. This time not only I wanted to visit the main Sensōji [浅草寺].

The Sensoji temple in Asakusa, whose most prominent feature is the huge red paper lanterns

I also wanted to check out the smaller protective Shinto Shrines on the side, like Asakusa Jinja [浅草神社].

Small shrine with two stone torii, two stone lanterns and two fox statues flanking them

The second temple of the day was Sengakuji [泉岳寺], close to Shinagawa [品川]. The name does not really ring a bell by itself, but Senkakuji is also known as the Temple of the Forty-Seven Rōnin, as here is where all of them are buried. The Buddhist temple itself is nothing special. It has the graveyard where the samurai are buried, and a small museum attached where you can see a replica of the drum used in the attack, along with pieces of armour and one copy of the declarative letter that they wrote. Another part of the museum holds wooden statues for all of them.

A Buddhist temple, and a row of gravestones with the names of some of the 47 Ronin

After having lunch in Shinagawa (in a… Mexican… kind of place called “El Caliente”) we headed off to Roppongi [六本木] to see Godzilla. Not the movie, but the sculpture that has been planted in Tokyo Midtown [東京ミッドタウン]. As a matter of fact, it was a very Godzilla [ゴジラ] summer in Tokyo. The Godzilla visit was done in two parts, one before sunset and one after it had gotten dark.

Godzilla coming from the ground, roaring

The two visits to Godzilla were separated by horrible horrible American food (I shall never willingly set a foot on a “Wendy’s” again) and going to the cinema to watch “Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno”, the second instalment of a movie trilogy based on the manga of the same name.

Poster of the movie. It shows a man dressed in red traditional clothes, with an X-shaped scar on his cheek. Behind him, minor characters and the antagonist, covered in bandages.

Oh, and before we got back to Godzilla, we saw a gazillion and a half of Doraemon [ドラえもん] underneath Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ], and pictures were taken with them.

A lot of people-sized Doaemon in different poses. Doraemon is a cartoonish ear-less blue and white cat

And here Godzilla tries to eat stuff (there are many good restaurants underneath Tokyo Midtown anyway):

A close-up of the Godzilla statue at night, lit purple and blue, and looming on a skyscraper