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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Tokyo Imperial Gardens

JAPAN | Sunday, 18 August 2019 | Views [135]

Japanese Garden, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Japanese Garden, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY SEEMED LIKE GOOD days for walking in the Imperial Palace Gardens and Shinjuku Gyoen, two wonderful havens in sweltering Tokyo.  The Imperial Palace Gardens are the site of the former Edo Castle’s main defense circle and while none of the original buildings remain, the walls, moats and entrance gates still stand.  


  Moat Imperial Palace Garden



                   Imperial Palace Garden



                                       Turret Tower

Shinjuku Gyoen was constructed on the site of a private mansion belonging to  a feudal lord of the Edo era.  Completed in 1906, it was designated a National Garden at the end of the Second World War and opened to the public.  We spent most of our time around the Japanese garden, trying to imagine it when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.


Japanese Garden Shinjuku Gyoen


                        Shinjuku Gyoen   


                         Greenhouse Shinjuku Gyoen

We've gone back and forth trying to decide if a JR Rail Pass made sense.  Unlimited travel on JR trains — $900 for 21 days including the shinkansen bullet trains — didn’t seem too bad an idea on the surface.  We hadn’t purchased them in the US for $600 because of the tight delivery schedule.  We also didn’t want to limit ourselves to 21 days but were now reconsidering.  


    Hokuriku Shinkansen Bullet Train

Ultimately we decided that three weeks would still be rushing things and flexibility was more important than cost.  Besides, the last time we were here we used less expensive local and limited-express trains without any problems.  As it turns out, our first two trips will require shinkasen for at least part of the trip so we have no choice but to pay the freight.  When all is said and done, I suspect it will come out a wash somewhere between the six and nine hundred dollars each.


     Because we deserve it

Not surprisingly, the Ueno Station to Toyama segment on the shinkasen wasn’t as scenic as the slower “greencar” business-class leg to Takayama on the edge of the “Japanese Alps.”  I had booked three nights at the Best Western on Takayama and added a fourth as soon as we arrived.  Yes, we probably should stay in Japanese-style ryokan but at my age, sleeping on a futon is over-rated.  Our air-conditioned room not only has a comfy bed but a 3-speed, multi-position massage chair, too.  Show me a ryokan with that!


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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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