Weekend in Tokyo: Tanabata, Tokyo Tower & Yokohama! - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend in Tokyo: Tanabata, Tokyo Tower & Yokohama!

Asagao Matsuri and Tanabata
This weekend I went to Tokyo again to participate in a workshop at Sophia University about media's role under the Great East Japan Earthquake last year. But although this was my main reason for going, it was a nice excuse to go visiting my boyfriend as well, as he has been living in the Tokyo-area since he started working for Hitachi in April.
We met up Friday night after the workshop was finished, and headed out to enjoy the bustling Tokyo nightlife. Naturally we came home pretty late, but regardless of being a bit tired we got up already (?) at noon to go out for sightseeing. The weather wasn't really that good, so it was pretty unfortunate that I had managed to forget my umbrella in the night-bus the day before.. ><
Anyway, despite the bad weather we decided to first head out to a place called Iritani (入谷), where they were celebrating the so-called Asagao-festival (朝顔祭り). Asagao is actually the name of the flower Japanese Morning Glory (Ipomoea Nil), and thus there were hundreds of stands in the area selling the flower.
Entrance to the Iritani Asagao-Festival
Japanese Morning Glory (朝顔)
A smaller shrine in Iritani
In the shrine they also sold different types of paper flowers.
But there was also some other things to do at the festival in addition to looking at the pretty flowers. In typical Japanese festival style they were selling different types of food such as takoyaki, and there were some games for the kids to enjoy.
A girl trying to catch the fishes
The food section of the Asagao Matsuri
After our visit at the market we continued to the southern part of Tokyo, to be more specific to the Tokyo tower. Although the Sky Tree newly opened I had never had the chance to go up in the Tokyo Tower. Further, as Saturday was the day of the Japanese festival 'Tanabata' they were going to have some event going on up in the tower, so it was a good chance to go and take a look at the tower.

Tokyo tower
Tanabata wishes in Tokyo Tower
A shiny model of Tokyo Tower
A shrine (!?) inside Tokyo Tower

..There were both wishes in Japanese and English..
Live music concert in Tokyo Tower

Oh yeah^^
A small glass floor in Tokyo Tower
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Tanabata festival; to explain it shortly it is based on the story about two lovers who are separated by the milky way, and who only can meet once a year, on the night of the 7. July (Tanabata, 七夕, actually means "7th night"). As you can see on a couple of the pictures above, people can write their wishes on a piece of paper this evening in hope for their wishes to come true. In addition to this, Tokyo Tower's Tanabata event also included live music, so we spent some time here before heading back for dinner.

On Sunday we took the JR to Yokohama to meet up with some friends from Yuma's Ritsumeikan exchange program (the DUDP). The weather was great, and all we really did was to chill out and enjoying the day (mostly in the shade, as it was way too hot for us.. Haha..). Anyway, Yokohama has a rich history as one of the first places that were opened to the West after the American Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Japan and opened the country to foreign trade in 1854. In addition to the Western style houses you can also find Japan's biggest Chinatown here. The harbor is really pretty, and it does actually resemble Kobe a bit as well. In addition to the pictures underneath, I also have a blog post from when I visited Yokohama last year here.
Yokohama's China Town!
A statue by Yokohama's harbour 
And with the day-trip to Yokohama coming to an end it was time to go back to Kyoto again. It was sad having to leave my boyfriend again, but this weekend we are going on a weekend trip to Amagisou onsen (天城層), so I'm already looking forward to meeting him again. Now it is time to get back to my thesis, which I have been staring blankly at for some hours already today. *Sigh*
Yokohama harbor

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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