The clouds cleared and revealed a perfectly sunny Tokyo for us on our third day. We walked from our hotel to Harajuku and essentially had the streets to ourselves.
We enjoyed about an hour in Yoyogi Koen, a non-touristy park/garden that was wonderful to walk around.
After the park we headed to Meiji Shrine, which honors Emperor Meiji, naturally. I'm standing under the giant cypress gates at the entrance of the complex.
You can barely make out John underneath this gate. Apparently the gates mark the separation of the secular world from the spiritual world of the shrine.
Along the walk to the shrine there were beautifully painted sake barrels.
The shrine itself was beautiful and serene.
We were there on a Sunday and got to witness three of four wedding parties marching past.
Some of the guests/wedding party were dressed in beautiful traditional kimonos, and John and I loved watching the adorable little girls march along all gussied up.
Right outside the shrine is the wild Harajuku station which is heaped with throngs of teenagers.
Takeshita Street is its own planet, almost, with delightfully tacky stores going on for blocks and blocks.
John and I basically walked along the corridor with our mouths agape, occasionally laughing at the names and contents of the ridiculous stores.
The people-watching in Harajuku is unparalleled, as the patrons match the surroundings perfectly.
I dragged John into yet another elaborate toy store - Kiddyland. I exercised restraint and only bought one thing in the four-story giant.
This store was set up a little nicer than the other toy stores we visited, but it didn't have quite as much wacky merchandise. I absolutely love browsing in these stores, though - they have even exceeded my expectations.
After the excitement of Harajuku we hopped on the bullet train and headed south to Kyoto where there is decidedly less neon and significantly more beauty. More on Kyoto soon!