Tokyo is DenseAnd there is a lot of it.
|A view from Sky Tree|
|A view from Tokyo Tower|
But for all that, the dominant scale is humanThere are Contrasts of Scale all over the place.
|Big and Little|
But when you get off the main (named) streets and in to the neighborhoods it tends to scale right down to a livable human size. This is true even around business districts. Below, we see a bunch of low rise buildings on one of the unnamed streets of Hamamatsuchō. Here we are only a few blocks away from the Tokyo World Trade Center and two train stations totaling 5 subway lines. It's not overwhelming at all. It gets busy with pedestrians at rush hour, and all the restaurants fill up quick, but you never feel like you're being crushed.
|Human Scale Hamamatsuchō (浜松町) with Tokyo Tower|
Tokyo can be CrowdedThat's not to say that Tokyo isn't crowded. It can be. Just like any city, if you go to a popular place at a popular time it will be full of people. I took this picture at Tsukiji fish market at 6am, before I found the streets that were really crowded (too crowded to mess with cameras). But the walk to the market was basically devoid of people.
|Tsukiji fish market|
Tokyo Tower really does dominate western Tokyo
|Looking down from Tokyo Tower|
Tourists are AttractedTokyo Money is happy to spend itself to attract more money. On Odaiba, the man made island and emblem of the pre-crash economy, we found the big Gundam. So did everybody else, obviously. That's what it's there for.
It took me a long time, by the way, to realize that the mall's name, Diver City, was a pun. DiverCity, DiverSity. Get it? Yeah.
|Gundam at Diver City|
To be honest, after the Gundam, I was a little sad that Venus Fort (the Venice theme'd mall across the way) didn't have a river running through it. It did have blue skies and a classic car museum for an entrance, for some reason.
Tokyo is very greenPeople, myself included, love taking pictures of how dense and populous Tokyo is. That leaves something out though. Tokyo full of plants. There is green all around.
|Some kind of tree with droopy things in Shiba park|
And there are parks anywhereIn Minato there are a couple Edo era parks. You pay a few hundred yen to get in, but it's worth it. They are perfect, beautiful quiet places. They're also great places to experience earthquakes, which we did in this park. (It was a 5.6 and made the news. Kinda freaky, but nothing bad happened)
|Kyū Shiba Rikyū Garden (旧芝離宮恩賜庭園)|
We did find a few free parks in other neighborhoods too. Equally nice but smaller and so closer to the noise of the city. Still, a nice refuge if you're in the area.
And lots of them have Shinto shrinesShiba Park is free (it's near Tokyo Tower) and like so many it has a small Shinto shrine in it. It extends across the street and under the shadow of the tower, where there is another shrine. I didn't get a good picture of that though.
|Shinto shrine at Shiba Park (芝公園)|
Trains are a big dealWe took a lot of trains. From driverless robo-trains through rackety old locals. We didn't spend a single day without being on a train at some point. Most days it was 4+.
Tokyo people are nice
That's it for now. More later this week, or next week, or something. I still don't even know what day it is. (Can you believe I'm back at work already? I can't)