Good morning Tokyo!  It’s Saturday.  We’re up early to spite jet lag, for a walk to breakfast, to overlook the red light district, to find the JR line at Shinjuku Station and ride to the famous, incredibly crowded, Takeshita Street.  We braved the hordes, really great people watching, found a new hair bow, had lunch at a 2nd floor pasta place, then took a taxi back to the hotel.

Afternoon, we joined a Gray Line bus tour of Hama-Riku Garden, in the rain, where Hashi, our guide, described the sea-water lake, the several tea houses, classic bridge and jumping mackerel.  We continued to the Port of Tokyo, Hinode Pier, for a ride on the Sumida River, thankfully under cover as the rain continued.  The river through Tokyo is mostly industrial, with many beautiful, colorful bridges, all with lovely names and stories to o with them. The boat was crowded and noisy, so we didn’t hear the stories, but enjoyed the ride and were met at the Asakusa Pier by a ninja warrior who performed for the group.

We walked up the Nakamise shopping street to the Asakusa KannonTemple.  Ah, the rain has stopped and we walk the opposite way of a huge parade, Tokyo’s annual samba festival, with hundreds of Japanese people in Brazilian carnival attire, complete with dancing girls on floats, celebrating the samba.  The crowds are too huge to get photos.  It’s an odd and colorful mix of cultures.  Coming so soon after the Rio 2016 Olympics, it seems somehow fitting.  We spend some time at the lovely KannonTemple, a beautiful example of a Buddist temple.  After a drive through the Kappabashi area, with many home goods stores, Cami, MJ and I, plus our American friend from the hotel (on his way from his job in China to his home in Albany, NY) are dropped at Ueno Station where we navigate our way on the metro back to Shinjuku.