Our afternoon started off with a visit to the historic Hama-rikyu gardens, an Edo era garden. There are no koi (Japanese carp) in this pond because it is adjacent to the sea so salt water enters in with the tides and Koi are fresh water fish. This garden was much more impressive than the Imperial Palace East Garden we visited in the morning.
The Japanese Black Pine are prominently displayed throughout the gardens. Derek, our son, is involved with Bonsai which is the art of keeping large trees in miniature form through root and branch trimming. He has a number of these Japanese Black Pines which is one of the most sought after tree species for bonsai. It was nice to see so many old specimens in their native Japan, including a 300 year old Japanese Black Pine.
The contrast of old Japan versus modern Japan is vividly seen here. The peaceful gardens are surrounded by modern skyscrapers overlooking these historic gardens. Tokyo is a city of 12 million people which constitutes about 10% of Japan’s population.
Next on the agenda was a 40 minute boat ride from the port of Tokyo up to Asakusa. From here we walked to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of the finest Buddhist temples in Japan. There were thousands of people on the temple grounds and the surrounding shopping areas.
The 5-storey pagoda is impressive and the main temple is equally as beautiful, especially the area of worship.
Next stop on our trip is the Chiba Peninsula to photograph sharks. This is the main reason for our trip to Japan and we are looking forward to photographing a number of shark and ray species that are endemic to central Japan.