March 19: Last day in Tokyo

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My last day in Tokyo and a beautiful day it is: sunshine, temps in the 70’s, cool in the shade, not much wind. I bought a large apple the night before and that, with a cup of green tea, was my breakfast. Then on to the train to Rikugien, one of my favorite gardens from my previous visit. Situated in a relatively quiet neighborhood, it is an oasis of calm behind high brick walls. It is also designed in a way that makes it comprehensible from almost every point of view. The name comes from the six parts of Waka poetry (a traditional Japanese poetic form, which I know nothing about). There are supposed to be 88 spots in the garden named for famous places in Japan and China and incidents from Chinese history. as well as references to waka.

Outside of the garden were banners announcing the cherry blossom festival I was grateful would not start until later this week. As you enter a huge, fifty year old weeping cherry in full bloom stuns you. Because I was early there weren’t too many people. I read somewhere that these festivals involve lots of drinking, but from what I have seen they are an orgy of picture taking. I duly took the required photos then walked around the park for the next two hours.

The famous Sakura

The famous Sakura

Referring back to the pictures I took previously I find everything looks much the same except for some bare branches and no colorful leaves.

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City as borrowed scenery

City as borrowed scenery

Lots of children visiting

Lots of children visiting

I found a place for lunch in the area then got back on the train to another distant part of Tokyo, this time to see an art exhibit. This was where all my research broke down. On their webpage it said the Suntory Museum was only closed on Tuesday when they were preparing another exhibit. This was Tuesday and the exhibit had been up for some time, but they weren’t open. Back on the train I went to another museum closer to my hotel. I had been to the Edo-Tokyo museum before but didn’t realize it until I got inside. Then I was told the exhibit I wanted to see was all in Japanese and had lots of explanation. However, they had Hokusai’s entire set of the 36 views of Mt. Fuji on display, so it was a satisfactory day, after all.