Tokyo travel tips, day 2: Yoyogi park

Carla and I took a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan's capital, and it was my favorite so far. For the next few days, I'll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

Image: Wikipedia/Pawel Loj

I don't think you're supposed to fry onigiri, at least not the triangle-shaped ones that you buy at convenience stores in Japan. But that's what I did when I made breakfast in our Airbnb on our first morning in Tokyo. The onigiri weren't wrapped in seaweed, and they didn't have a filling. Instead, they were mixed with "mountain vegetables" and pressed into triangles. I heated them up in a skillet with butter, and the outside got crispy brown. They went well with the scrambled eggs I made. (I ended up buying this rice mold on Amazon so I can make them at home.) One thing about Japanese eggs – the yolks are a deep orange color. I don't know why, but they were delicious.

Torii gate at Yoyogi Park

After breakfast we walked to Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. This 40-foot torii gate was just a few minutes' walk from our Airbnb. As soon as we passed under it, we felt like we were far away from the hubbub of Tokyo and had entered a quiet forest. As it was early in the morning (the time difference between LA and Tokyo made it easy to wake up at 5am) there were few people in the park. We walked along a wide, tree-lined path until we reached the huge Meiji shrine. This Shinto shrine was built in 1921, destroyed in WWII air raids, and rebuilt in 1958. Visitors are invited to write prayers on small wooden placards and hang them on hooks in the courtyard

We also visited the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden, which is in the park. It costs about $6 to enter, and is well worth the price. It's been around since the early Edo period (1603-1867) and was the garden of various lords and the Imperial Family. Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) liked the garden so much he wrote a poem about it:

Deep in the woodland of Yoyogi, the quietude creates the illusion of seclusion from the city.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

There's also a pond, a teahouse (closed), and a well that was made by Katō Kiyomasa (1561 – 1611), a famous samurai and a playable character in Pokémon Conquest.

After that, we walked to Harajuku and strolled through the narrow winding streets. I'll write about that tomorrow!