I was adamant that I wanted to see the gardens of the Imperial Palace before we left Tokyo. We had tried once before and been foiled because the opening times in our guide book were incorrect. Because of the rest of our itinerary, today was not only our last but our only opportunity to do so. The pouring rain that kept us inside yesterday hadn’t let up much but we resolved to go and have a look anyway.
We woke up late this morning and took a very similar trip to yesterday, out of the airport on the monorail, change to a conventional train to Tokyo Station and then a walk in the rain this time to get to the Imperial Palace gardens. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the gardens are actually open today. Unfortunately Lizzie wasn’t feeling very well and had to stay in the rest house while I trotted round in the rain.
The gardens are obviously stunning in nice weather but were quite subdued by the rain and grey skies. There are a lot of historic buildings and fortifications to keep you interested if you are not into flowers as well. A combination of the poor weather and the fact that we had arrived only an hour before closing meant that I hurried around only a part of the gardens before heading back, but I think I got some nice pictures.
As the closing time approached, speakers that I hadn’t noticed before sprang to life and played announcements asking everyone politely to leave. After these had been going for a while, a number of uniformed men on bicycles began patrolling the grounds. I never saw them talk to anyone but they gave the impression that they were making a note of everyone they passed and whether they were heading toward an exit or not.
I headed back to the rest house with a few minutes to spare only to find that the rest house closes before the gardens and Lizzie had to sit outside in the cold waiting for me, oops! It was already getting late in the day and we headed back to the hotel via some more shops for last-minute present shopping.
Bonus: last day!
Not much happened on the last day of our stay in Japan as we had a very early flight. However, when we woke up bright and early (another hidden speaker announcement coming from the wardrobe!) we saw that the rain had stopped and for the only time in our stay in Tokyo we were able to see Fuji in the distance. You can only just see it in these pictures even after a bit of photoshopping to make it stand out more but we were very excited.
We were very pleased to be able to go straight from bed to checkout to check in in only a few minutes and were quickly and smoothly through security and waiting for the plane home.