Day 25

Saturday, July 9th. After a good night’s sleep in “our own” beds, we are ready to rumble. First order of business, of course, is to get a laundry going, hang everything. Noe needs to go to Waseda. But our JR passes still have a day of validity. We can travel on all the JR lines for free. You have to know that, in Japan, there are competing train and subway lines. This is certainly the case in Tokyo, where JR operates a number of trains, but there are many more lines to go about. With the IC card, you can just pay what you use for most line: you swipe when entering and exiting, and the charge is subtracted from what you have on your card. But, when trying to use only one company, you have to pay more attention. Eyquem, Gadea, and Samuel decide to go hunt for some Eki stamps and discover some neighborhoods. We head to Shinjuku station and ask where the stamp post is. You have to know that it is a bit more involved to get the stamps than it seems: there are often 3 or more entrances to a station in Tokyo. It is thus not rare  to have to walk around the station to reach the stamp station. We get Shinjuku station’s stamp, and we take the Yamamote line to Yoyogi station, get the stamp, then walk around the neighborhood. 

Coin lockers

A stamp station

Shinjuka tower

Looking on Gmaps, we notice at some point that we are not far from Sendagaya station, so we head there. And start seing people in similar shirts all over: the shirts are white with red patterns, the Japan Sakura rugby jersey! And, here, Samuel remembers reading that Japan plays France today in a test match. We are close to the stadium, and supporters are flooding there. Funny! We get the Sendagaya stamp, and take the train to the next station (something we do with the JR pass, without it, we tend to walk to the next station). We get the Harajuku station stamp, and decide to look for something to eat. Noe has however sent a message, and, after some exchanges, it is decided that we will join her close to Takadanobaba to eat. We head there (by JR train of course), get an extra stamp, and have lunch in a nice brewpub (Beird Takadanobaba). 

Close to the stadium

Supporters flocking in

Takadanobaba is the birthplace of Astroboy

Home smoked porter, served in cask!

We let Noe go back to Waseda, We decide to collect some more ink stamps, and head to Ueno station. The station is quite big, modern, and there are Shinkanzens around. It is close to the park of the same name, so we head out and have a look at the park. The park is charming, we are a bit late to go to the Zoo or to the numerous museums, we head to the Shinobazuno pond. There are some shrines on a quasi island in the middle, and full of lotus flowers that are almost in bloom. We stroll along, then start walking in the neighborhood. We pass by the Ishibashiinari shrine, and arrive at Okachimachi station, where we collect another stamp. We take the train to Uguisudani station, visit another shrine, and then walk around to reach Nippori station and then Nishi-Nippori where we meet Noe. Finally, we meet Noe in Tabata station and take the train back home!



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