I have been dying to see Asakusa since arriving in Tokyo. This area is considered more like old Tokyo, with small shops selling souvenirs surrounding the famous Senso-ji temple.
The Kaminari-mon gate greets you right off a busy street, signalling you are entering the temple area and a long narrow street of souvenir shopping (called the Nakamise-dori).
As we entered this area, it started to rain a bit harder than the mist that initially started our day. As the umbrellas came out, it became a bit harder to souvenir shop (but I managed it)!. At that point, I was reminded how much Dave hates this kind of shopping, so we skedaddled straight for the temple, dodging umbrellas along the way. Even with the rain, it was breathtaking.
We planned our day around the rain. Or so we thought. It was supposed to end by mid-afternoon, so we decided to take a break and get away from the rain and the crowds for an hour. This is where good research (and the citymapper GPS app) came in handy. We left the template area and headed to the 13th floor of the nearby Gate Hotel, for a beer and a great view of the golden flame of the Asahi building (designed by Philippe Stark). Also known by Dave as the golden poo. The building right beside it was designed to look like a beer glass (you can see it if you think of the top like the froth of the beer).
By now, it was much quieter and we had a better opportunity to enjoy the temple and partake in the local fortune telling custom. You shake a cylinder until a stick comes out of small hole. The stick is numbered in Japanese characters, and you pull a fortune out of the drawer with the same number. If you have a good fortune, that’s great. If you have a bad fortune, you fold up your fortune and tie it to a nearby rack, so that the fortune doesn’t come home with you.
Dave got a good fortune (woot!), but I did not… so I tied it to the rack, in the hopes it will not follow me home.
Before we wandered off to find the Hoppy Dori for an Izakaya dinner, we realized that this day turned out perfectly in spite of our inability to avoid the rain. It reminded me that going with the flow and enjoying what comes often leads to wonderful unexpected moments.