I never grew tired of this view. Interestingly enough, this view will change in the future with the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland expansions.
Our adventure on that day would lead us to Nagatachō, Chiyoda in Tokyo as our first stop. On our way to the Hie Shrine.
We walked a lot this day... and cute little bikers passed us up a few times. But walking around Tokyo offered an interesting and unique perspective that we didn't see very often.
And no matter where we found ourselves, there was always a beverage machine! I am so jealous of these hot/cold drink (and MEAL!) dispensers because they offer healthier options other than an average soft drink.
The walk from the station to the Hie Shrine was pleasant and peaceful. In fact, we hardly exchanged words because it was such a calming experience.
The Hie Shrine is known for their Monkey Guardian statues. This Guardian, in particular, brings blessings or safe deliveries.
A lovely Shrine Priestess or Miko.
Of course, the Hie Shrine famous Torii Passage was the main reason for our visit.
The Hie Shrine was only the beginning of our day. Our next stop was the Hikawa Shrine. At this point, we walked uphill, downhill, sideways, and back all around the city (while getting lost a few times).
I don't mind walking around, especially when there's aesthetic apartment buildings nearby.
Love these small details.
It should've taken us twenty minutes at most to get to the Hikawa Shrine, but it dragged on for an hour (after we took an alternative route!)
Admittedly, I was curious to visit the Hikawa Shrine because I grew up watching Sailor Moon. Since I was six years old, I became fascinated with the world that Naoko Takeuchi created in her manga turned anime series. Last year when I visited the Tokyo Tower, I finally stepped into that world (at 490ft!) This time, however, I decided to explore Rei's shrine, which was an experience worth the wait.
The Inari Fox Guardian protects Hikawa Shrine.
A word of advice, do not sacrifice comfort for aesthetic. My feet felt like they were no longer attached to my legs at this point...
We still had 2 more stops before we could rest, which meant we had to leave the Hikawa Shrine and head to the nearby station for yet another Sailor Moon experience.
Walking back to the station we passed this cute hotel with a European castle inspired exterior. Without realizing, I took a photo of a "love hotel", which is meant for casual sex. As it turns out, they charge hourly or overnight for their state of the art themed rooms. This is not as uncommon as you think.
And just like that, we were back on our way to the station, headed for Shinjuku.
We caught the final days of the Sailor Moon pop-up shop at the Isetan. I definitely felt a bit out of place in such an upscale department store, but I was overjoyed to finally see some of the exclusive merchandise for sale.
They had a strict "no photography of merchandise" policy, but the sales ladies were kind enough to let me snap a few photos.
The displays were based off of Megahouse’s Charm Patisserie cookie charms that debuted in 2015.
This Cosmic brooch handbag was gorgeous, but expensive at ¥45000, roughly $400!
Full disclosure: I had to pay ¥5400 worth of merchandise just to get this bag. Otherwise, your purchase goes into their classic Isetan plaid bag. Temptation.
Remember what I said about Peco & Ryu. I found a few of their ads all over Shinjuku.
I wish we spent more time at Isetan, but we arrived too late in the evening, just before closing. I do see myself visiting again in the future because they had hundreds of (expensive) shops and dining options to try. Next time!
The busy streets of Shinjuku actually reminded me of a safer, cleaner, LA. After a brief visit to the TOHO Theater for exclusive Moana merchandise, we headed back to Maihama station. We had plans to meet up with a friend later for a yummy sushi dinner.
While waiting at Maihama station, I really wanted to devour one of these ice cream treats. I can't believe Japanese vending machines are better than some American restaurants. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
By the way, if you're interested, there are a few purikura machines at Ikspiari. This one even had props!
Well, I finally made it through another photo diary day. Day 10 (back at Tokyo Disneyland) coming soon!