We arrived at night and got a tour through Shibuyu, Roppongi and Roppongi Hills (possibly not in that order) before arriving at our hotel, the Westin in Ebisu neighborhood. Unlike Bill Murray's character, I found the cab ride, once we got to Tokyo after what seemed like an endless amount of time on a freeway (it was about 2 hours total in the cab from Narita to the Westin at a cost greater than what we paid in taxes on our frequent flyer air tickets) to be exciting and the city accessible. One difference I noticed from what was shown in the movie was that there was plenty of English on signage. I expected none and was pleasantly surprised at how much there was.
|Christmas at Westin Tokyo|
|Yebisu Garden Place Baccarat Eternal Lights|
|Moat near Otemon (Main) entrance to Imperial Palace East Gardens|
To enter the East Gardens you must cross a famous moat pictured here. The East Gardens were once part of the defense perimeter of the Edo Castle from the Tokugawa Shogunate (the basis for the James Clavell novel, Shogun). Shortly after you enter the Gardens, you see a guardhouses, called bansho, before you head across a large field toward the site of the donjon or castle tower, dating from 1638. All that is left of the donjon is the base which you climb to get a loftier view, both of current Tokyo and, in your mind, of shogunate Japan.
|Hyakunin-bansho - guarding entrance to Honmaru (inner citadel)|
|Donjon Base with skyscraper in background|
|View of Ninomaru Pond with reflection of autumn colors|
|Pond with reflection|
|Arched bridge in Ninomaru garden|
|Stone Lantern near pond in Ninomaru|
|Waterfall in Ninomaru garden|
|Vivid autumn colors in Imperial Garden.|