Another of those striking clear November days, another visit to the Hama Rikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園). A short walk away from Shimbashi station and directly bordering Tokyo Bay, it is a garden of urban contrasts. The skyline of the ultra-modern Shiodome district forms the backdrop for the well-groomed Japanese trees, and the traditional tea house in the tidal pond. The tea house can be reached via a wooden zig-zag bridge. From there, one can look out over the pond and the bay, sniffing the sea breeze, drinking matcha and enjoying a sweet. It even sports a dry landscape type Zen garden. I guess the Shogun Tokugawa did not quite envision this type of borrowed scenery….
From the traditional style garden, a change of scene: from Shiodome, take the modern Yurikakome train line to Odaiba, an artificial island in the bay. The Yurikamome line has automatic trains without driver. Going to the front of the train thus affords a good view. And the view is definitely worth it: the Yurikamome train runs on a sloping elevated concrete track, running through a 360 degrees loop to access the Rainbow Bridge, a 570 m long suspension bridge connecting Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo. It nearly seems like a roller coaster ride!
Odaiba itself is full of oddly shaped and very modern buildings, it’s nearly like a visit to the future. At Daiba Station, we got off for a lunch at the tempura restaurant of Hotel Nikko Tokyo. A special treat, in many respects. Its maybe most striking feature is the panoramic window facing the rainbow bridge and the Tokyo skyline. But also the food is an experience. You sit at the bar, facing the cook (and the window), who prepares the pieces of vegetables and seafood you choose in front of you and serves it to you sizzling hot and delicious.
Our excursion concluded with another ride on the Yurikamome line, this time getting off at Hinode Pier, from where we caught the water bus that took us up Sumida river, home to Asakusa.