Tokyo: Temples, Parks and Treats

After getting some rest from climbing Mt. Fuji, we were ready to head out for another fun filled sunny day in Tokyo.

Breakfast in terms of American style breakfast isn't really common in Japan, and Japanese breakfast places (serving Japanese traditional breakfasts) don't really exists.  The best we have found is a semi-American style spread at coffee shops, like Starbucks or similar places.  The only problem is that many places served prepped food so it is already made-mind you fresh because it was very recently made-but still premade so there is no way to get it without the meat.  McDonald's has a typical American breakfast, but we didn't have one near us (note to everyone on McDonald's in Japan, even if "American" foods like an egg and cheese mcmuffin, it is different from the stuff served in the US).  So we decided to go to St. Marcs.  Not the healthiest breakfast, but it is a breakfast option nonetheless because we didn't have access to a kitchen in our tiny hotel room.

I had a chocolate croissant and French toast (not what you probably think of as French toast but definitely the same flavor).
After breakfast we headed to one of our favorite areas in Tokyo, Sensoji Temple.  This is a well known temple and a very well known tourist spot.  The walkway up to the temple is lined with food and souvenir vendors.  It is really a fun time so we made sure to check it out again.  We needed some magnet souvenirs, so this seemed like a good place to find some.

Here I am at the entrance.
This is the main walkway lined with little shops.
This is looking back at the front.
There are some garden like areas around here and Buddha statues.

Then we spotted a little restaurant with a wonderful smell pouring out.  We checked it out and discovered they had these little apple pies.  
The smell, however, was coming from the sweet bread.  Bread in Japan was introduced by the Portuguese, and if you have been reading my blog long, you know that we used to live on a small Portuguese island.  Therefore Japanese sweet bread caught our attention.  Here you can see the food models for the bread.
Yum!  It tasted as good as it smelled and it is the closest thing we have had to Portuguese sweet bread in a year.
They also served shave ice, which is one of Ryan's favorite treats.  It is similar to a snowball (if you are from Baltimore like me then you know what that is) or a snowcone or slushy.  Shave ice is a little different.  If you have been to Hawaii then you may have seen this.  It is a big block of ice that is literally shaved, like using a razor blade.  It ends up like a snow cone and they put flavored syrup in there.  Unlike US versions, they use only a little syrup.  Here are the food models for the options here.  You can also get it topped with soft serve ice cream and/or sweetened red beans.
Here is the guy putting syrup in the bottom.
The shaving the ice.
Then adding some more syrup on top.  You can see that it is not even close to the large amounts of syrup that get added in the US.
YUM!  Ryan was nice enough to share.  Of course I had to share the bread with him, too.
Then we walked around just a little more.
Check me out!  Haha!
As we left, I managed to get this picture of the brand new Tokyo Skytree in the distance.  It is the tallest tower in the world.  When we were here last time it was almost finished being built.  Now it is open for visitors.
Our next stop?  We went on a tour of the Imperial Palace.  Yes, Japan has an Emperor.  You can visit the palace grounds only with a reservation, but it is free.  Here are my pictures from around the grounds.  This is the moat and surrounding area.

This building is the Imperial Household building.  When the palace was destroyed during World War II the Emperor and his family moved into this building and lived on the top floor until the palace was rebuilt.
Here you can see the palace building, which we were not allowed in, but could walk around it.

One of these windows is where the Emperor and his wife stand to wave at visitors.
Then we walked around the grounds a little more.

After the tour ended we were able to enter the East Garden and walk around there.  It was hot out and the area is big, so we only walked around for a little bit.

It is hard to see but this was a neat design with the bushes.

They had some oranges planted, and I think some apples and lemons too.
I believe this is a concert hall.  Not sure if it gets used in present day, but it is on the grounds here.

Here we are exiting the Garden area.  You can see that the moat is here too, which is an exit on another side from where we entered.

We had a dinner reservation, but this was still a few hours off, so we decided to grab a small lunch.  Look what we found.
Yes, even Japan has Dean & Deluca.

Ryan had quiche.
I had a tuna and spinach sandwich on a nice whole grain and seed bread.
On the walk home we found a French restaurant and bakery called Paul.  Not kidding, if you have ever been to France before, you would have thought you walked from Japan right into France.  Very authentic in appearance inside and the product as well.
Check out all these goodies!

I was just in France, and these tarts are identical to the ones we saw there.
Curious what we bought for later?  Olives bread sticks.  Both black and green olives too.
Ryan bought some croissants for breakfast for the next day, but I didn't get a picture of those.  I also bough this fluffy waffle dipped in chocolate.
That wasn't all we found when walking home.  Seriously, if I am walking down the street and I see a sign for a place called 100% Chocolate Cafe, I am at least going to go inside and check it out.

The main concept is 6 different kinds of homemade chocolate ready to be used the filling for their 3 main bakery desserts.  They also sold chocolate drinks, chocolate bars (52 different flavors) and these little cakes.
Wondering if we bought something?  Of course we did!  Pics on that to come later.  We saved them for a snack the next day.  We were stuffed and had a dinner reservation that night, so no more snacking.  Only to go.  I love it in Japan because they pack your treats that can melt with an ice pack to keep them cool.  They are very into the quality of their product, but this also helps with food safety.

I mentioned that dinner reservation twice in this post.  Stay tuned for my next post because that will fill you in about our awesome dinner reservation at a top theme restaurant in Tokyo.

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been to a Buddhist temple?  What is your favorite French treat?  Have you ever visited a palace?