A picturesque walk from Akihabara to Ueno Park, Tokyo

St Nikorai Cathedral, Tokyo.

For over 50 years, Akihabara has been known as Electric Town. A black market in electrical goods sprang up here after World War II, starting out with radios and later moving on to TVs, fridges and washing machines.

Now it is mostly computer and mobile accessories, software, video games and anime merchandise.

The Sega building is packed with arcade games, including three whole floors of UFO Catchers.

UFO Catchers are those coin-operated machines where you try in vain to pick up a toy or prize with a mechanical two-pronged robot arm with pathetic gripping ability.

Nearby is the Kanda River where you can go jet-skiing. The streets here are spotless, as if the tarmac has just been vacuumed.

Spotless street in Tokyo
Spotless street in Tokyo.

Close to Ochanomizu station is the St. Nikolai Cathedral. It is rather strange to see a Russian style church in the middle of Tokyo. The original church was built by the Russians in the 1890s at a time when Russia was hoping to extend its influence into Japan.

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 put paid to that but the Japanese Orthodox church lives on, an organization with about 30,000 members. The current building dates back to the 1920s as the original was destroyed in the Tokyo earthquake of 1923.

Over the Kanda River you will come across a Confucian shrine called Yushima Seido and not far away, another shrine called Yushima Tenjin. The latter was founded in 1355. This shrine is famous for its plum trees and in Spring each year, the Plum Festival draws big crowds.

Tokyo is a relatively low-rise city compared to many Asian capitals and two-storey homes can still be found even in the central parts of the city.

Lotus Pond at Ueno Park
Lotus pond at Ueno Park.

Ueno Park is worth visiting as there is a large picturesque lotus pond, a boating lake, some museums and a zoo.

Bird Feeding at Ueno Park
Bird-feeding at Ueno Park.

You will find it a pleasant walk. Finish off your day by visiting a funfair at Tokyo Dome City with a spectacularly scary roller coaster which is wrapped around a shopping mall.

This article first appeared in http://thriftytraveller.wordpress.com