Our first meal in Japan - and one of the best ones I had - was the buffet breakfast at Hotel Monday Nishikasai. A rich, hot, nutritious breakfast was much needed after the long and late flight from Hawaii to the Narita International Airport, and then the 4+ stressful hours figuring out how to use the trains to get to the hotel.


Although still moderately jet lagged, we boarded the jam-packed metro during rush hour and made our way to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. This is one of many detailed miniature models that depicts what modern-day Tokyo (then known as Edo) might have looked like.


A massive replica of the Nihonbashi bridge with Ali for scale.


After we had our fill of history, we stopped at a tiny ramen shop for lunch, then enjoyed a brisk walk to Ueno Park. The park was crowded with visitors who, like us, were there to enjoy the mild weather and cherry blossoms. The overall atmosphere was calm and pleasant.


A large concrete torii, a symbol of passage from the mundane world to the spiritual.


Beyond the torii was a path that lead to a temple.


Outside the temple, patrons could purchase a wooden card to write their new year’s wishes, then hang it among many others.


The temple gate. For a fee, we could enter the temple grounds, but we decided to move on.


Outside the temple was a memorial to the atomic bombings. The dark hole set into the bird’s wing had a flame within it, which is intended to stay lit for as long as nuclear weapons are active in the world.


Another temple seen along the path back toward the torii.


While walking around Ueno Park, I noticed a natural history museum on the map. We decided to check it out, and discovered this fantastic display of the sea life of Japan.


A life-size replica of an aquatic dinosaur fossil. They also had the actual fossil remains nearby.


Many of the public signs in Japan include goofy-looking cartoon characters. Here is one such example.


We were both quite jet lagged, so we retired to the hotel early to rest up before Day 2.