Waking in the middle of the night notwithstanding, we are woken by the alarm. We hit peak breakfast time which means waiting for the buffet to be replenished!  The interruption at 2am was a text message allegedly from a grandson suggesting that I join “Snapchat” – as if it was likely to be of interest or relevant. 

A morning coach trip takes us to the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa and although not early Tokyo seems much quieter than I had expected until reminded that we are in the middle of Golden Week where holidays happen on alternate days and are then bridged with holiday days allowing a week’s break from work.

Needless to say the Temple is very busy and the walk up through the adjacent street is consequently very slow as we are walking against humanity flooding in through the main gate by the nearest station.

It is, our guide assures us, the best time of year to visit Japan.  Warm, but not excessively hot, not raining and a pleasant day all round.

Our return from the Temple is an extended tour through some key Central Tokyo districts.  First Ryogoku which contains the headquarters of Sumo and a major stadium which hosts week long competitions six times a year. Then onto Akihabara, once the electronics centre but which has moved with the times and is now the manga comics and games centre.  We pass Tokyo Central station before heading towards the Imperial Palace, then seeing the Diet (Parliament building) and both the 1962 and 2021 Olympic stadia. 

Our guide implies that Ginza has been overtaken by Shibuya as a shopping area and the latter certainly has many designer name shops.  It is more famous for the “Scuttle Crossing” and as we approach we are treated to a demonstration as hundreds of pedestrians walk in every direction possible for 50 seconds.

We return to our hotel in Shinjuku not far from the station of the same name.  The station is the busiest in the world with an average of 3.5m passengers a day, which implies something like 12 times the annual numbers passing through Waterloo!

Later we partake of a tenpanyaki dinner in the hotel.  Excellent dinner even if a little expensive. 

Earlier having completed the tour we were tested for covid.  Initially advised that results would return in a hour, later revised to four hours but we are both much relieved to collect two negative results.  We can board the cruise ship on Friday.