We headed out super early for Gotokuji Temple. on our third day. It wasn’t by choice. Our host was leaving on a ski trip, and she had a bus to catch. But we figured we might as well make the most of our day. Besides, it would give us extra time to go phone hunting, since I had accidentally killed my phone the previous night in my exhausted state.
How early did we leave, you ask?
Early enough that the streets were completely dead. We’re talking zombie apocalypse dead.
Gotokuji is known for its white beckoning cats. It claims to be the birthplace of the good luck charm, though it’s not the only place to make this claim.
According to Atlas Obscura:
“Legend has it that during the Edo period, the final era of traditional Japanese government, a cat under the care of a priest at Gotokuji Temple led a feudal lord to safety during a thunderstorm. The cat beckoned the lord and his servants inside with a waving gesture–hence all the maneki-neko statues have one paw raised.”
Aside from the cats, there was something really calming and serene about being at a temple shortly after sunrise. The silence was like a thick fog floating over the grounds, while the sunlight hitting the pagoda was absolutely breath-taking. It was the perfect way to welcome a new day. Even the possibility of zombies looming around the corner didn’t phase me.
From there, we took a stroll through Yoyogi Park, which is right next to the Meiji Shrine.
After spending several hours hunting down some street where my host claimed I’d be able to find cheap used phones, I gave up and went to the nearest phone shop I could find.
With that ordeal out of the way, I went to check out the Alice on Wednesday shop. They sold all sorts of Alice-themed accessories and products, ranging from earrings to bags, mirrors, you name it. It was aight, but I did find anything that blew my mind.
Actually, the Cheshire Cat was pretty cool. HIS EYES FOLLOWED YOU!
Then it was time for the main event. Robot Restaurant.
I got my ticket and went down to the waiting room, where the crowd was then entertained by this AWESOME band. Daft Punk, eat your heart out! They played a couple tunes, but my favourite was probably What a Wonderful World.
Then we were taken to the showroom.
Man, what a show! There were robots and gorgeous Japanese women all over the place! They rocked out, and took the train all the way down to funky town, dancing to Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, and a few others.
But that was just the first act. After the first of three intermissions, things got serious. Apparently in the distant future, Earth was taken over by…aliens? Robots? I can’t even remember anymore…I was just so awestruck by everything that was going on. My senses were entirely overwhelmed. I wish I had more eyes so I could see everything that was going on in front of me and not miss ANYTHING!
Some species of beautiful Japanese fairies or something came to humanity’s aid and sent those aliens/robots packing with their tails between their legs. It was like something out of Power Rangers. First the bad guys attacked, then the good guys came back with something bigger to retaliate, and so on and so forth. They went back and forth for a while, and the monsters and weapons just got bigger and more ridiculous.
And Kung Fu Panda and Raphael the Ninja Turtle made special guest appearances.
Once the good guys won, it was back to boogeying down. I cannot put into words the amount of fun I had at this place. There was a smile plastered to my face the whole time, and I couldn’t stop laughing and cheering.
I felt bad for the poor grandpa beside me who was clearly not there by choice. Thankfully, the Aussies to my left were a lot more fun.
This was, hands down, my highlight from Tokyo.
Trevor and I found ourselves a nearby hostel–though I don’t know if you can call yourself a hostel when you charge $60 per night–and went to bed with smiles on our faces.