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Most viewed - Chiyoda-ku 千代田区
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The Crown Prince, the Emperor, and the Empress on the Emperor's Birthday. They were on the balcony for a whole THREE minutes. I thought they would stay there for at least 10 min. Barely had time to mount my telephoto lens.2756 views
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10:23 am: They wave to the crowd again. From left to right is the Crown Prince, the Emperor, the Empress, and Prince and Princess Akishino.2506 viewsIt was very difficult to get a good shot of them since so many flags were in the way. I had to hold the camera overhead above the flags and shoot almost blindly with my telephoto lens. Luckily, I managed to get a few decent closeup shots.
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10:22 am: The Emperor speaks. When the Emperor spoke, the crowd immediately fell silent and all the flags stopped waving. He spoke for only about a minute, thanking us for celebrating his birthday and mentioning this past year's numerous natural disas2045 viewsAfter he finished, everyone waved the flags again and cheered.
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Houkago Princess performing at Kanda Myojin Shrine for Setsubun.1765 views
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About the Sacred horse (pony).1730 views
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10:20 am: The Emperor and Empress appear right on time on his birthday. As soon as they appeared, people waved paper flags and cheered "banzai!" Also see the video at YouTube.1582 viewsIt was an amazing spectacle. I always saw it on TV, but this was the first time I saw it in person. I wish I went when Emperor Hirohito was still living.

From left to right is Princess Nori, the Crown Prince, the Emperor, the Empress, and Prince and Princess Akishino. Crown Princess Masako did not appear due to illness.

I also once used this shot for the cover photo on my home page.
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Even Santa Claus came (from Finland??). I'm told that they might be Finns. (Santa is from Finland.)1297 views
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Dec. 23, 2004 at 8:30 am: Across the street from the Imperial Palace. Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 are the only two days when the general public is allowed to enter the palace to greet the Emperor and his family.1240 viewsA visit to the Imperial Palace by the general public is called "ippan sanga" in Japanese (一般参賀).

On the Emperor's birthday, the Imperial Palace can be entered only at certain locations. You have to find out where they are and stand in line there. Just go near the Imperial Palace and ask a policeman where you can stand in line. You otherwise cannot enter the grounds. The huge, graveled plaza where you can see Nijubashi Bridge is closed off by police.

While standing in line here, we received free paper Japanese flags.
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10:24 am: After 3 min. on the balcony, they were gone. We waited almost 2 hours for a 3-min. appearance. But I think it's something you should do at least once while in Japan.1150 views
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Entrance for state guests. This is where heads of state and other royalty enter this building.1137 views
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Train line map and fares in English at Tokyo Station as of 2007.944 views
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Fushimi Turret. This view of the turret can only be had when you cross the bridge. I never knew what it really looked like until this day. 伏見櫓909 views
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On Nijubashi Bridge heading for the Seimon Gate. 正門880 views
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Japan fans. The sign says, "Downward slope ahead, walk slowly." It's only about 10:30 am, so it's a good time to walk around the Imperial Palace and the East Gardens. Although no flowers are in bloom, you might see autumn leaves.869 viewsFor more info about the Imperial Family and visiting the palace, see the Imperial Household Agency's Web site.
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Imperial Palace Nijubashi Bridge. It is one of Tokyo's symbols. Behind the bridge, you can see Fushimi Turret. This picture was taken on a different day and not while we were crossing the bridge.866 views
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10:25 am: Clearing out the crowd. We were promptly herded to the exit to make room for the next horde of people waiting to see the Emperor who appeared two more times that day.852 views
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Kyuden Totei plaza784 views
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Filled on our right770 views
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Good location734 views
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9:43 am: Almost front and center705 views
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9:40 am: Inside the Imperial Palace. This is called the Kyudentotei. It is a large plaza in front of the palace.688 views
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Line behind679 views
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The center is filled up first. The center is in front of the balcony where the Imperial family will appear. Thus, the earlier you go, the better chance of you standing in front of the balcony.656 views
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9:31 am: Crossing the famous Nijubashi Bridge. It turned out to be a completely modern bridge, no sqeaking or anything. 二重橋655 views
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In Japanese, the Imperial Palace is called "Kokyo" (皇居). This term begun to be used from 1948. Until then, it was called "Kyujo" (meaning palace castle 宮城)from the time Emperor Meiji took up residence.652 views
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Main gate648 views
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Fushimi Turret. This view of the turret can only be had when you cross the bridge. I never knew what it really looked like until this day. 伏見櫓647 views
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Body inspection up ahead. They frisked the body and also used a metal detector as well. I had to explain that the hump in my pants pocket was a wallet and cell phone. He believed me since I have an honest-looking face.613 views1 comments
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Entrance in 2007. 東京駅八重洲中央口586 views
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Out of the main gate. Everything was very orderly, no pushing nor shoving.569 views
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Maids to greet you567 views
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Bag checkpoint ahead. They inspected all our bags. Note that they do not allow any drinks (not even water) to be taken into the palace. You will have to dump it in the trash can they provide.553 views
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Nakamon Gate to Imperial Palace 中門549 views
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9:38 am: Crossing the second bridge. The first Nijubashi Bridge, which we crossed first, is in the distance. Nijubashi means double bridge. 二重橋548 views
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9:33 am: Behind us on Nijubashi Bridge. 二重橋546 views
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Welcome to Akihabara! (Or Akiba for short.) Japan and Tokyo's largest cluster of electronics shops.546 views
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Behind us. At the very rear below the trees, there is a slightly elevated platform where the news media can take photos. You can see many tripods set up. That's how they are able to photograph the Emperor with the flags waving well below the balcony.545 views
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Tokyo Anime Center, Akihabara545 views
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9:57 am: Filled on our left. The entire place was full by 10 am. Quite a few foreigners were present as well. Rightists with large flags were also there.536 views
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Left view from Nijubashi Bridge. Everyone knows what the Nijubashi Bridge looks like from outside. Finally, we see what it looks like from the bridge. 二重橋527 views
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8:40 am: Bag check521 views
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8:37 am: We crossed the street to enter Imperial Palace grounds517 views
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Entrance to Hibiya Park near the Imperial Palace and Ginze. One of Tokyo's most centrally-located parks. Free admission.497 views
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Big expressive eyes.496 views
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9:20 am: Long line behind. If it's a sunny day, it's sunburn time. We waited here for over 30 min.492 views
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Filling up the plaza491 views
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Cosplayer teenager posing on the road.490 views
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Right view from Nijubashi Bridge. In the distance, you can see another parallel bridge which leads directly into the inner grounds of the palace. We will cross that bridge too. There is also the castle-like structure called the Fushimi Turret.489 views
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Yasukuni Shrine's main torii during Mitama Matsuri482 views
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9:35 am: Walking toward the second bridge. We walked up a slight slope to reach the second, parallel bridge. The Fushimi Turret is in the background.480 views
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People behind fill up the rest of the plaza475 views
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Nijubashi Bridge straight ahead!464 views
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Old Tokyo Station sign on the Yaesu side (old Daimaru Dept. Store).464 views
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8:43 am: Passed body check and walking to waiting line. After seeing these coned lanes, I was glad that I went early. I don't know if all these lanes were later filled with people, but probably yes.456 views
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9:28 am: Finally walking toward Nijubashi Bridge. There were a lot of men in trench coats gazing at the crowd.442 views
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Both the Marunouchi and Yaesu sides have three main entrances/exits at the north (Kita-guchi), center (Chuo-guchi), and south (Minami-guchi) ends. Tokyo Station platform sign436 views
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Entrance. The entrance gate is 22 meters tall and 19 meters wide.427 views
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Walking toward the second bridge425 views
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This crow was unafraid of humans. It was right in front of me and seemed to wait for food.420 views
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Approaching the entrance near Nijubashi Bridge399 views
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Old Tokyo Station, Marunouchi side. On the left end is the North Entrance under a dome roof, and on the right end is the South Entrance also under a dome roof. Both dome roofs were damaged during World War II, and were repaired with slat-style roofs.399 views
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Lining up in line 1392 views
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Fushimi Turret as seen from Nijubashi Bridge. Edo Castle was first built by Ota Dokan (太田道灌) in 1457 when Tokyo/Edo was still a small fishing village. Ota Dokan is thus regarded as one of Tokyo's forefathers. 伏見櫓391 views
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Getting closer to the bridge385 views
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Chidorigafuchi lit up at night.385 views
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Merging with another line up ahead373 views
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Nijubashi Bridge, the symbol of the Imperial Palace and Tokyo. One of Japan's most famous bridges. There is another bridge behind this one. 二重橋368 views
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Fujimi Turret, Edo Castle 富士見櫓364 views
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Nebuta float and haneto dancers. Also see the video at YouTube.355 viewsMitama Mtasuri at Yasukuni Shrine.
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The maid costume is all the rage in Japan, for several years now.343 views
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Chidorigafuchi Moat is one of Tokyo's most scenic spots for cherry blossoms. As soon as you exit Kudanshita Station (Tozai and Hanzomon Line), the cherries unfold right before your eyes.341 views
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School uniform336 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Entrance 東京駅八重洲中央口改札331 views
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Chidorigafuchi with the roof of Budokan visible.323 views
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Tokyo Station, red brick building. The large center entrance also has a dome, but it is not used. The center entrance for the public is off to the left side (very small). 赤レンガビル320 views
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Here's one reason for the crowd...317 views
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Otemon Gate, Edo Castle's main gate. 大手門316 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi side. This side faces the Imperial Palace and the Otemachi business district.308 views
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More Chidorigafuchi photos here307 views
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Many life-size costumed characters on display.307 views
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Yasukuni Shrine, Haiden hall. After the Class-A war criminals (such as Hideki Tojo) were enshrined here, the late Emperor Hirohito (Showa) never worshipped here again. 拝殿306 views
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Map of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace306 views
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They are happy to pose...306 views
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My video of Hie Shrine setsubun on Feb. 3, 2011.306 views
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Yasukuni Shrine is Japan's most prominent shrine for the war dead. Near Kudanshita Station on the Tozai Subway Line. This is the first giant torii305 views
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Yodobashi-Akiba at night303 views
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Yodobashi-Akiba, the largest store in Akihabara. Major camera, computer, and electronics store.301 views
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Foundation of castle tower or donjon. In 1657, there was a great fire in Edo and a stray ember set the castle tower on fire and destroyed it only 19 years after it was built. It was never rebuilt. 天守台300 views
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I slipped in and joined the crowd.298 views
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Passage to Yaesu side from Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Entrance294 views
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Tokyo Anime Center288 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi North Entrance dome in 2007.287 views
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Entrance to Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen tracks.283 views
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Sanno torii gate and the West entrance. Escalator on the right. This torii style is unique to Hie Shrines. The shrine is nearest to Tameike-Sanno Station on the Ginza and Nanboku subway lines. 山王鳥居282 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi South Entrance 東京駅丸の内南口278 views
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Stairs to exit the platform.277 views
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A miniskirted pair275 views
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Train ticket machines271 views
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And another one. Young pretty/cute girls in costume pass out flyers, but end up being street models for amateur photographers who have no girlfriends to shoot.268 views
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Neputa closeup266 views
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Flower float, Sanno Matsuri266 views
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Coming out of Akihabara Station265 views
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Inside Tokyo Station's Nihonbashi Entrance, completely different from before. Starbucks on the right.264 views
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National Diet of Japan 国会議事堂263 views
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Tokyo Station Tokaido Shinkansen Yaesu Central Entrance 東京駅新幹線八重洲中央口262 views
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Title of work: "Corolle Liberty" by Valerio Festi261 viewsThe artist is Italian.
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Tokyo Station Yaesu North Entrance is where long-distance buses drop you off. (Not a boarding bus stop.) The Yaesu South Entrance is where you board long-distance buses.261 views
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Inside Don Quixote, Akihabara store260 views
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Crown Prince Hiro, Emperor Akihito, and Empress Michiko behind bulletproof glass on the veranda of the Chowaden Hall on the Emperor's Birthday. See more [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=158]photos of the Emperor's birthday[/url259 views
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Inside Radio Center, where many teens (and future electronics engineers) bought their parts to build their first radio or motor or whatever.259 views
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Santa suit appears in Dec.258 views
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Heavyweight judo Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii (石井 慧) was also at Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, 2009. He was very kind and signed autographs, shook hands, and took photos with a lot of people.257 views
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Tokyo Station Shinkansen Yaesu South Entrance247 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu South Entrance 東京駅八重洲南口247 views
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Tokyo Station Tokaido shinkansen platform244 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu North Entrance passage to Marunouchi side244 views
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Display case of dolls and cells244 views
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Opened in 1914, Tokyo Station is Japan's main train station and has been undergoing major renovations. The red brick station building on the Marunouchi side has been restored with the original roof domes.244 views
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Yasukuni Shrine, Torii and Haiden hall243 views
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Twin towers on Yaesu side overlook the red brick building.243 views
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Going to Tokaido shinkansen tracks.242 views
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One stall in Radio Center.241 views
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Maids, the costume rage in Japan for several years already.241 views
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About the former park manager's office.241 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi Central Exit240 views
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Tokyo Station Tokaido shinkansen platform with signs in English for departing trains.239 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi Central Entrance238 views
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Shinkansen trains238 views
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Crowd from Kudanshita Station237 views
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Entrance to Tokaido shinkansen tracks. 新幹線236 views
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Near JR Akihabara Station is a new building called Akihabara UDX (Crossfield). On the 4th floor is this Tokyo Anime Center which has anime displays, a theater, and voice acting recording studio. Free admission.236 views
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Pikachu, Astro Boy, Doraemon235 views
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Hie Shrine's Sanno Matsuri Jinko-sai Procession in front of Imperial Palace.233 views
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The Marunouchi side has the classic red brick building, and the Yaesu side has a modern building housing Daimaru Dept. Store. Tokyo Station sign at Marunouchi entrance232 views
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Center of red brick building, what should be the central entrance.231 views
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Shinkansen ticket office231 views
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Chidorigafuchi cherry blossoms are also lit up at night.230 views
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Tokyo Station Underground Marunouchi Central Entrance229 views
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Straight black hair is pretty too.229 views
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Fastest shinkansen train, Nozomi. Also see the shinkansen video at YouTube.228 views
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In front of Tokyo Station Yaesu Entrance227 views
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The Imperial Palace's Chowaden Hall where formal banquets and meetings are held. This modern complex was built in 1968. In front is the Kyuden Totei plaza 長和殿、宮殿 東庭225 views
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Sign says "No street performances allowed."225 views
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Maids attract much attention so they are used as living billboards for stores and whatever needs to be advertised in Akihabara.221 views
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Children dressed as tekomai, Sanno Festival.220 views
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Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Entrance 東京駅 日本橋口219 views
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Area in front of Tokyo Station, Marunouchi side218 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Entrance in 2007. 東京駅丸の内北口218 views
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Straw ring and Hie Jinja Shrine's Shaden Worship Hall. 社殿218 views
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Chidorigafuchi 千鳥ヶ淵217 views
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Tokyo Station's old Yaesu Entrance (Daimaru Dept. Store) and new North Tower.216 views
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Shinkansen ticket machines for today's trains.214 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi South Entrance213 views
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Parish members wait for the portable shrines to arrive. The paper lanterns are written with the names of the parish.210 views
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JR Akihabara Station210 views
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Here's a cutie trying to gather attention.210 views
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Shinkansen Yaesu North Entrance 東京駅新幹線八重洲北口209 views
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Inside a Yamanote Line train.209 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi South Exit207 views
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Hie Shrine Sanno Matsuri206 views
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Adding to the dignity of the shrine is a monkey show.205 views
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Keihin-Tohoku Line205 views
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Welcome!204 views
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A mikoshi passes by Tatsumi Turret of the Imperial Palace durng the Sanno Matsuri Jinko-sai.203 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Entrance in 2007. 東京駅八重洲中央口202 views
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Yamanote Line platform202 views
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Going down the main drag (Chuo-dori) of Akihabara.202 views
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Fushimi Turret. This is what you see when you see Nijubashi Bridge. No one lives in this building. The Emperor's actual residence is not visible from the outside. 伏見櫓200 views
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Tokyo Station Gallery entrance on left, and the Chuo-guchi central entrance's small canopy at the center.200 views
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Tokyo Station Tokaido shinkansen tracks200 views
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Signs point you to the shinkansen tracks.200 views
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Always a crowd in front of JR Akihabara Station200 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Entrance199 views
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Main drag of Akihabara199 views
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Cherry blossoms and moat198 views
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At one end of the Chowaden is Kitakuruma-yose entrance for Japanese dignitaries. 北車寄197 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Entrance underground passage to Otemachi Station and locomotive wheels. Behind it is a room for smokers.197 views
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Former park manager's office.197 views
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Inside Yushukan war museum. Impressive, but its version of Japanese war history is skewed. No exhibit on the Pearl Harbor attack either. 遊就館196 views
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Space teen?196 views
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Inside Yushukan war museum: Photos of the war deceased. Look carefully and you may find photos of Hideki Tojo and co.195 views
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Tokyo Station, Marunouchi Central Entrance. What should be the station's largest entrance is like a mouse hole and easily missed.195 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Entrance (Daimaru Dept. Store) and North Tower 東京駅八重洲195 views
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The procession passes by Tatsumi Turret as it leaves the Imperial Palace.195 views
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Train bridge to Akihabara Station195 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu South Entrance 東京駅八重洲南口194 views
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Coin-operated lockers コインロッカー194 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu North Entrance194 views
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Tokyo Station Central corridor193 views
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Under the train bridge is "Radio Center," a cluster of many little stalls selling electronic parts.193 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Entrance192 views
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Horrendous line of people from Kudanshita Station inching their way to the cherry blossoms.191 viewsTip: You don't need to stand in this line. Just walk on the right toward the blossoms and keep walking on the side street parallel to the blossoms. You will soon find a way to enter the park.
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慰霊の泉190 views
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Crossing Nijubashi Bridge to enter the Seimon Gate. 正門190 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu South Entrance 東京駅八重洲南口190 views
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The ever-popular maid outfit.190 views
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Sakura190 views
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Roof of Budokan189 views
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Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Entrance 東京駅 日本橋口189 views
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Many more women work on trains.189 views
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The Emperor and Empress appear on the veranda of this building on his birthday (Dec. 23) and Jan. 2. Well-wishers wave flags in the Kyuden Totei plaza. Also see the video at YouTube.188 views
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Inside Tokyo Station Yaesu North Entrance188 views
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Street singer in front of JR Akihabara Station's new Central entrance. A cute face and miniskirt really help to gather a crowd.187 views
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Japanese flag and Fujimi Turret186 views
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The problem is that the police patrol the main drag to expel these street performers. It is not allowed. It would be the Japanese police to try and kill Japan's street culture.186 views
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Anime film186 views
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The Sanno Matsuri Festival is one of Japan's Big Three Festivals and one of Tokyo's Big Three Festivals held in mid-June during several days. 185 viewsThe main highlight is the Jinko-sai Procession held every two years. The 600-meter long procession consists of about 500 people parading through central Tokyo near the National Diet, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, and Ginza. It includes three portable shrines, carriages, and flower floats. Various events are also held at Hie Shrine which holds the festival. Jinko-sai Procession left Hie Shrine at 8 am on June 11, 2004. Before noon, they approach the Imperial Palace. 山王まつり神幸祭
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Blue ponytails185 views
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Food stands184 views
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Large and small electronics shops line the main drag on both sides.184 views
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183 views
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Train bridge183 views
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View from Nijubashi Bridge. The public can cross the bridge on the Emperor's Birthday (Dec. 23) and Jan. 2 for New Year's.182 views
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Fujimi Turret. Since Edo Castle had lost its castle tower which was never rebuilt, this turret served the functions of a castle tower. 富士見櫓182 views
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Concourse182 views
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Silver hair182 views
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5:34 pm: Entrance in sight180 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi South Entrance in 2007. 東京駅丸の内南口179 views
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Yasukuni Shrine during the Mitama Matsuri before dark.178 views
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Waiting for a shinkansen train.178 views
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Markings on train platform for standing in line to board.178 views
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Shinkansen ticket office. Faster to buy tickets at the ticket machine.177 views
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Stairs and escalator to Yamanote Line platform177 views
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They sing on the street to advertise something, usually a night club where they appear.177 views
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Her setup is simple. A portable and battery-powered amplifier connected to a microphone. The amp is on a luggage cart. When the police comes, she can pack up and leave within 5 sec.177 views
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Goldilocks?176 views
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Floating lanterns in Chidorigafuchi moat.176 views
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Long line to enter the cherry blossom path...174 viewsI did not stand in this line.
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Tokyo Station Hotel and Marunouchi South Entrance in 2007 before renovations.173 views
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Yamanote Line. Also see the video at YouTube.173 views
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Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Entrance172 views
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Redhead in school uniform172 views
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Pretty at night with all the lanterns in the Chidorigafuchi moat.172 views
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171 views
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