See the locations in Japan where the action of Hattori Hachi: Curse of the Diamond Daggers takes place!
SENSOJI TEMPLE, TOKYO
“I loved the temples we visited – especially Sensoji, which is the oldest in Tokyo. It’s still a place of worship and a magnet for Japanese tourists with its tiny streets lined with stalls selling snacks, gifts, souvenirs and good luck totems. The main feature is an incredibly impressive five-floor pagoda, and the temple’s main hall, where people were kneeling in prayer, or heading to one side to get their fortune told.”
“‘After you,’ Yazuki said, and looked out across the city. The nearest building was another high rise, nearly as tall as this one, but it was at least thirty metres away. The ground was about two hundred and fifty metres below. I was puzzled about what she wanted me to do. Surely she wasn’t expecting me to jump that far?
‘Did you bring hang-glider wings?’ I asked hopefully. She shook her head. I looked again – and then I saw it. The spider-silk high wire, strung between this building and the next...”
“Pachinko is a kind of gambling game, with machines that have hundreds of little steel balls in them, like you might find at the end of a pier or in an old-fashioned amusement arcade. Players buy plastic trays full of these balls and feed them into the machines where they whirl around and around and land in little holes that either pay out, or don’t. All you win, if you’re lucky, are thousands of these little steel balls which you then take to a strange little shop nearby that exchanges them for ornaments or toys or cigarettes or other trinkets.”
“I’d heard about these amazing shinkansen that travelled at over three hundred kilometres an hour. They look beautiful, with a nose just like the bullet that gives them their name. The long train follows on behind, an incredible piece of modern design and engineering. Mad Dog had his nose pressed to the window. ‘When do we get up to speed?’ he asked.
‘We already are,’ Yazuki smiled.”
TOKYO AND MOUNT FUJI
“There, looking breathtakingly majestic and utterly resplendent, was Mount Fuji. ‘Thirty-three minutes and eight seconds from Tokyo station!’ Olu shrieked. ‘And they said you never get to see it from top to bottom! Look, we can see all of it!’ The sun shone down, lighting it up, and it didn’t seem that far away. Olu checked his guidebook. ‘It’s fifty kilometres from here – it must be enormous!’ he exclaimed.”
“Madame Lotus Flower’s English was impeccable as she explained that we would spend the rest of the day being dressed in silk kimonos with shiny black wigs and the white face make-up that mark geishas out from everyone else.”
NAGASAKI PEACE PARK BRONZE STATUE
“I’d heard all about atomic bombs and how they’d been used to end the war, but standing there exactly at the spot one of them had landed was chilling and humbling beyond words. We wandered around the park, looking at the huge bronze statue, nearly ten metres tall, of a seated man with one arm raised, and the other arm stretched out to his side. His raised arm represents the threat of atomic weapons, while the outstretched one represents the desire for peace. I held both my arms out horizontally, wishing for peace in all directions. I looked round and saw that Neena was doing the same.
She smiled. ‘Think it might take more than this,’ she said.
‘Can’t hurt,’ I answered.”
NAGASAKI PEACE PARK
NAGASKI CABLE CAR
“The cable car was stationary in its lowest position. I pulled myself up on top of it. The place was deserted, which suited me perfectly. I stepped off the top of the carriage and started to walk up the thick steel wire that the car was suspended from. No one could see me all dressed in black, and yet I had a superb view of the city in the distance. To start with, I was only a few metres above the ground, but as the cable started to run up the side of the mountain, the drop suddenly increased to over a hundred metres. Up and up I climbed, sometimes having to crouch down and pull myself up the wire as it rose vertically, then managing to stand as the wire ran at a gentler angle, allowing me to walk on, step after careful step...”
“There must have been at least forty giant floats lined up down a side street and, finally, we understood why the festival was called ‘Dragon Boat’. Each float had a carved, wooden dragon’s head at the front and its own unique design making up the body of the float behind. Each one was covered in fairy lights, with at least ten people on it, dressed in amazing, colourful costumes. Loud music filled the air, with drums beating and horns blowing, and the cobbled streets overflowed with food stalls and life-sized paper lanterns in the shapes of animals – tigers, dogs, serpents, rabbits, all glowing from within...”
LIFE-SIZE LION LANTERN