Two travel posts in a row? Pat me on the back, and thank the smart-alecky anon who asked if s/he was going to wait another year for these photos to resurface. Joke’s on you! If you missed the first part of this Tokyo segment, click here. Ahem.
And on the third day, we walked ourselves to the point of passing out. We went to a lot of places, but I wasn’t able to take many photos as I was navigating! Somehow, I ended up with almost twice as much pictures as the last post. To be fair, I have photographs of Day 4 and the Tokyo half of Day 5, aka our last day, here, too.
Because we went to so many places, I’ll be briefly describing each part so you kind of know what’s going on. I might as well be helpful, yes? Just a little.
Asakusa & Senso-ji: We had no idea where to go, really, so the previous night, we asked Steph what she thought we could do and she made us a route. We skipped over Tokyo Sky Tree, which we could see from this area anyway. Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, and to get there from the station, you enter a gate type thing that’s lined with stalls, kind of like a market. Steph said that it was sort of a tradition to wave the incense smoke from one of the offering places towards you, kind of like welcoming good fortune (for health and wealth~). Asakusa reminded me a little of Kyoto, near the Gion area.
Ueno Park, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Ameyoko Market: Then she suggested we make our way to Ueno Park, where there are a lot of nature-type places and museums, as well as the Ameyoko Market nearby. We ended up seeing our first cherry blossom tree! In full bloom, too—lucky. We weren’t really interested in the special exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, so we ended up just taking pictures around that area and passed by the Ameyoko Market.
I dropped my LC-A+ somewhere on the walk back, and I think it’s still working. As far as the red light is telling me anyway.
Shibuya, Omote-Sando, Harajuku: OK, so I don’t know why we did this to ourselves, but when we got to Shibuya—after visiting Hachiko’s statue and the infamous crosswalk—we ended up walking all the way to Harajuku. That’s a pretty substantial walk, especially if you came from 2 other areas already. We passed by Omote-Sando, which is teeming with people, and actually got to see some strangely-dressed folk, who were absent from the other places in Tokyo we visited.
We actually even headed over to Akihabara, which is known for its electronics, but went away mostly empty handed. My dad and I both got powerbanks (which I had been meaning to get for the longest time), though. I think my brother got to buy some camera stuff, too.
Tsukiji Market & Daiwa-zushi: The next morning, we woke up extra early to get some sushi for breakfast. There is a famous sushi place, Dai, that has a 2 to 3 hour average queue. We did not want to deal with that, so we ended up going a few stalls down to Daiwa, which is apparently run by Dai’s son. The queue was about 45 minutes, and I got served the only piece of salmon I ever truly loved. My brother is not a fan of sushi, so he skipped on it, but the rest of us each got a set. If you’re a light eater/not a fan of sushi, I would suggest against it. The Japanese are pretty sensitive with food and leftovers, so we felt extra pressure to consume all of our sushi (no problem for me and my dad, since we both love seafood/food in general). Plus, there was a growing line outside, so we felt we had to hurry up. I mean, that’s what I felt like anyway, but no one was rushing us, I promise. Just that weird guilt again.
This was the first time I ate raw squid and a raw prawn, but this is absolutely the best sushi meal I’ve ever had. This was also my introduction to uni or sea urchin roe, WHICH IS ACTUALLY MADE FROM SEA URCHIN GONADS, DID YOU KNOW? I didn’t, which made eating it a lot easier!
Roppongi & National Art Center: We went to Ikebukuro for the KitKat Chocolatory—which was not worth the visit—and then headed to Roppongi to visit the National Art Center. As usual, photos of the exhibits were not allowed, so these are mostly shots of the buildings and the interiors, which I liked more than the show we paid to see, anyway.
Minami Aoyama, A to Z Cafe, Omote-Sando, Shibuya & Toritake: We headed to the Omote-Sando area again, around Minami Aoyama, to visit A to Z Café, which was designed by Yoshitomo Nara and Graf. It was pretty cute, but mostly because of the Nara stuff. I don’t know about the rest of it! The coffee was average, but we ended up eating elsewhere (where the food was great, though not traditional Japanese). On the hunt for yakitori, we headed back to Shibuya with Steph (after a brief stop over at Ginza), who knew of a yakitori place there called Toritake for dinner.
Tsukiji area, Hima-rikyu Gardens, Shinkansen to Osaka: On our last day in Tokyo, we wanted to explore more before checking out, so we went around Tsukiji Market (where my camera was useless) and walked over to the near-ish Hima-rikyu Gardens. Entrance is ¥300 per person. Since we got there about half an hour before we had to check out, we just spent a few minutes looking around. The yellow flowers are rapeseed. After checking out, we caught a 2:40 (I think?) bullet train to Osaka, which took about 4 hours.
Originally posted April 2014.
Original URL: http://nothingspaces.com/blog/2014/04/tokyo-briefly-part-ii/