We flew from Hong Kong to Tokyo Narita Airport on the 3rd January, landed around 3.30pm, collected our rail passes and headed to the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo where we are staying, needless to say, everything worked efficiently and well and we arrived and checked in to the room about 6pm with our bellies already craving something distinctly Japanese.
The food in Hong Kong was good, but it wasn’t great, and I just had a feeling that things were only going to get better. And it did.
We immediately set off to the Asakusa district, home of the famous Sensō-ji Temple, had a walk around the beautiful old town back streets and started looking for some food.
Unfortunately for us, it was the final day of the new year bank holiday in Japan, which meant every restaurant was full and closing early, so it took us over an hour of walking before we finally came across a place willing to feed our food cravings. The food was great, a place that specialised in Yakitori skewers, grilled meats and vegetables on skewers of all different kinds. So after we had put away several skewers including Chicken wrapped in basil, Liver, Japanese Leeks, Chicken with wasabi and mushrooms, as well as a bowl of rice with chicken and egg (and a raw yolk on top) and a beer, we left loving the food and already loving Japan.
We knew relatively little about the ‘tourist sights’ of Tokyo, so the next morning we did a little research and decided to head to the Shinjuku district for the day (after washing our clothes, apparently wearing boxer shorts for multiple days is frowned upon by my wife).
Again we went on the almost arrogantly efficient subway system, arrived across the city in 20 minutes and headed for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where there is an observation deck in each of the two towers on the 45th floor to look out sat the skyline over Tokyo. The only word to describe this skyline is ‘vast’, from every angle there are high-rise buildings, parks and traffic as far as the eye can see, which is quite far from the 45th floor.
We walked from there through an insanely busy Temple; the Meiji Shrine, which is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Then we went on to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for some relax time. The gardens were stunning, a photographer’s dream I assume, but we didn’t have one of them, so it was down to me to try to take some good pictures, realistically I think you could take good pictures of the natural beauty of this place with a Polaroid.
Tokyo is proving itself to be the food heaven I always dreamed of before we even knew what soba noodles or Yakitori were. It is just in another league to most other food we’ve ever eaten, and the general consensus from back home that Japan is very expensive seems to be not entirely correct.
A breakfast of soba noodles in broth with a side dish of rice with many toppings is a great way to set up for the day; Staci had tempura prawns, I had pork cutlet and scrambled eggs, both were incredible, and about 600 Yen (£4) each.
Then later came my foodies dream of Japan, a bucket-list experience for me, Sushi in a local’s restaurant in Tokyo. What the place was called, I have no idea, but the food that we ate was incredible. 11 plates of Sushi (2 pieces on each) with some green tea is just one of the finest meals both of us have ever eaten, although Stac still isn’t convinced about raw fish. Tuna, Avocado Salmon, Crab paste, cooked Salmon and cheese, Abalone, Red Sea Bream and more, with soy sauce and ginger… heaven!
The price of such amazing food; about £15 total. A great way to end the second day in Tokyo, and I’m sure with more amazing food yet to come. The glass of red was from a bar next door doing happy hour at £1.40 a drink. Tokyo isn’t as expensive as we thought.