Tokyo just keeps getting better and better, the food, the people we meet and the sights. How clean and efficient this place is will shock people even from western countries I believe, the streets are spotless, the metro and trains work seamlessly and everything is so easy to do, it feels ‘nice’. It feels comfortable. It feels like a holiday 🙂
It’s 6am, we’re feeling groggy, tired, and want to go back to sleep, but we can’t let ourselves, because today is the day we want to go the fish market. Ever since hearing a particular person’s account of the “greatest breakfast in the world” I’ve wanted to visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market and have Sushi at an ungodly hour in the morning.
It wasn’t exactly what I imagined it to be, there wasn’t nearly as much fresh fish being sold from market stalls as i assumed, and much more tourism than i expected. Naively i thought it would just be us and the locals having sushi for breakfast before work. But this is Tokyo, so even high levels of tourism mean it’s still only about 10% westerners and the rest a mix of Japanese and other East Asian Tourists.
The Sushi was outstanding, the Scallop Sashimi the star of the show for me. For Stac, who couldn’t really be described as a raw fish-lover, the eel on a stick was a winner. She’s a bit peculiar like that.
Later that day, we walked from the hotel to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, a huge museum detailing the history of Tokyo from the Edo period to now. The entrance fee to this huge impressive museum was a scandalous £4 each. I know, what a rip off 🙂
On the way, the Japanese ingenuity to create solutions for daily life (and not just high-tech toilets) was displayed by this car park with a lift system.
Shibuya was the next district on the list to be explored, with the world-famous Shibuya crossing, where all traffic stops while endless amounts of pedestrians cross from every direction, it’s quite a performance to watch, especially from higher up, see the time-lapse below to see it for yourself.
Then another of Tokyo’s high-tech solutions to lots of people, Sushi ordered on iPads and delivered by robotic conveyors, yes it’s as great as it sounds, and yes there are queues outside waiting to get in to the numerous branches of these places that have popped up around Tokyo. It’s not the greatest Sushi I have tasted here, but for around eighty pence per plate for most dishes, it’s fun and a great meal.
A more relaxed day was in order, so the plan was to go to a Michelin star restaurant we had found online for lunch, then just wander around the local parks. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, so we would have to return and queue up again tomorrow, we found another place close by, slurped down some noodles (the competitive slurping of the locals whilst eating noodles in a busy place is hilarious to me, disgusting to Stac, making it even more hilarious for me), and want for a leisurely stroll around the park, to see the Kumano shrine, and back up to the 45th floor of the Government building to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji which we will be seeing much closer very soon.
All the walking, about 8-10 miles per day since we set off, can build up quite the appetite, not that you’ve noticed, I’m sure. Takoyaki is small octopus balls, like a croquette, but with chunks of octopus in. A great snack, if you like octopus I guess.
If you’re entirely fed up with reading about food, look away now. I’m still not sure how we managed to fit three full meals in to an eight-hour walk round Tokyo, but a challenge is there to be achieved in my eyes. It started with Michelin Star Sardines, a 45 minute queue before it opened to eat at this place, a meal for two costing £11, simple but stunning cuisine.
Then, later on to a restaurant we had found the day before, for Mackerel cooked in sweet Sake. This was the best cooked fish in the world, I’m sure of it. And to finish, robot Sushi again, because, why not when you’re in Tokyo. A culinary tour of Tokyo in one day, costing a total of £31 for two people. But Japan is “so expensive” they say.
In between all this, we managed to fit in a ‘tour’ around the Imperial Palace. Or at least that’s what we were told it would be. The reason why I have ‘tour’ in inverted commas, is because I’m not sure if you can really class it as a tour when you never actually see the imperial palace and the entire ‘tour’s is conducted solely in Japanese.
It was just about the funniest thing we’ve ever witnessed, to us at least, maybe not for the other 150 or so other foreigners there who seemed utterly confused at this and just walked around some gardens for an hour listening to the Japanese guide shout things through a megaphone that none of us understood a word of.
By about 20 minutes in, we made up our own commentary about the “big rocks” and “not the imperial palace” buildings that we were seeing. I don’t think it was factually accurate, but it made our simple brains chuckle.
So, that was the end of Tokyo for us, a brilliant city, that we already want to return too, but on to even more amazing things for us, beginning with this bullet train, just taking us to the base of mount Fuji, you know, everyday stuff like that.