Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tokyo, Japan

Early arrival and a 4pm check in at the hotel meant no chance of a nap after flying over night and losing a nights sleep, but hey we were in Tokyo! After a coffee pit stop we headed into central Tokyo, Japan rail pass (essential to buy at home if ever visiting Japan) in hand off we went. The lack of English everywhere does make it hard to figure out what things are and directions but the people of the city were very helpful, even if they do talk to you in Japanese like you understand every single word! First we took in the sights of the Imperial Palace which is absolutely massive, the actual palace is quite secluded but you get a good glimpse. We plan to come back on a nicer day to take it all in! We ended up in a busy restaurant for some lunch of Tempura Chicken and rice, huge meal for not very much money! Being quite tired we made our way back towards our hotel to check in and freshen up!... Which actually ended up with falling asleep and not making it out again! Day 2: We had picked up a guidebook with all the must see's and do's in Tokyo. It was very helpful and made some suggestions that we followed. One of which was the Asakusa district- known for its long shopping streets of souvenir stalls and food stands. The main street, Nakamise leads down to the huge temple Sensoji, which is a very popular Buddhist temple. Aswell as visiting the temple, we sampled giant Japanese rice crackers, deep fried bun filled with custard and one filled with red bean paste, and deep fried ball of pork and onions. All pretty tasty!
In our guidebook there was a recommendation for a restaurant that was famous for its Tempura- we nearly missed it because it was so tucked away. The name was in Japanese so we took a guess from the location and the queue outside! We ate huge Tempura prawns served on rice, soaked in soy sauce- so yummy! Accompanied by the complimentary green tea as is customary in Japan.
Tsujiki Fish Market- so many toursits visit this market you would think it is designed for that but on the contrary. It is a wholesale fish market used for business purposes. You can witness the Tuna Auction at 5am if you get up in time and get your name on the list but just visiting the market itself is definitley worth it!
First sampling of authentic Japanese Udon noodles at a restaurant called Tsurutanton in Shinjuku (where we were staying), known as one of the best places to eat them. Personally i find them too thick and a bit worm like but the chicken soup in which they were submerged was tasty! We were lucky enough to be with Manami, who is a friend of my sisters, she is from the Chiba district of Tokyo. It was great to have someone who could communicate fully with the staff to ensure we got the most delicious dishes and also of course great to meet her! Lovely evening. Off to Kyoto tomorrow...

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