Some More Glimpses from Tokyo

26 Apr

Here are some more highlights from Tokyo which didn’t quite make it in previous posts!

Sites:

Asakusa Temple

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20120425-161929.jpg Vendors at Asakusa: Grilled seafood on sticks // black sesame ice cream

We saw our first shiba inu there! So kawaii!! PS, this is the dog that we are getting when we come back.

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Cherry blossoms at Ueno Park

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Every Sunday, you can rent bicycles for free at the Imperial Palace. They close off a section of the roads so everyone can enjoy a car free ride. It was really so much fun. They have bikes of all sizes, including ones with baby carriers and even tandem bikes! I loved seeing families picking bikes together to go ride, and the Imperial Palace grounds is a lovely backdrop for such an activity.

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We went to a couple of Toyota permanent show rooms in Ikebukukro and Odaiba. It was really fun!

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20120427-083915.jpg Jerry’s next car // Jeannie’s next car

Tokyu Hands was one of my favorite chains in Japan. Think of Michaels, Joanns, Target, mini Home Depot, Ikea, etc all rolled into one! I was in heaven, we spent hours shopping at the various locations throughout Tokyo! Other chains I liked were Muji and Loft. Endless possibilities for shopping!

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Food:
We ate at Ippudo twice, it’s a famous ramen chain. The chains aren’t consistent though, at the Yoyogi chain you order via machine, and Ikebukuro you order via the old fashioned way. There’s a location in NYC which I heard can have waits up to 2 hours! Hopefully Ippudo will make it to the west coast, it was so tasty! I love me a perfectly soft boiled egg.

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Very simple tempura bowl and udon, also via machine. So efficient!

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One of my favorite things about Japan were the department store food courts that were usually located in the basement levels. We tried many of them, and found that we liked the Tokyu Food Show the best, it’s located at Shibuya Station. The department stores at Ginza were a bit too fancy for our tastes. Here’s a mystifying problem we had across all food basements though- there was virtually no seating anywhere, no one seemed to eat any of their boughten food! We just couldn’t figure it out. So we would end up circling around inside the building, in search of a random bench to sit on. Once we ate our take out sushi at deserted stairwell in front of the washrooms. Classy, we know!

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Jerry’s birthday dinner, we had really amazing wagyu beef cooked table side! So tasty!

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Tsukiji Fish Market round 1:
So on our first day in Tokyo, we had originally planned on taking advantage of jet lag to catch the tuna fish auction at Tsukiji Fish Market. Our plan was foiled by the fact that trains don’t start running until 5am…and the first round of auctions starts at 5:25am. We knew that folks started lining up 1-2 hours prior, but we didn’t really want to pay 3000 yen for a taxi from Shinjuku! We ended up arriving around 5:50am and standing in line for Sushi Dai instead (picture in previous post), and we walked through the fish market when it opened at 9am for the public. Yes, the line at Sushi Dai was 3 hours, but it was worth it. All this happened within 12 or so hours of landing in Tokyo!

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Tsukiji Fish Market round 2:
We switched hotels in Tokyo after coming back from Kyoto/Hakone and decided to stay in Ningyocho, not really a tourist area, but relatively close to Tsukiji. On the same morning as our 10:30am flight to Beijing, we woke up a little before 3am and walked to Tsukiji. Took us about a solid 40 minutes (it was actually a very nice walk, we were warm and comfortable!) and we arrived just in time to be second in line. Actually, we would have been first, but the couple that got there before us were jogging, they overtook us while we were about halfway there). In the next half hour more and more folks started lining up. If you’d like to go to the tuna auction we’d recommend you arrive no later than 2 hours before the start of the auction (there are two auctions, 5:25am and 5:50am, with only 60 people allowed in each). Also keep in mind the fish market closes on random Wednesdays and Sundays.

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With only four hours to go before our flight to Beijing, we opted to eat at Sushi Daiwa, which is next door to Sushi Dai. No lines and we were in and out in less than half an hour! The quality at Sushi Dai is noticeably better than Sushi Daiwa (the cuts are better and so is the rice), but we aren’t haters, the “worst” sushi from Tsukiji is better than the sushi we get back in the states!

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Ahh, we loved loved loved Japan. Would come back in a heartbeat!

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3 Responses to “Some More Glimpses from Tokyo”

  1. msluu April 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM #

    Jeannie, did you really write “boughten”? Hahaha. Next time I’m in NY I definitely will try Ippudho! I wish the wait wasn’t so long! You two are super cute on the tandem bike. 🙂

  2. Carrie May 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM #

    Hi guys! We are leaving for Japan in a week and reading this blog has got me really excited!! The tuna auction sounds awesome…what exactly is it? As one of the 60 people, do you just watch it, or do you actually have to buy tuna?

    Also, I’ve been to the Ippudo in NYC. Soooo good. I’ve never waited more than 45 minutes, so that’s better than 2 hours at least. However, just yesterday I went to Santouka Ramen in LA and for way cheaper, had comparable ramen to Ippudo… go figure!

    • Jerry May 8, 2012 at 8:22 AM #

      The tuna auction is worth seeing if you can find a reasonable means of transportation to get there before 4:30am. It’s a wholesale auction of the whole tuna fish, and the Japanese people then saw it up into pieces for further distribution. You wouldn’t be able to buy one even if you wanted to, so just bring your camera. After the auction, try to eat at sushi dai, also in the tsukiji fish market. Best sushi we’ve ever had!

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