Japan – Tokyo part 2

21 April. Headed back to Tokyo via the Nozomi shinkansen. It was a fast and uneventful ride.

shinkansen

After checking in at Grand Arc Hanzomon, near the Imperial Palace, we headed out for coffee and shopping for the sis in law. She wasn’t able to find her piggy onesies in the end.

We had some nice views in the hotel. It was a traditional room with tatamis and futons which they laid down at 5pm. Drunk till midnight in the room.

view from Grand Arc Hanzomon
view from Grand Arc Hanzomon

22 April. And woke up with a bad hangover. It got better after a shower and plenty of water to drink. Little did I know that the husband’s hangover was just about to start.

Wine is bad almost anywhere we went in Japan. You’re better off with sake.

Seen off the sis in law at Narita airport and whilst we wait for the checkin time at the next hotel, we snoozed off at the airport. We were planning to leave our bags at Tokyo station, but the coin lockers were out of operation as a security measure for Obama’s visit.

Left the airport and checked in at Ginza Creston hotel near Tsukiji. It is a bit of a walk to the nearest metro, in a slightly more residential area of town. We were high up at the 37th floor in this retro-looking hotel. It must have been quite grand when it was first built.

Dinner was kaiseki at the hotel. It was good food, but not memorable, save for the presentation.

23 April. I was not about to leave Tokyo without having sushi for breakfast. So we walked to Tsukiji fish market and got to see another part of the outer market we haven’t been the first time.

There was already a lot of places closed at 9am. Lots of empty restaurants, too, with their own barkers. We settled for this sushi counter which already had some customers. The wasabi blended ok in some, but got a bit stronger in others. This is still sushi better than what you can find in London, but Sushi Ina’s was still better – maybe it was the more flavourful rice or the option to not have wasabi.

sushi counter at tsukiji market
sushi counter at tsukiji market

From breakfast we headed out to Tokyo station to explore the subterranean malls. And to look for the famous Ramen Street – and area dedicated to only ramen, comprised of 8 of the well-known ramen chains.

We settled for Ikaruga and headed for the vending machine to order. Great that they have pictures on the machine. But still we managed to make a mistake and pressed the wrong button – we were trying to get an Asahi beer, but we ended up ordering an extra rice 😦 Service was prompt. And the place rang out with the staff’s almost incessant greetings. The ramen was full of flavour but I found it too rich that I had a hard time finishing it. The husband’s ramen was too salty.

ikaruga ramen

Day was spent exploring the malls.

We passed up on dinner.

24 April. Originally planned on going to Nikko, but I was already tired and it would be more than 2 hours away, and with images of more temples in store – I wasn’t motivated to go.

So off to nearby Odaiba instead.

We got a day pass for the Yurikamome line, an automated transit system much like the DLR in London.

We went to see the rainbow bridge from Daiba Park – this place reminds me of sentosa island in Singapore – very well-manicured, too perfect, and completely unnatural.

rainbow bridge as seen from Odaiba

Headed to the National Museum of Emerging Science/Miraikan and found it closed for the day and got a keychain for the trouble (turns out Obama was going there on the same day, bad timing). We walked over to Diver City to see the giant gundam and find lunch.

gundam

Crossed over to Venus Fort to get on the train again and stop at Tokyo Big Sight.

Tokyo Big sight

Time to head back to pack our bags.

25 April. Checked out at 7am. Arrived at Narita via N’EX at 9. Looked for sweets to take home and had a hurried tempura lunch.

13 hours to LHR and nothing to look forward to. surprised that Virgin Atlantic’s bad entertainment system did not give me headaches. Heathrow express and a black cab. we’re home. sort of.

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