After our brief pit stop at Tokyo DisneySea, we were ready to continue exploring Tokyo. Our well-rested legs (Did I mention our step count was at 26,000 for DisneySea?!) were ready to start the day at Tsukiji Fish Market followed by a short hop over to Ginza for sushi then off to Asakusa for Kaminarimon and Sensoji Temple. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part 1 – Japan Trip Planning

Part 2 – LAS Centurion Lounge & LAS-SFO via United 737 First

Part 3 – SFO Centurion Lounge & SFO-HND via United 777 Economy

Part 4 – Tokyo Tales Day 1 – Yasukuni, Tsukemen, Ueno Park & Ikebukuro

Part 5 – Tokyo Tales Day 2 – Tokyo DisneySea

Part 6 – Tokyo Tales Day 3 – Tsukiji, Ginza & Asakusa

Part 7 – Tokyo Tales Day 4 – Harajuku, Shinjuku Gyoen & Cherry Blossom goodness

Part 8 – Tokyo Tales Day 5 – Nikko, Nikko, and more Nikko

Part 9 – Lounging and shopping at NRT

Part 10 – NRT-LAX-LAS via United 787 Business

 

Tsukiji Fish Market

A short hop on the Tokyo Metro dropped us off right at Tsukiji Station. It was a quick walk from there until it was quite obvious that we were at the market…

 

 

Tsukiji Fish Market is separated into an inner and outer market. The inner market is the site of the famous tuna auctions but that requires you to arrive hours before the crack of dawn to wait. There is a cap of people they allow into the auctions. Otherwise, you can spend your time here walking around the outer market. It is filled with grocery stands, stand-up ramen counters, street food stands, and much more! One of my favorite things to do is walk through all of the alleys of Tsukiji while snacking on a fresh and hot block of tamago yaki! (Japanese egg omelette block)

 

 

We were lucky to see a live demonstration at one of the tamago stands on how these delicious treats are made. It was quite impressive how much work and precision can go into making a block of egg. The end result..

 

sweet, eggy, deliciousness for only 100 yen!

sweet, eggy, deliciousness for only 100 yen!

 

That’s right it was only 100 yen! Lines move pretty quickly too so it was a cheap and delicious mid morning snack. However, after braving through all of the crowds at Tsukiji, I was ready for my own sushi adventure!  So we headed off to Ginza to check out a popular sushi restaurant recommended by a couple of friends of mine!

 

Before we move on, here’s a couple pics that I took during my previous trip of the actual market:

 

Ginza – Umegaoka Sushi no Midori

Being situated pretty closely together, we decided to walk over from Tsukiji to Ginza/our lunch spot. It took about 10-15 minutes and we were soon in a big shopping/business district of Tokyo.

 

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With some recommendation from friends, we chose to have lunch at Umegaoka Sushi no Midori. We arrived around 30 minutes after the restaurant opened and there was quite a crowd already staked out already. There is a machine next to the door where you add your name to the queue and you receive a ticket number. Then the waiting begins…

 

Hurry up and call our number!

Hurry up and call our number!

 

There is hot tea and water available for those that are waiting, which I thought was a nice touch especially since the weather was chilly. After what seemed to be an eternity, we were beckoned in and sat at the sushi bar/counter. And the magic begun..

 

 

After asking for an English menu, it was a little overwhelming how many options there were. Ultimately, me and Ryan H. chose sushi sets while Thomas K. (who doesn’t eat seafood of any kind, sorry) chose some vegetable rolls to sustain him for a bit. Our sets cost 2800Y (~$25USD) which is quite a steal and great value. Warning: sushi porn to follow. Not for the empty of stomach. (click to enlarge/enjoy)

 

 

It was a delightful meal and really enjoyable sitting front and center, watching the chef prepare the entire platter. The unagi (eel) was particularly good and probably the best eel I’ve ever had! It was a great meal and I would recommend this place for anyone visiting Tokyo for a good value and delicious sushi meal!

 

Asakusa

After stuffing my face with more sushi than I care to count, it was time to walk off some of that delicious meal. Next stop was heading to Asakusa for the famous Sensoji Temple. Located right in front of Sensoji is Nakamise, quite literally ‘middle shop’, which is a collection or row of shops that sell a variety of souvenirs, trinkets and snacks. And boy, I think that it is safe to say that walking around Nakamise was one of the most crowded moments during all of my Tokyo trip.

 

Asakusa

Trying to navigate around hoards of people

Fun trinkets to give as gifts

Fun trinkets to give as gifts

 

You can only imagine how hard it was squeezing through people and trying to shop around at the same time. Even though we had just eaten, there’s always room for dessert! I found an ice cream stand with a long line (it must be worth waiting for, right?) and decided to grab a soft cream cone.

 

Thomas K. grabbed a taiyaki - cream-filled cake in the meantime

Thomas K. grabbed a taiyaki – cream-filled cake in the meantime

 

After maneuvering around folks and way too many shoulder bumps, we finally made it to Sensoji Temple! By the crowds of people throughout the temple grounds, Sensoji is definitely one of Tokyo’s most popular temples. Before entering the main hall, we burned some incense sticks near the entrance. It’s customary (supposedly) to let the blessed smoke wash over you. So I decided to embrace the custom and…

 

Asakusa

let the smoke (and good fortune hopefully) wash all over me.

 

It’s also customary to pray and give a monetary offering in the main worship hall. Since there were throngs of people crowding around the basin of donations, people would simply toss their donations over the crowd’s heads and hopefully make it into the basin. We also followed suit and quickly walked away in case we inadvertently hit someone. Ooops!

 

 

We actually did Sensoji backwards. Traditionally, you start at Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) and walk through Nakamise and then end up at Sensoji. Because of this, we made a quick stop at Kaminarimon before we departed.

 

Super super kawaii (cute) eh?

Look at those two being super super kawaii (cute) eh?

 

Our final stop in the area was the Asakusa Tourist Information Center. It’s located right across the street from Kaminarimon and has an open-air observation deck and cafe on the top floor. And it’s free! You are able to get some amazing views of Sensoji as well as the rest of Tokyo!

 

Asakusa

Kaminarimon –> Nakamise –> Sensoji

 

Asakusa

Sweeping panoramic views from the Information Center rooftop! (click to enlarge)

 

And with that ends another day in Tokyo. Our next installment will finally bring us back to the whole point of being in Japan in March, cherry blossoms! We finish our time in Tokyo with an extended visit to Shinjuku Gyoen for sakura and so much more!