We really only had one full day in Tokyo as we were making our way to Bali. It’s a short stop, but we were determined to make the most of it. I always find myself waking up extremely early on my first morning in Japan. This time was no exception. This works out great, it’s nice to get an early start when going into the city.
We headed first for Tsukiji Market, the world famous fish market in Tokyo. This is a great place to visit, and get breakfast. There are numerous food stalls and restaurants all over Tsukiji. You can get almost anything you want to eat. We were in search of hot noodles, which is a very typical breakfast food in Japan, but you can find sushi, grilled meats and seafood, pastries and sweets, and coffee cafes in the market. Whatever you are in the mood for. The market is up and bustling early in the morning.
The market is usually very busy with tourists near the front entrance, creating long lines for the food stalls in that area. Today was no different, so we walked through the market for a little while before finding a small restaurant with no line. We ordered our food from the vending machine outside of the front door and were able to get our breakfast quickly.
We stood at the counter and slurped hot soba noodles in broth and enjoyed some mixed tempura. Everything was delicious. After eating, we headed into the wholesaler section of the fish market where the daily catch is sold to restauranteurs and individuals. There are so many different types of seafood available in Tsukiji. Some of it i have seen before, lots of it left me guessing what it may be. I’m sure that it all tastes delicious when prepared the right way.
Before leaving the market we stopped and grabbed a couple of snacks. Black Sesame Ice cream, and a grilled scallop shell full of scallops, crab claw, clams and uni (sea urchin). Yum!
After leaving the market we walked our way through the city to Hibiya Park. This park is right in the middle of the city and is a nice place to take a stroll and relax by the park’s many ponds. You can watch the koi swim around while the turtles bathe themselves in sunlight. With a belly full of seafood and noodles it feelt good to get off of my feet for awhile.
After spending some time in the park we walked down to the Tokyo Cruise water bus depot in Hamarikyu Gardens. Access to Hamarikyu costs 300 yen, it is worth it to see the gardens, and it gives you access to the water bus stop.
There are several daily water buses that travel up and down the Sumida river. It is a good way to relax and enjoy the sights of the city. The bus takes about an hour to get to Asakusa which is the final stop. During the ride there is information about the bridges and buildings that the waterbus passes playing over the loudspeaker in a few different languages. You’ll get a little bit of a history lesson along the ride. There is also a snack bar on board that serves snacks, and drinks. I had a couple of Asahi beer on draft. This is a great way to travel, and for 780 yen per passenger, very affordable.
Upon arriving at Asakusa we headed over to the temple in the area, Senso Ji. It was loaded with tourists and way too crowded to walk around, so we opted not to go inside. Instead we headed to lunch at Sushi Go round which is right near the waterbus station. This little place has pre made sushi spinning around on a conveyor belt that travels around the sushi bar.
Since all of the food is pre-prepared, there is no menu, all we had to do was grab what looked good off of the conveyor belt and enjoy. I requested some cold sake from one of the waiters, but that was the only staff interaction that we had. There were lots of good nigiri options, most of them were fresh, except for a few that appeared to have been on the belt for too long. My favorite item was the fatty tuna, the fish was some of the best i had ever eaten anywhere. Super fresh and flavorful. And at only 380 Yen for 2 pieces, one of the better deals i have seen. The food at Sushi Go Round was not too exciting, but a solid sushi choice at a great price point!
After i ate pretty much all of the fatty tuna in the house, it was time to head back to our room at Hotel Emion. It was a great day in Tokyo. We didn’t see it all, that’s impossible to do in one day, but the fish market, some good noodles, and sushi are a few must do things while in the city. I’ll be back soon to spend some more time exploring this great city. The next day we had an early flight booked for Bali. Time to pack and get ready for some tropical sun!