Hello again! Today is a continuation of yesterdays’ travel post, where I’ll be talking about the second part of our stay in Tokyo.
We started Day 4 in Asakusa, another district of Tokyo. It is well-known for the Senso-Ji Temple, as you can gather by all of the tourists gathered here even though it was really early and drizzling out.
Up next was Ueno Park, which is situated near the Akihabara area. I thought of it as a mini Central Park, because like Central Park, it has its own zoo and some museums around it. The day we visited Ueno Park was a rainy one, so we avoided a bit of the rain by going to the National Museum of Nature and Science, which was inside the park. The museum ended up being a lot better than we both expected!
The afternoon was spent in Akihabara, which is nerd central! I don’t mean that in a bad way. Akihabara is a district that is famous for Electric Town, which is an area once known for selling electronics. Now that those are more readily available (via the internet and stores such as Yodabashi Camera, Japan’s version of Best Buy), the district has been transformed into an area with hundreds of stores and billboards dedicated to anime and manga (Japanese comic books). We walked into a building, and all nine levels of the building were dedicated to anime collection figures, trading cards, posters, and other anime collectible items. I’m not into anime, but it was really interesting to browse through all of it.
This area was also particularly dense with stores that were completely dedicated to claw machines – there might be a building where both levels are filled with claw machine after claw machine. We didn’t really want to haul anything home that would take up space in our luggage, so we skipped on these. If you’ve ever wanted to visit a maid cafe, Akihabara is most likely where you would find some.
Honestly, I can’t remember Day 5 very well – I didn’t take many pictures on this day, so we must have just walked around doing some shopping. We began the day by visiting Shinjuku Gyo-en, which is a park close to where we stayed. I think this quite a well-known park, and while it was beautiful, I think it would have been a lot better in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming, in the summer when the flower beds are full, or in the fall when the trees turn red and orange. Even though we went in September, the trees don’t really turn colour in Tokyo until late October, so we were still seeing lots of green, but no flowers.
After the garden, we headed off to see the Tokyo Tower. Doesn’t it look like a red Eiffel Tower? We didn’t go up all the way, but we were still interested in seeing the landmark in person.
Day 6 was a random mish-mash of activities; we ended up exploring quite a few districts on this day. In the morning, we visited Koishikawa Korakuen, which was a park recommended by Stashy. Although I feel like Ueno Park is more well-known, we both enjoyed Koishikawa Korakuen more because it was a lot more scenic and lush. The only downside was that it’s right next to Tokyo Dome, which is a venue that holds a lot of concerts and events. The scenery was slightly destroyed by the blaring music!
After the park, we headed off to Ginza, which is Tokyo’s high-end district. Their new Ginza Six opened just last year, and it’s a shopping complex filled with luxury brands. We saw it from the outside, but we didn’t go in because I was not planning on purchasing anything I couldn’t afford!
Our next stop was the Mori Digital Art Museum, which we had pre-purchased tickets for before leaving Canada.
Mori Digital Art Museum
The Mori Digital Art Museum is an immersive museum that blends art with technology. It is really what the name says – a digital art museum where all the rooms are completely dark, but lit up by digital artwork lighting up the walls and floor, often paired with music or relaxing sounds. You can’t tell in the photo above because it just looks like a wallpapered room, but they call the art “borderless” because the artwork is fluid, is able to interact with visitors, and can move from room to room. This museum was a highlight for me! A lot of people say that it’s not worth it and attracts too many people trying to get Instagram photos, and in a way, it’s true – we saw some of the worst behavior here of Instagrammers being selfish! But if you can get past that, the museum is really enjoyable. The rooms either use screens or mirrored walls on all sides so create an illusion that the room is infinite. It’s really hard to describe or show in photos, so I ended up taking a lot of videos that I can’t share. The video gives you a better idea of what being in the museum is like, and this article describes the different exhibit.
This was the day we were leaving Japan, but our flight wasn’t until 2 in the afternoon so we still had the morning to explore. We ended up going to Tsukiji Fish Market, which we had meant to visit the day before (a Monday), but it turned out to be a national holiday so the market was closed. It was rather rushed, but at least we got to see most of what we wanted to see.
Tsukiji Fish Market
If you read any travel book or watch travel shows about Tokyo, Tsukiji Fish Market comes highly recommended on the list of things to see. It is the biggest fish market in the world! After 83 years of operating in the Tsukiji area, they actually moved the fish market this month (October), so we were really lucky that we got an opportunity to see it in its original location.
The fish market is famous for their daily auctions where buyers will come and bid on massive tuna. While the people who partake in this auction mean business, it has made the market a huge tourist attraction. Tourists will wake up and arrive at the market in the middle of the night watch this auction take place. In the past, tourists would always get in the way of business, so they now only let 120 a day view the auction. As interesting as the auction sounds, we had no interest in watching it (how would YOU feel if someone came and watched you do your job? lol) but we did want to go and get fresh sushi for breakfast.
There are two really popular restaurants in the outer market, Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi, but in order to get into either restaurant without having to wait too long, you have to line up at 5am before they are even open. As much as we wanted good sushi, we weren’t willing to wake up that early for it. We figured that any restaurant within the market would still be pretty amazing because it’s fresh, high-quality fish. We arrived at the market just after 8am, and walked around for a bit looking for a place to eat, before settling on one whose menu appealed to both of us. My husband got a plate with assorted seafood and I got one with assorted tuna, and we shared our plates. The staff were so friendly even though they probably deal with tourists all day, and the fish was so buttery and fresh – my mouth is watering just looking at photos!
After our sushi breakfast, we explored the market a little bit more to see what it had to offer. There was so much fresh seafood that you could eat right there – massive oysters bigger than the palm of my hand, fried fish products, and crab legs galore!
And that’s a wrap on the posts about our Japan travels! I would highly recommend Japan as a place to visit; it’s clean, the people are nice, and it’s full of culture and history, but also modern entertainment. Japan was a bucket list place for my husband but not for me, but after coming back from this trip, I would gladly go back to visit other cities.