I know I went on about how I don’t plan things when I’m on vacation, and how I’m all fly by the seat of my pants and “planning things isn’t fun”, but I didn’t realise how gigantic Tokyo is. And how much there is to see. And just how quickly 9 days can fly by – especially when 2 of those days are eaten by travel.
After walking around and seeing a few things on our first day, we realised that time was going to blow by. So we made a list of Shit That Looks Cool, and made loose plans around it.
Afuri is a well known ramen place that’s famous for its cold Yuzu Shio ramen: cold ramen soup with noodles, pork, marinated egg, and a giant dollop of cold, jellied, yuzu fruit. It was definitely different, and I’m not usually one for jellied fruit being ANYWHERE near my meat soup, but after the first few bites, I was sold. It was a great combination of sweet and salty, and I ate the entire bowl without feeling bloated and full.
We took a longer wander through Harajuku, which was basically people, people, people, everywhere. There were interesting shops and more delicious crepe stands than you’d expect for a single street.
We scrambled through Takeshita Street and wandered through the rest of Harajuku, which was mostly high end shopping, dining, and a random shrine and zen garden.
We left the garden and kept wandering, toward Ueno and the museums. If you like walking, Tokyo is for you. The public transport is great, but there’s much more to see if you’re on foot. Unfortunately for me, I chose to wear a pair of sneakers this day that look very cool, but definitely weren’t broken in. And by the end of the day I had 2 giant blisters on my toes, by our last day I had blisters on 7 toes and on one my heels. Womp womp.
We didn’t ride a bullet train, but we did spend some time in the subway. Most of the maps were also in English, so it was easy to get around. And it was especially easy for me to get around, because Joel was my navigator. Sweeeeeeet.
When we got to the Museum, we saw some kind of carnival with tents and music and a big crowd. It turned out to be the Pakistan & Japan Friendship Festival. Alrighty, then! There were Japanese and Pakistani food vendors, live musicians, and probably a lot more, but I can’t read Japanese.
The National Museum is huge! We spent a few hours looking through the exhibits. There was everything from swords, pottery, painting, calligraphy scrolls, to Buddha statutes, kimonos, photography and Samurai uniforms and saddlery. I took about 6,000 photos (when I was allowed to, they’re really strict. We saw a few museum employees wave down tourists and watched as they deleted photos from their cameras). I probably could have stayed there all day.
We decided on a little hole in the wall restaurant that had the best fake food displays. The staff didn’t speak much English, but I had Yakisoba that was off the charts.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more Japan!