We slept in a little bit on day 3. After going at quite the pace the previous day, we got ready, packed up from our (first) hotel, left our bags at the front desk, and headed out the double glass sliding doors to arrive at our first destination around 9am: the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. The not-unpleasant seafood tinged air hit us at the train station and only became stronger as we walked a few blocks down the road- following the crowd- to emerge on a busy corner of shops and wafting smells. The market itself was a narrow and crowded maze of different food stalls, kitchen-ware shops, and raw fish counters. Trying to make my way through one of the streets was akin to trying to leave the Magic Kingdom after the fireworks: sardine-like with a bit of bumping into others. Not terrible, though. The day was early and warm, and we were eager to try some of the famous street food.
The food did not disappoint. From custard mochi topped with a fresh strawberry (and the best I’ve ever had- I bought another later with red bean paste filling), to steamed dumplings and corn + fish fillets on a stick, everything we had was tasty and inexpensive. A seafood + red/green pepper concoction on a stick was the only thing I didn’t care for, but that’s because I didn’t know exactly what it was and was a bit put off by its soft texture. We ate some tamagoyaki (sweet rolled omelette) as we watched the crowds cycle through the maze, under the bright sun. Hope bought a fresh green tea ice cream cone, I bought grilled scallops on a stick. While trying to eat said scallops for brunch, I facetimed my family, who were preparing to head to sleep. Still weird. We walked past some outer stalls where I was complimented on my “sushi cats” shirt (which I thought fitting for a seafood-centric morning) and passed a giant pot of deceivingly delicious-smelling pot of offal stew. We didn’t try that.
My dad is into bonsai (miniature crafted trees, a practice with roots in Japan) and I was wanting to buy something bonsai related from Japan, so I found a store 15 minutes away on foot, and off we went for the Ginza shopping district. The walking seemed like more than 15 minutes because of the increasing heat of the day, but we arrived to the shop, only slightly melted. Unfortunately, there was a sign on the front which announced it was closed. Disappointed, we stood by the front, figuring out our next plans when the shop door was opened by a lady who explained to us (in English! I was so relieved, I wasn’t even sure of how to figure out what to purchase- I’m no bonsai aficionado) that the store was closed for lunch but we were welcome to come in and shop. She was extremely kind and generous with her knowledge and time, explained the difference between various pots, pruning tools, and books, and helped me pick out a couple of things which were perfect. After we wrapped up at the store and told her where we were heading next, she was so kind and hailed a taxi for us to the Tokyo Tower.
I’m not a fan of heights. Hope convinced me to go to the first level of the tower and I’m so glad she did- the views were amazing, and it was enclosed, which made it completely tolerable and relaxing, with the sound of classical, almost Epcot-like music in the background. The only scary part was when the elevator- which had plenty of windows- was ascending and descending and we were treated to a open/terrifying view of the space around us. After taking in the views, buying souvenirs, and mailing postcards, we made our way down a few stairwells to the elevator and landed on solid ground a few minutes later. With our hotel location and directions pulled up on the GPS, we waited at a street corner for our turn to cross (also where we had seen people dressed as Mario Kart characters zipping around on go-karts) and went that way. After finding a vending machine and purchasing peach Coca-Cola and lemon tea, stumbling upon another temple, and passing a Subway shop, we arrived at the train station and made our way back to the hotel. During rush hour. In Tokyo. We were sardined into a train- luckily only for one stop, though.
At Vie La France- the lovely pastry shop by our train station- we picked up curry filled rolls (SO good) and another melon bread, if my memory serves correctly, which we ate in the hotel lobby before setting off on our hour+ train adventure to another part of the city, where we would spend the second half of our trip. Tokyo has these yellow, textured square pavers embedded in their sidewalks called tactile paving, which help the visually impaired navigate around the city (different patterns and orientations alert the individual to a change from street to sidewalk or stairs, etc.), but goodness they’re incredibly difficult to wheel suitcases over and around quickly. It’s also difficult to stand up on a crowded train with a large suitcase and smaller, carry-on suitcase without falling over. It can be done, though, and thankfully some seats opened up on the train so we were able to sit for a while.
After a train switch, when a very friendly station employee noted our confused, out of place faces walked us to the correct transfer and directed us to number 11 to Maihama station. We waited for the train, embarked, rode for a bit more, disembarked, and stumbled upon a gloriously large Tokyo Disneyland 35th anniversary wall-sized poster. After capturing the necessary pictures by the wall, we made our way down too many flights of stairs, down a long, long, sidewalk to our hotel, saw a Disney monorail, checked in to the hotel, and crashed on the less than soft beds. We somewhat lovingly dubbed them rocks. Dining options nearby were limited, so we headed to the Ikspiari shopping area (basically a third party, smaller Disney Springs), and ate at a Hawaiian themed fast food place, which had mediocre burgers and an excellent guava soft drink. We perused the Disney Store, walked back to the hotel, got cleaned up, set our alarms for 5-something in the morning, and fell asleep, incredibly excited for what was in store for us the next day: Tokyo Disneyland.
Enjoy the images.
The train system was only slightly confusing. 😉
Steamed pork bun. So good.
Corn/fish patty. Also amazing.
The holy grail of my Tokyo food experience. Fresh mochi + strawberry. Unbelievably good.
Not a fan of this thing.
Tamagoyaki, a sweet rolled omelette. Delicious.
I had to document the glorious-ness of this.
Picking out a bonsai pot.
Tokyo Tower views.
People were able to stand on the clear section. I didn’t.
A delicious tea drink.
A cute presumably water access cover.
A train station. I loved the light. Tokyo’s light was different: bright, clear, absolutely stunning. Also note the tactile pavings.
Authentic American food. 😉
I am excited to dive into day 4 and relive all the happy Disney memories from that day. Stay tuned, friends! There’s a lot of magic coming to the blog, soon.
Quote of the day: “A great way to learn about your country is to leave it.”