Glimpses of Tokyo

Sure enough, we woke up. Thanks to the 2 alarms, plus 2 backup alarms, plus a snoozed one, we unlocked the “You didn’t oversleep” achievement!

We took our time to pack our backpack again, and went out to have breakfast… at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Before you ask, yes, we had breakfast chewing sushi, sushimi and other similar things… so much for our Italian background.

Before going we left our baggages in a locker at Shibuya Station: only 500 yen (~4.30€) for an entire day (24 hours). There are lockers in all the train station and are used by tourists as well as local people.

Free from our burden we made our way to Tsukiji: from Shibuja we took the Yamanote line to Shimbashi. From there we walked 15 minutes and got there.

Tsukiji outer fish market
Tsukiji is the biggest fish market in the world. People come here as early as 3 in the morning to bid on tunas, and more than 65 thousand people work here.

Just think about it: an average Italian city’s population works everyday in a fish market…

It is divided in two district: inner and outer market. The inner market is where the fish is sold in batches and the tourist are not allowed to enter until 10 AM. This is due to the fact that people walking around aimlessly may be dangerous for both themselves and the weird, totally safe “carts” that dwell in the area. The so called “turrets”.

Tsukiji three wheels cart
The outer market, on the other side, is open as early as the tuna bidding is over. It is basically a maze of narrow streets which run between shacks. Every shack is a small shop selling everything concerning fish, vegetables, fruit, dried food, and knives… I was so tempted to buy a personal forged and engraved one.

Ok. Back to food. We tried some delicacies while walking around the other market: first we got a couple of squid and octopus skewers, then we went for steamed dumplings.

Super tasty fried octopus and squid

Steamed dumlings
Then we saw some people lining outside a still closed sushi shop. We decided to line. Around 10AM it opened and we were allowed in. We ordered a combination of sushi, made just in front of us by a laughing, happy old man, and took a couple of plate from the conveyor belt.

Almost-alive-fresh sushi 🍣
When we felt satisfied we went out and kept walking.

After a while we encountered a little shrine on the east of the outer market.

Here Sara participated in the washing hand ceremony, and rang the bell wishing for something.

Small shire in Tsukiji
Soon after we went inside the inner market, being careful to not being run over by the “turrets”.

It is a true fish market, where fish is cut alive, made in pieces, boxed and sold. No place for weak of stomach.

Tsukiji Fish inner market
We didn’t spend too long here. The workers were already washing the tables and packing their stuff. No point in staying there too long.

We decided to visit Ueno park, as we read that the Sakura blossoming was still going on there. Well, it wasn’t a complete lie: we found two trees (in a entire park) with some pink petals on its branches. So much for full blossoming.

Firts blossomed sakura
Anyway, Sara looked enthusiatic. After all we came here for this, mainly.

Inside Ueno Park we went visiting the Toshogu Shrine, which was close to a Pagoda

Ueno Park Pagoda
Leaving the shrine we met a loud, huge, and friendly crow which landed on a lantern “Craacking” to the passerbys.

This fella here was bigger than a cat.
Going back to the park we found the second Sakura tree and asked someone to take us a picture (yuuu).

Picture under the Sakura
After this emotional Sakura adventure, we went to Asakusa. We decided to walk in the city instead of taking the metro, and we found some beautiful and characteristic views.

This intersection looked like a still image from an Anime
When we got close to Senso-ji we were so hungry that decided to have a cheat meal: melon pan with vanilla ice cream and a portion of caramelised apple pie. To be sure if they were tasty I had to try  both before handling them to Sara.

Melon pan and Apple pie
In Senso-ji we visited a Buddhist temple were we got a journal were to collect the stamps from all the temples we are going to meet during our journey.

Buddist Temple
Next to the Buddhist temple, stands the Senso-ji temple.

Senso-ji temple facade
Hanging at the entrance there is a huge lantern-like-thing.

Going east from the temple we walked through Nakamise, a street full of souvenirs and snack shops.

Last thing we visited today before living Tokyo was Shinjuku Gyoen. We should have come here before… This park was full of blossoming Sakura.

And not only those. Japanese garden, Taiwanese pavilion, ponds… It was beautiful.

Japanese Garden
Taiwanese pavilion
A duckload of Sakuras
We finally had what we came looking for.

Especially Sara…

Unfortunately we came here too late. The park close at 4PM so we were forced to leave.

We went back to Shibuja to collect our backpacks and had a coffee at Starbucks, with view on Shibuja crossing.

After 10 minutes of rest, we took the train to Kamakura, the next destination of our trip!


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