With just 1 day in Tokyo, an enormous city bursting with places and flavours and jaw-dropping contrasts, simply how much can someone really see?
It was the unenviable task that Sam, my guide, was handed when he came across me at Asakusa View Hotel on a sunny Sunday morning.
I’ve been to Tokyo before, briefly and several years ago. I stayed in a hostel in Asakusa, plus in my short period of time I saw the Tajiku seafood market, Shibuya crossing, the temples of Asakusa while the Imperial Palace East Garden.
I became hoping that this time I’d have the ability to experience a few different places, as well as perhaps get a feel for the neighborhood side of Tokyo.
We started at Kappabashi, a road near to Asakusa that’s known for its kitchenware.
The stores along this street, which has the mascot of a kappa (or water sprite) when catered in order to wholesale consumers. Restauranteurs and chefs would come here to get top-quality knives, kitchenware and tableware.
Today it is still a shopping destination for the advantages, but tourists and locals alike can come in order to find quality kitchen items for actually reasonable prices.
We spent an hour or so browsing shark epidermis wasabi graters, walls of chopsticks, pans and pots (the objective of which I wasn’t too yes about) and also resin food replica kits.
It was a fascinating insight into the cooking traditions of Japan, though it did make me pretty hungry!
Sushi making experience
Fortunately our next stop was lunch, therefore we jumped on subway and travelled throughout the city to Hassan restaurant in Roppongi, in which I’d be using a sushi making course.
I adore sushi, so how better to learn to make it than in Tokyo?
After having a fast introduction toward history of sushi, I happened to be put up at a beautifully set dining table with a couple of delicious looking ingredients, and Executive Chef Hiroyuki Ogini started to walk me through the process within our private dining area.
First up was sushi rolls. You understand the ones…rice filled up with cucumber or fish or something pickled, all rolled up in a seaweed strip. I’d made these before, although somehow We still discovered it surely tricky.
The cook was done in about 0.3 seconds, and there I was nevertheless training which way up my nori (seaweed) is going. Anyhow, i acquired there fundamentally, and had been willing to proceed to my favourite: sashimi.
This was just a little easier: a small ball of rice, a slice of fresh fish plus dab of wasabi all pushed together so they really look a bit boat-shaped. The tricky part had been making them all look even, and presenting them regarding the platter (the flower petals assisted make it look fancier!).
Just as if that has beenn’t enough food, the cook additionally brought mini cookers to my dining table and I also watched the sukiyaki (thin strips of meat, mushrooms and veg in a tasty broth) bubbling away in front of me personally.
There was clearly miso soup, plum wine plus bowl with only one, natural, cracked egg inside it. I eyed the egg suspiciously when I sipped my miso soup, and attempted to look brave when I ended up being told it had been to dip the sukiyaki meat in.
Not just one to shy away from trying culturally appropriate meals, I waited until my meat ended up being cooked after which dipped it to the mixed-up natural egg. The trick is not to take into account it excessively, since it in fact did taste pretty fabulous.
Still, the highlight for me personally was the sashimi. The seafood had been therefore fresh it practically dissolved within my lips and also the dash of wasabi provided it a satisfying kick. As well as the best part? We made it myself!
Before I left, the chef offered me by having a certification to show that i’ve first-class sushi abilities, plus beautifully printed scarf that could most likely look better in a framework than in my home.
Stomach complete, it absolutely was time for you to keep exploring Tokyo.
Our next stop, another subway ride away, was Ameya Yokocho, a conventional shopping street that was once famous for candy (the title means candy store alley), and also for the trading of black market goods after World War II.
Nowadays site visitors can haggle for fresh produce, grocery products, clothing and accessories.
The street, which runs between Ueno station and Okachimachi section had been crowded and loud, with sellers yelling their best discounts on locals who had been hunting for deals. I recognised several things, like fish, and bags of small dried crabs that are eaten being a crunchy treat, and colourful good fresh fruit.
Other items required explanation, like piles of fresh seaweed, and big yellow chunks of cod roe.
Before we left, we stopped to enjoy fresh, hot manju, a kind of sponge cake having a sweet bean paste in the middle.
From Ameya Yokocho we strolled to Ueno Park, a sprawling general public green area in the centre of Tokyo, house to temples, shrines, cherry trees that burst into clouds of red in spring, museums, a concert hall and also a zoo.
Sunlight was establishing even as we explored alongside families, partners, people walking their dogs and worshippers visiting the park’s temples and shrine.
We stopped at Kiyomizu Kannon Temple, Shinobazu Pond and Shinobazu-no-ike Bentendo Temple, and also discovered a cherry tree that has been beginning to sprout some soft red blossoms.
Since the sun went down and the sky switched from blue up to a pastel orange, we hopped on the subway again to return to Asakusa.
The Asakusa section of Tokyo is full of history and tradition. Although you could imagine Tokyo to be all gleaming, contemporary high-rises and quirky new fashion, this part for the town is the complete opposite.
Asakusa’s main attraction could be the ancient Buddhist temple Senso-ji. To get to the temple, you have to walk through the enormous and eye-catching Kaminarimon (Thunder) Gate, filled with a giant red paper lantern.
As soon as you’ve stepped through this gate you reach Nakamise-dori, a 250 metre stretch of beautifully embellished stores selling food and souvenirs leading one to the next gate, called Hozomon (Treasure home) Gate.
Here lies the primary hall in addition to a beautiful five-story pagoda, and here’s where individuals will make to burn incense, pray, and get their fortune at O-mikuji.
For a donation of 100 yen, you’ll receive your fortune, translated into English, from a of the many small compartments lining the primary way of the hall.
Dinner at Kamiya Bar
After admiring the stunning red structures in the evening light, it had been time for dinner.
We discovered a table at Kamiya Bar, a popular watering opening dating back to to 1800, that’s casual and just a little bit raucous. The specialty here is Denky Bran (electric brandy), a powerful mixture of gin, brandy and wine, nonetheless they additionally offer a big selection of meals and drinks.
1 day in Tokyo
By the end of one day in Tokyo, I felt like I’d seen a week’s worth of amazing sights, noises and flavours. Kappabashi and Ameya Yokocho gave me a style of neighborhood flavours and customs, Ueno Park was a stunning way to begin to see the town at a slower rate, Asakusa is every thing I expected from conventional Japan, complete with kimono-clad ladies wandering around, and making sushi ended up being an experience I’ll never forget.
Definitely, there’s still plenty more to see and do in Tokyo, and to arrive at everything you’d require much more when compared to a day. However if there is a fast stopover, or you’re combining your visit to Tokyo with another destination in Japan, you’ll be surprised just how much you’ll pack into one day in the city!
Are you currently to Tokyo? The other places and experiences could you recommend?
Getting there: we flew with Japan Airlines direct from London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda, which took around 12 hours. It’s an extraordinary airline, with an unanticipated level of leg room, USB chargers and a truly tasty menu.
Where you can remain: Asakusa View resort is situated, with amazing views and comfortable rooms. It’s an ideal base for exploring as much of Tokyo as possible!
Thanks to Tokyo Metropolitan Government for inviting me to see and experience Tokyo!