Thursday, September 7, 2017

One Full Day in Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market, Shibuya, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shinjuku Garden

Last October, we got chance to travel to Japan on our way back to Indonesia for family reunion. We spent 4 nights in Tokyo but only got 1 full day when we got to explore Tokyo Metropolitan. The other days we took a day trip to Mount Fuji Area and traveled to and from other parts of Japan: Kyoto and Osaka.
We requested a Japanese volunteer guide a few months before and made appointment with him to meet us at the hotel and guide us around Tokyo that day. We chose which places to visit; he just help us to navigate around Tokyo and answer our questions. If you don't have a lot of time, we highly recommend this service. They are volunteer so they don't charge anything but we do have to cover his cost of transportation and food.
Places we visit in Tokyo:
1. Tsukiji Fish Port
It would take us a long time if we don't have our Japanese friend helping us the navigate the complex Tokyo metro system and how to get in the fish market.
 Inside the fish market:
 Fresh Seafood every where we look:

Next to the fish market were fruits and vegetables market

These fruits cost a lot more than sushi. I miss calculated those grapes I thought it cost $2.50 but $25 so we savored every single bite, little by little. The grapes were very sweet but it still hurt having to pay that much. 

 The moment that they have been waiting for: eating fresh sushi at the fish market.
 The aftermath. The sushi in Japan cost a lot less and taste way better than the one in California.
On our way to the next stop, we spot Tokyo Tower, which looks like Eiffel Tower in Paris. It's quite expensive to get up there so we just took its picture from a far. 

2. Next stop: Shibuya famous crossing, known to be the busiest intersection in the world

 We just have to experience it ourselves.
Found the Hachiko's statue. Read about it or watch the Hachiko's movie first before you visit so you are familiar with the story.

There are lots of shopping malls in Shibuya but we are not into shopping so off we go to the next stop: 3. Meiji Jingu Shrine, hidden inside a forest in the middle of Tokyo. It doesn't like we were in the middle of the busy city.
 Beautiful surrounding:


We enjoyed a nice, serene walk to the shrine, except when the boys interrupted us with their infamous: "Are we there yet?" questions.

After a loooong walk; we reached Temizuya, a place where the Japanese clean/ purify themselves before entering the shrine. Our Japanese guide told us that tourists are not expected to wash or pray just be respectful: no running around or talking loudly.

The prayers boards, where visitors can buy wooden blocks and write down their prayers:rayers boards, where visitors can buy wooden blocks and write down their prayers:

Since we were there on Saturday, we were able to spot Japanese wedding and Japanese families visiting the shrine in their traditional clothing. We were told they were there for child dedication.

We didn't see the whole ceremony, we just saw them went pass through us then they went inside the shrine. After Meiji, we went to get some Pablo Cheesecake

Afterward, we said good bye to our kind guide then took a taxi as he suggested to 4. Shinjiku Gyoen Garden. Like most places in Japan, the park was clean and peaceful.

There were many locals enjoying a picnic in the park before it closes at 4 PM.

 We arrived a little after 3 PM, so we didn't get chance to explore the whole park but enough to sit down at the grass with the locals, watch the fishes, and took some pictures. 
Originally, we planned to go a free observatory at Tokyo Goverment Metropolitan Building but  the boys were tired, hungry, and need to go to the rest room so we went to the shopping center nearby the garden instead. After that we went to the famous Ichiran Ramen

We have to wait in line for about 45 minutes before we got to the ordering machine:

 then we waited again to be seated
 Finally we got our seat and dinner was served immediately. It was very good. Definitely worth the wait.
  On the way back to our hotel at night

We passed the robot restaurant. Our friend, Yunita already warned us not to eat there because the food wasn't great and the show was weird so we just took picture with the robot at the front at the restaurant for free. :)
 That conclude our one full day in Tokyo. Let me know in the comment if you have any question.

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