A continuation of our Kanazawa trip.
After our short Kanazawa trip, we took the train from Kanazawa to Tokyo. We only had 1 night, so we couldn’t do a whole lot, but we were able to enjoy a few things in the Tokyo Station area and surroundings. I guess since I have been to Tokyo a lot, I usually change up what I see and do each time to keep it interesting. This is just one small example of Tokyo.
We arrived at Tokyo Station after the 2.5 hour train ride from Kanazawa. From there we transferred lines for only 1 stop to Shin Nihonbashi; our hotel, Tokyu Stays, was a short walk from there. The hotel was actually very spacious for Tokyo! It also had a lot of nice amenities (there was even a washing machine in the room for those of you on long trips), so I would highly recommend this hotel for all these reasons. The only down side to this hotel is the breakfast buffet was not very good, though it was cheap (500yen)– I would not get it again, and just head towards the station for a decent and cheap breakfast.
We were finally about to get out and explore by 5pm, but since the tourist sites were mostly closing, we had to settle mostly for walking around. We walked outside the Imperial Palace area (in the Kokyo gaien 皇居外苑), by the large number of pine trees until we were hungry for dinner.
At this point, we decided a cheap “western-style” dinner would be best since I am pretty sure my MIL was getting a little tired of Japanese foods. We took her to a typical family restaurant, Saizeriya, which we don’t have in Okinawa (it was also my husband’s first time at this restaurant chain). It is sort of a cheap Italian-y diner food, so nothing gourmet or exciting, but a nice place to sit and get some decent food, somewhat similar to Gusto and Joyfull restaurants. The biggest bonus is the price– we left there for less than 2000yen for 3 people. And most important, everyone was satisfied.
On the way back to the hotel we passed through Tokyo Station’s Character street~~ kawaii everywhere. This is definitely a good place for finding some of your favorite character goods. I, of course, went to the Moomin and Aggressive Ritsuko shops.
The next morning, we ate our disappointing hotel breakfast and went to Asakusa 浅草 to Senso-ji (shrine) 浅草寺. I have been here a few times, and morning is by far the best. None of the hawkers are open and only a few tourists visit this time of day, so it is quiet and peaceful. My husband showed MIL how to draw fortunes the traditional way.
I enjoyed the ukiyo-e 浮世絵 painted shutters (“picture scrolls”) on the small retail shops outside the shrine area in the Nakamise shopping district. These can only be enjoyed while the shops are closed– so after 8pm and before about 10 am. Honestly, I could have spent a lot more time here just looking at all of these! But we were headed nearby towards Kappabashi dougugai かっぱ橋道具街, a.k.a. “Kitchen Town,” in Taito.
As we walked, Tokyo Sky Tree was easily visible in the distance. My husband and MIL enjoyed all the various kitchen wares, knives, ceramics, and such, while I mostly looked for all the kappa. I have to say, this area had everything and anything kitchen/restaurant related, even the fake food (食品サンプル shokuhin sanpuru). It was pretty fun, and some stuff was reasonably priced so if you are interested in these things it is definitely worth the trip.
At this point, it was time to shuttle off to the airport, going our separate ways. I made sure to purchase some limited edition Tokyo Banana (Banana Shake Flavor) omiyage for my coworkers.