Writing about: Family Travel, kids, places, food…

Category: Japan

Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower is rather iconic and we decide to do the tour up it as the day was so pretty and clear. It is 333 meters high and is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower – 3 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower.

And being bright red, it stands out.

From the top we had lovely views of the city and Mount Fuji in the distance (although not that clear).

Sight-Seeing in Tokyo

We did quite a bit of the sight-seeing spots around the city and generally it was decent weather. We were a bit shocked on day one as there was an unexpected snow fall right as we were arriving. Our clothing was rather ragamuffin as we were headed to S.E. Asia and the heat for a few months with Japan being the only cold spot. Charlotte had no coat and just a jumper so layered up with pink raincoat and I did have a puffer jacket thankfully.

We went to quite a few spots by easily taking Go which is the Uber-type app to call cars. Easy, clean, and fancy, and fast.

One of our first places to wander around was in the Imperial Castle Gardens. The famous cherry trees were not in bloom but the plum trees were and pretty. I also enjoyed seeing various citrus trees which was surprising with the snow.

Tokyo Station was in a lovely old building and hides the jam packed inside. Whole areas filled with restaurants and shops. Quite a maze.

We spent the day in a great museum complex including the Tokyo National Museum. Really recommend this one plus the others nearby in the park.

We also enjoyed the National Art Center as much for the incredible architecture as art space.

Our last half of the week was in Hamamatsucho and we enjoyed this area a lot. There were some fancy bakeries and fun places to eat that seemed much more for residents than tourists. We also discovered a couple of smaller parks that were peaceful although probably prettier after winter.

Shopping was experienced in Ginza Six and surrounding areas. And of course loads of eating because we were walking so much!

Japan Finally – the Food Post

Max has longed to go to Japan for a decade and we almost moved there in 2021 as I was offered a job but for various reasons, we just never made it until now.

We spent a week in Tokyo kind of getting our bearings on what I thought would be a more complicated country to get around in. I was wrong on that as it was really easy overall.

We stayed in two areas: Tsukiji and Hamamatsucho.

The first was next to what used to be the main market and still is an active fish market, but they moved the big tuna elsewhere. They did have some good-looking seafood for sale but with a tiny kitchen, we just ate out. There were loads of tiny restaurants around us and many we didn’t realize were a restaurant as they only opened at night or had limited signage.

Most of the sushi places around there have just a few seats; sometimes only 6 to 10 so you either just get lucky or book in advance. We hit a couple that had no menus (just a sheet of grainy pictures) only Japanese pricing up on the wall. That was interesting and of course nerve wracking as we didn’t want to order anything crazy or super expensive. But the chef was very kind and helpful and we mimed and used google translate to help.

This gives the prices of the sushi as it changes depending on market

We also had great ramen and tempura. I really like the bento boxes as well as eating a variety of bits and pieces is fun. I think we enjoyed all the food, even at times we were a tad unsure what we were eating. We did have some very squishy sea urchin sushi that neither Max nor I want to revisit and I’m not a fan of chawanmushi – steamed savory egg custard.

It can be hard to find restaurants surprisingly and we ended up in an office area where people were trying to get into places for lunch. We managed 3 seats at a counter for 10 and had sashimi bowls that were one of our best meals. It was very unassuming place on the ground floor of a high rise, and I could not say the name but wow delicious. This is the type of experience we seemed to have often.

This may not look fancy but wow was this meal amazing in taste

Some fun bits from Family Mart.

We also became fans of Family Mart. Do not visualize US convenience stores at all. These have delicious ready made meals and onigiri (rice with tuna in seaweed). There are whole YouTube videos about the joys of Family Mart!

Japan was a win and we are looking forward to going back and getting out of Tokyo to explore more.

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