Friday, January 27, 2012

24 Hours in Tokyo

After a 4 day skication in Hakuba, we had 24hours to spare in Tokyo city itself before 'Home Sweet Home'. Got ourselves the 1-day pass on All Metro Line for 710YEN each, and we can travel unlimited times on ONLY the Metro Line. Note that there are many many lines in Tokyo.

Initial plan was to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction at an ungodly hour of 430am, we scrapped that idea in the end due to 1. Bad weather (snowing heavily the night before) 2. No train service that early and a taxi will cost upwards of 5,000YEN (Almost SGD100). So we decided to sleep in a little bit more in the comfort of Sheraton Miyako Hotel (redeemed FOC) and head to the market after it's open and in operation.

Fresh Tuna!!!

Didn't see the auction, but it was still a good tour of the market, where we saw lots of really fresh and HUGE fish and seafood. Also, it was fun walking around the local market looking at really interesting food there.

The heads of the tuna
After walking around for around 1hour or more, time to feed our stomach!!

I caught a tuna!

Lots of stalls around selling sashimi and sushi, but I don't eat raw food, so those are out of question, and they're not cheap. Upwards of 2000YEN per bowl of rice with some sashimi.

Spotted a small stall that sells NO FISH!! Only simple chicken+egg+rice and it was featured on TV back in 2010! So we got 1 bowl to share. It is really simple at 800YEN (SGD13) but the flavour was there and the stall was manned by 1 old couple. The husband is actually quite a charming man!

1 bowl of rice is not enough to feed 3 mouths. We went on in search of more food and found this little local stall with a vending machine outside. You have to buy your coupon outside using the vending machine then head into the stall to submit your coupons.
This is the cheapest food you can find. We got 2 combo set for a total of 1,200YEN (includes 2 small bowls of ramen, 1 plate of curry rice and pork cutlet rice) Quite value for money!
After food, it's time for BEER!! Our 1st stop was Asahi Beer Headquarters (Asakusa station). There's no beer factory in Tokyo itself, so we couldnt actually tour the beer production. But still we can get to taste beer! The building has a Gourd structure at the top.There's no factory but you can enjoy Asahi beer at the Sky Bar on the 22nd floor where u can have a view of the city!

At 600YEN for a pint of beer, so we ordered 3 different grades of beer

The light and dry, the dark, and the slightly sweeter Asahi. I like the dark Asahi!

Me and my beer


After some beer, shopping time! We headed to Ginza, the Orchard Road of Tokyo. being a weekday, it was very quiet and not happening at all. Went into the department stall and oggled at the food department.

The food in japan are all very nicely packaged and looks really appetizing..But so are the prices!! Like 10SGD for a bun!!! What? Made of gold?? And the soft serve ice cream like the ones you get in McDonalds? It's like 300YEN!!

Not interested in shopping (prices are too expensive), we headed to our next Beer tasting - Sapporo Beer Station, or better known as Yebisu Beer Museum.

Actually Yebisu and Sapporo are same same, but different. Yebisu is produced by Sapporo Breweries but apparently there is Sapporo beer as well. So not sure what's the difference. Cos we only had Yebisu beer.

They have a tour but it's only in Japanese. Fortunately, they have the history of Yebisu beer in English, so at least it was not a boring Musuem.

And the beer is alot cheaper! At 400YEN a pint! So 3 different types again!


Conclusion - Yebisu beer is NOT nice! Too bitter. Asahi is still the best!!

Edric had too much to drink...

All those beer in our stomach when we're feeling a little peckish! So we went in search of food in Ebisu! Walking around and around trying to find those small alley with small, quiet food stall that makes it most authentic...

And we happened to chance upon this very local stall! Contempating whether to go in or not when the owner signalled enthusiastically for us to enter! None of the staff could speak english, but fortunately the owner could speak a little English. So with our splittering of English, mixed with Japanese, hand gestures and actual ingredients being shown, we ordered our dinner of Fried Rice, Fried Vegetables with Pork and rice!

Us at the dinner place..

The food tasted good! But they really put a lot of MSG. And the portion was too big to finish! And we were actually quite lucky! Cos they close at 5pm and we entered at slightly before 5pm!

After dinner, we headed to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for the night view at the top. North Tower is good for night view, while south tower is good for day view. We though the tower was closed cos we couldn't find the entrance until we chanced upon a security guard who pointed us to the right entrance.

The entire observatory is enclosed and the view is pretty nice!

Then, it was onto our last stop of the trip - Shibuya! The reason - to witness the organized chaotic crossings!! It was really quite cool to walk in heaps of people, not actually being able to see what's in front of you. Just follow the crowd! When lights turn green you just walk anywhere across the road. Being a weekday, I'm guessing less people so the impact was not as great but still it was pretty cool!

Exit Shibuya Station at Hachiko Exit (No8) and head across to Starbucks at Tsutaya Building. You'll see the starbucks when you come out of the Hachiko Exit. That's where you get a good view of the crossing.

And that ends the skication and 24 hours Tokyo tour! Back to Singapore where I concussed on the bus to the airport and on the plane. Never been so exhausted before in all my travels but I was really spent this time.

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