Friday, 14 February 2014

Travels in Japan: Tokyo

Way back in November in the distant and far off year of 2013, my lovely husband and I packed our matching suitcases (really!) and took to the skies for an amazing asian adventure. Two weeks to experience as much of Japan as we possibly could... awesome. Bring on the green tea.

First stop? Tokyo, of course!

Sake barrells in the late afternoon sun at Meiji
I am one of those breakfast obsessed people. I love breaking the fast and woe betide any one or thing that stands between me and my sacred morning meal. No breakfast has ever been as fine, fresh and sumptuous as the one we feasted upon in Sushi Bun. A killer combination of jetlag, burstingly full itinerary and let's face it sheer lack of willpower meant that we didn't quite manage to get up for the 5am registration for the tuna auctions. Nevertheless we saw some beautiful early morning rays amongst the small side-streets of Tsukiji fish market whilst deliberating on our brekkie venue. Sushi Bun was all we dreamed of, a tiny haven of delicious fishy delights. Sitting at the end of the counter we chomped our way through a set menu of meltingly tender morsels served alongside the obligatory miso and green tea. A phenomenal start to the day.

We knew we were headed in the right direction...

Not tuna auction early, but early nonetheless ;)
Good morning Tsukiji
What can one do in the midst of a mighty modern metropolis on a beautiful day with a belly full of lush fatty tuna? Too many things to mention in one blog post certainly. What would I recommend? Taking a stroll, finding some peace and being completely blown away by just how zen the Japanese gardens are. Photos cannot do this experience justice.

Hamarikyu Gardens, just a small sushi filled roll away from Tsukiji (thankfully)

A-mazing right?!

Even better, when one tires of the strolling just keep your eyes peeled for one of the teahouses. Take your shoes off, take a load off and order a bowl of beauteous pure green matcha. Yum. What a treat.

From here (Hamarikyu Gardens) you can take a boat journey. Woohoo! What's not to love? Getting to see the city by water and check out the architecture. Count us in...

Round about now, you should be starting to feel a bit peckish. Since you've only been in the country a couple of days what could beat heading to a rather splendid luncheon with a friend near the imperial palace gardens? We couldn't think of anything we'd like better either! Lunch on the terrace of a grand hotel next to the water with rain beating down atmospherically besides us was very beautiful. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear more about the country in which we would be travelling. As fate would have it my friend grew up in the town which was next on our itinerary and was tickled to hear we were heading that way. We also got to cover important topics of debate such as jewellery-making, cooking and running before we had to part ways. Ah, such a happy memory.

After feasting like kings (again!) there are so many post gastronomic delights on offer. Towering emporiums of technology at Akhibara, hitting the shops at Roppongi Hills or Daimaru, art at the Mori Tower (where we took in the high culture of Snoopy) or a bit more contemplative peace and cultural amazement in the various temples... We did a bit of it all...

Feeling exhausted after ambitiously bombing around the world's largest city? You bet! But the night is young, as they say. So, why not head to Harajuku for some hipster shopping then see about squeezing in a completely phenomenal never-ending Teppanyaki dinner whilst looking out at the Tokyo Dome with another wonderful friend. We ate and laughed so much! It was such a pleasure :) This meeting was a little more instructional too and we were urged from then on to incorporate 'Domo domo' as a way of saying thank you into our teeny Japanese word bank. It seems insufficient as thanks for such a great evening!

So, if any of you guys survive that onslaught of pure awesomeness, you know what you have to do next...

Seriously! There is only one option open to you at this momentous point in your journey. For relaxing times...? Oh YES, we did. Park Hyatt Tokyo, New York Bar. The ultimate Lost in Translation / Bill Murray pilgrimage. It was fabulous. We sat at the bar, we watched live music, we viewed the beauty of the city lights below stretching blinking and twinkling into the distance and we fell in love with Tokyo a little bit more.


Ps. In case you hadn't guessed, this makes up not just one of our days in Tokyo but a composite of the 4 nights we spent there. It's a long post but we do a lot on our holidays us Silversmiths. Coming up... Totoro (!), castles, woods, traditional inns, kobe beef, Kyoto & much more!

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