14 hours in Tokyo is not nearly enough time, but it is all we had. The three main objectives for the day: eat fresh sushi from the fish market, try authentic ramen, and find a Sanrio store.
Our first challenge was getting out of the airport and into the city. With some help from the tourist kiosk we were on the subway in no time heading toward the Tsukiji Fish Market for the freshest and most delicious sushi breakfast.
Tsukiji Fish Market
We didn’t get to the market in time for the tuna auction (4am!!!) but there was plenty of action to witness at 6am. After about an hour of strolling down the market aisles, dodging trucks and trolleys, and salivating over some of the largest fish we’ve ever seen, we popped into one of the many hole in the wall restaurants just inside the main gate off Shin-ohashi Street.
While it was a bit on the pricey side, it was the freshest sushi I had ever eaten and most definitely the best breakfast of my life. Seafood is my EVERYTHING.
And now onto lunch…
We found a small ramen shop in the middle of Shibuya by following our noses and a group of Japanese business men on their lunch break. The sliding wood door opened to a small bar top where two chefs (sent from heaven, I assume) concocted intoxicating bowls of glorious noodle soup. I typically can’t finish a full bowl of ramen but it was so tasty that I inhaled every last drop and still wanted more.
Finding a Sanrio store in the Hello Kitty mecca should be easy, right? What I expected to be the easiest task of the day turned out to be an exhausting fiasco.
Why do I need wifi to get wifi? If I had wifi I wouldn’t I need wifi. Connecting to wifi in Tokyo was a pain in the neck. Since we were only in town for the day, it didn’t make sense to invest in a SIM card. And seeing as we were visiting a high-tech country, we figured we could get along fine with the “free wifi” that was advertised everywhere. The problem is you must verify your email address to use the internet, BUT you can’t access your email without the internet. Total catch 22. We basically had to dip into a Starbucks and buy a coffee anytime we needed wifi. It was pretty difficult trying to figure out where we were based on map screenshots and Japanese street signs.
The locals were extremely friendly and tried to help the best they could with the limited English they understood. After a lot of walking (sometimes in circles) we FINALLY found the giant Hello Kitty statue in front of a small Gift Gate store. I was not very impressed by the store but I was thankful that our mission was complete.
The upside of the arduous search was that it forced us to explore more of the city. We browsed the music selection at the 9 story Tower Records store in Shibuya, window shopped in the Harujuku district, and wandered aimlessly down the streets of Shinjuku.
14 hours in Tokyo left us with sore feet, happy bellies, and the overwhelming desire to return again.
Sayonara for now…
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