Our second full day in Tokyo was equally as unexpected and crazy as the first.
As mentioned in my previous post we were staying in Asakusa so our first stop was to the bustling Senso-ji temple which is surrounded by colourful market stalls selling everything from Hello Kitty purses to paintings and chopsticks. This had a more traditional feel to it than other areas of Tokyo and although there are more impressive temples in Japan, I would still recommend paying it a visit to soak up the busy atmosphere.
Whilst in Tokyo, which I forgot (!) to mention in my previous post, we visited Tsukiji, the famous fish market. To really make the most of it and see the best bits you need to get up at 5am – but we just didn’t have the energy! It was still full of people buying, selling and munching on fresh fish and sushi. Again, prepare to be squeezing past people and definitely don’t eat before as it’s a great place to have a meal. Even if you only have a short stop in Tokyo, if you love fish, this is a must see.
Anyway back to day two. After we had visited the temple we had a stroll (and a sit) in the beautiful Shinjuku-gyoen which is a lovely park full of greenery and a nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Following this much needed rest we decided it was time to get another culture hit so we headed to Ueno which is home to the Tokyo museum – nestled in the middle of another gorgeous park.
It was in this park that I experienced two major events.
The first was eating possibly the largest corn on the cobs I had ever seen in my life (those of you who know me will know how happy this made me – I love corn on the cob) and the second was even better – a dog skateboarding all by itself. Unfortunately I was too busy stood with my gob wide open in disbelief that it zoomed away before I could take a photo! It ran with its front paws on the skateboard and its back legs on the ground then leapt on and skated until it slowed down. It then took its back legs off and started to run again before hopping back on.
Howard looks very grumpy because I have once again asked him to pose for a photo (he hates photos).
After we had munched our way through several interesting delights at the food stalls (not a fan of squid balls though have to say) we headed to the Tokyo museum. It wasn’t very expensive to go in and Howard was very excited about seeing the Samurai swords! There was also a part dedicated to other countries of the world and it was the first time both of us had come face to face with a real life Mummy from Ancient Egypt.
Tired out from another busy day we headed back to the hotel. A quick change and this time we decided to get the Monorail out to the waterfront. We were both so glad we did this for our last night as it was not only a great way to see the city, but being out by the water and looking out to all the lights of the city was very romantic. What made us laugh was the ‘Goddess of Liberty’ statue with the ‘Tokyo Tower’ (looks like the Eiffel Tower) in the background.
We had an amazing meal at a restaurant called Gonpachi which was based on the fourth floor of Aqua City. We had a typical Japanese set menu which included fresh sashimi and sushi – the perfect way to end our trip.
Lying in bed that night we were discussing natural disasters – everywhere we went in Japan there was always evacuation maps in public spaces to help guide people in the event of an earthquake, and all hotel rooms had signs on the back of the door with emergency instructions.
Howard made a point of saying that a natural disaster could be quite an exciting experience, to which I immediately told him off for ‘jinxing us’ and that it would be my worst nightmare.
3 hours after falling asleep I was woken up by the feeling of the room shaking pretty hard and a loud rumbling noise filling my ears. Clutching onto him I squeaked ‘OH MY GOD we’re having an earthquake!!!’
My ever calm boyfriend replied ‘I know, it’s fine, go back to sleep.’
Go back to sleep?! My heart felt it was about to come out of my chest it was pounding that hard. Just as I was debating getting under the desk for protection it all went still.
Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that night, which wasn’t ideal as it took us precisely 23 hours to get back to our flat in Wakefield from the hotel.
However, apparently Tokyo experiences 300 earthquakes a year, so it was hardly surprising we felt one!
Japan was an amazing experience, a country so clean, efficient, friendly and kind – with prices that actually won’t break the bank and breathtaking sights, it would be daft not to go.