Day 2 - Sunday 29 March - Tokyo

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Woke up at 5:26 :(  Got a bit more sleep before getting up at about seven. Spent a while downloading my photos. Eventually 9am rolled around and we headed out for breakfast.

Bridge near Akihabara
Bridge near Akihabara, which reminded us of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

We decided to play it safe our first morning and have breakfast at Denny's, even though this felt very wrong somehow. I had bacon, sausage and eggs, which was my introduction to Denny's in 1983 and brought back memories. Natto ordered a mixed western/Japanese breakfast. The waitress was quick to point out it had natto and could substitute it for something else, but we said we wanted to try it. It was, well, interesting. Nat tried it but thought it was foul. I thought it was a bit icky but not as bad as I thought it would be. Andrew refused to even try it, so Stu finished it off.


Natto eating natto
Natto eating natto. She thought it was disgusting :)

After breakfast we meandered through Akihabara. We had been planning to walk back to the station and take the train to Ueno, but we were a third of the way there anyway, so just decided to keep going.  Looked at heaps of random stuff and walked up lots of little streets. Soooo much cool stuff to be seen!

Random store
Random store, covered in a lot of yellow signs
Photo by Stu 

Car park
We saw a few of these car parks with turntables out the front so you
could drive your car out forwards 

Buildings in Akihabara
Buildings in Akihabara 

Colourful building in Akihabara
Colourful building in Akihabara 

Flower boxes
We were impressed at how the Japanese make use of every available
piece of space, filling sidewalks with flowers and vegetables
Photo by Stu 

Alley in Akihabara
Alley in Akihabara

Got to Ueno Park and was a little disappointed to see that the cherry blossoms hadn't really come out yet, even though it said online they had come out like a week ago :/

Bentendo over Shinobazu Pond
Bentendo over Shinobazu Pond

Wandered through a little market thing, then up to the Temple of Benten. To get to that we had to walk through a run of crazy food stalls. All sorts of weird and wonderful things being cooked, and the most amazing smells.

Octopus balls
Cooking octopus balls (we didn't have any of these ones)
Photo by Natto 

Chocolate bananas
Chocolate bananas 

Bentendo (Temple of Benten)

Continued on past the shrine around the lake. Ended up walking all the way around and ended up back by the shrine again.

Shinobazu Pond
Shinobazu Pond

Heron (or egret?)

So as we walked back past the food stalls we got a few things. I got a deep-fried potato that had been sliced in a spiral and skewered, and then got it dipped in cheesy powder - nom!!  We also got deep-fried spaghetti (not pre-cooked, so they were straight crunchy sticks, covered in a garlic sauce). Oh so delish!  And a chocolate-covered banana. There were plenty of other things that would have been cool to try, but was a bit too awkward trying to carry everything.

Deep fried cheesy potato
Potato cut into a spiral, skewered, deep fried and
coated in cheesy powder - soooo good! 

Natto with chocolate bananas
Natto with chocolate bananas

So walked up the staircase to the big avenue of cherry blossom trees. Some of the lower blossoms were out on these trees were out which made it a bit nicer. The sides of the path were filled with picnickers. Now this was a serious picnic. Some of them were obviously professionally catered but others not. There was some amazing food and it looked like so much fun. One picnic group had several *kegs*!  Presumably there was plenty of sake, as is the tradition with the cherry watching festival. The park and path was insanely crowded, but had it not been a Sunday it wouldn't have had the *atmosphere* it did.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms in Ueno Park 

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms in Ueno Park 

Ueno Park
Ueno Park 

Picnickers in Ueno Park
Picnickers in Ueno Park. Andrew wanted to know how you booked a
particular piece of the park for your picnic.
Photo by Andrew 

Recycling bins
They recycle everything in Japan, and Ueno park had bins for everything you
can think of. Some of the bigger ones even had bin police supervising them
to make sure you got it right!

Continued on to find the life-sized blue whale outside the science museum. It was pretty cool.

Full sized blue whale
Full sized blue whale outside the National Science Museum

Then wandered back to find the Toshogu shrine and five story pagoda. Found the shrine, which was surrounded with scaffolding, but the pagoda appeared to be in the zoo grounds so didn't get any good photos of it.

Near Toshogu Shrine
Dudes chanting near Toshogu Shrine 

Flame Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki Sculpture
Flame Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki Sculpture Commemorating Japanese
Victims Of WWII

Then we decided we really should head for Asakusa. Got to Ueno station and were debating whether to walk or train. Decided to walk. Walked down one street which had shop after shop of wooded home shrines. Then turned left and walked up a street with shop after shop of kitchen and restaurant supplies. Insane!

Tea cup balconies
This building had tea cups for balconies 

Plastic food shop
We found a whole series of shops that sold nothing but plastic food for
restaurant displays
Photo by Natto

Eventually (after a pitstop at maccas) found the area of the Sensoji Temple as the sun was nearly setting. It was surrounded by scaffolding as well :(  The whole area was quite nice though and had a crowded but great atmosphere, again with the most amazing smells from the food vendors. The little street market between the gates was pretty crazy too.

Five storey pagoda at Asakusa
Five storey pagoda at Asakusa 

Side of Senso-ji temple
Side of Senso-ji temple 

Nakamise Dori
Lanterns, shops and cherry blossoms (artificial) on Nakamise Dori
Photo by Stu

Finally left and went and found the Asahi Beer Tower with its golden turd out the front. Honestly I have no idea what it's meant to be, although I did read it online once (edit: its a flame). The entrance wasn't particularly obvious, not helped by seeing a "closed" sign inside the doors. But just one part was closed, the skyroom place is open till late. So ordered a few very expensive beers and some insanely expensive cheese/nuts and a teeny tiny pizza. The view was pretty nice though and we had fun taking crazy photos of the lights (like zooming and camera wiggling on longish exposures).

Asahi Beer Tower
Asahi Beer Tower, Asakusa 

Drinking and view from Asahi Beer Tower
Drinking and view from Asahi Beer Tower. Nice atmosphere but quite expensive.

Beer and nibbles at Asahi Beer Tower
Beer and nibbles at Asahi Beer Tower. 500 yen for those nibbles and
600 each for the beer.
Photo by Natto

Came back down (and it was *freezing* - so glad I decided to bring an extra jumper along) and went to find a train back to the hotel. Managed to use our suica cards and the abundant maps to get back without any problems.

Small doored hotel rooms
Back at the hotel, Stu doesn't actually fit under the door!

Watched some of a really freaky show on telly - the Women's Big Stomach Contest - which was actually filmed in Australia. These women could insane amounts of food - 7.2kg of deep-fried fish fillets for one of the challenges. (7.2 KILOS!!!). Freaky!!

Then went out again to wander round Akihabara. Got some nibbles at a convenience store then came back to the hotel.

Walked an insane amount today. Making up for it tomorrow by sitting in a train all day...

Steps walked today: 18743
Photos taken by me: 466
Photos taken by Stu: 317


Missy said:

Thanks, I enjoyed seeing those. The long-exposures-playing-with-light images were fun!

yeah :) I need to do more of that sort of thing at home, it makes for interesting photos :)

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