We left Vientiane after work, had an overnight flight from Bangkok to Tokyo, so we arrived slightly bleary eyed into Tokyo at 7:00am local time. So the plan for day one was to drop our bags at the hotel and just wander around the ‘local neighborhood’. We also opted to take the bus rather than the metro system. That was a good decision because 1). we got the best view of Mt Fuji, clearly visible on a clear day and 2). we didn’t have to negotiate Shinjuku station on day one. Over the three days we were in Tokyo we passed through Shinjuku many times, with varying degrees of success. The station has 200 exits and over 3 million people can pass through in a day.
We got to our hotel and were really lucky we could check in immediately. After a tidy-up we headed out, wearing warm jackets – cooler than SE Asia. It was nice just wandering around.
I had a list of restaurants to look out for, and we just happened to find one for our first Japanese meal. There was a reasonable queue, but I managed to convince a slightly bleary eyed Andrew the line would move quickly – normally we NEVER play the line game. And it did move fast (phew!) His little eyes certainly lit up when he took his first bite of the lightest, most tender ton-katsu (fried pork cutlet) with a sesame sauce he had hand ground himself. Katsukura, a Kyoto restaurant chain, is truly highly recommended!
Dinner was a random down-town Yakatori bar. Nicely done, and a couple of beers – day one was a success
After a good sleep it was a day with a few goals. In the morning we headed to the residential district of Nippori because I wanted some fabric. This is the fabric district and I bought a number of pieces which we then carried around all day. Andrew did well on the patience and so was allowed to choose the lunch spot. He chose a burger joint and we ended up with a rice burger (rice patties not bread) filled with teriyaki beef, which was actually rather nice.
The afternoon was heading to Asakusa and our first experience of loads and loads of tourists. The district is full of character. We visited the Senso-ji Buddhist temple which was teeming with people.
We even managed to master the metro system – which was great outside peak times. At the rush hour end of the day it was an experience being packed in like sardines – a step up from any any experience in London! The lack of telephone noise was also very noticeable – no one spoke and certainly no ringing or pinging sounds.
So far so good….