Tokyo Day 1

[Taylor]

On our first day we left Noheji bright and early at around 8:00 and arrived at Ueno Station in Tokyo just before noon.  We traveled by train, specifically the shinkansen or “bullet train.”

After checking into our hostel in the Asakusa District, our first priority was to find a place for lunch.  This sign outside an udon noodle shop caught our attention.  The prices were reasonable to boot so we gave them a chance.

Replenished with calories, we began the first of many walks through the first of many locations that were completely new to Patrick and me.  Julie had seen some of these sites in Tokyo on a previous trip with her office and graciously lead the way on the first day.

First up, Senso-ji Temple.  Senso-ji, more commonly known as the the Asakusa Kannon or Asakusa Temple, is Tokyo’s most well-known temple and was about a three minute walk from where we were staying in the Asakusa District.

Welcome to Nakamise-dori.

Hozo-mon Gate

5-story pagoda

There is a statue in the temple that dates back to the 7th Century.  The temple was originally constructed a few decades after the statue was made and survived many natural and manmade calamaties, but not the bombing of World War II.  What you see is a reconstruction.

Next up was a visit to Ueno Park, home to many cultural treasures and stray cats.  The highlight of Ueno Park, unquestionably, was a trip to the Tokyo National Museum.  We saw some amazing art work, priceless and rare artifacts of the Ainu people of Northern Japan (including equipment for a traditional bear hunt/sacrifice), and old swords in pristine condition.  One of the swords we saw dated all the way back to the 7th Century.

Ueno Park

This blue whale sculpture outside the science museum caught our eyes.

For dinner we thought some tasty sushi was in order so we looked for the best:  Tsukiji Fish Market.  Tsukiji Fish Market is perhaps the most famous fish market in the world and the backstreets and alleyways that surround it are stocked with the exceptional sashimi (raw fish) they auction off each day in the early hours of the morning.

Patrick's sample.

Julie and I went for the maguro (tuna) sampler.

Some of the best sushi we’ve ever had.  Although Julie and I both think that Otaru (a small city North of Sapporo) was a little better.

After dinner we set out for Akihabara, Tokyo’s famous electronics district.  We went to a store that had seven floors of electronic goods.  There are also some notorious video game arcades there that Patrick and I wanted to scope out.  We found two that had, just like the electronics superstore, seven floors of games.  Each floor had a different theme (claw games, fighter games, card games, rhythm games, etc.).  One of the floors was devoted to a  relatively new gundam (animated cartoon of people who operate enormous robot suits) video game.  You basically sit down in a little pod and operate a gundam how you might imagine you’d operate one in real life.  Since the game is linked to the Web, you battle other people from different parts of Japan.  You can also buy a card that will save your data (if you do well you can buy upgrades for your robot) for later games.

Akihabara District

Patrick in a gundam suit.

Thus concludes Day 1.

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One Response to “Tokyo Day 1”

  1. Our Tour of Japan Winter 2008 « Pacificloons Says:

    […] Pacificloons Two Aomori JET ALTs from PDX and VDZ « Tokyo Day 1 […]

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