Tokyo, at last!

Following on from my previous post. The most surreal moment of my time in Japan so far was picking up my girlfriend from the train station in my tiny town. I found it hard to believe that someone from my life back home was now entering this bubble I had been living in for the past few months.

I remember receiving a phone call from my girlfriend at 11:30pm on a Sunday night, saying she was 5 minutes away from arriving at my station. It was such a strange feeling hearing a very familiar sounding train announcement in the background whilst we were on the phone to each other. It suddenly hit me that she was very close to entering my tiny little world. I immediately grabbed my keys and left my apartment to walk to the station. The streets were dead, and I could feel a huge sense of excitement looking around knowing that this area, only familiar to me, would soon also be a familiar place to someone very close to me.

After spending a few days in my town, we planned a trip to Tokyo for a long weekend. I could not believe that I was finally going to Tokyo! A childhood dream!

We managed to visit the Tsukiji fish market. The place was packed with people queueing at food stalls and tiny ramen bars. Japan definitely prides itself over their vast variety of fresh seafood. I’m not a great fan of seafood, but I couldn’t resist the temptations of trying some of this stuff out!

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We wondered through some back alleys to try out some of the food. I saw a swarm of people crowded around this one stall, so we decided to walk closer to check it out. Peeking between two people I could see what I thought looked like a huge model of some whale. To my shock, I found out that it was actually a huge tuna head they were carving into! I didn’t even know they could get so big!! I heard that tuna can get extremely expensive in Japan. People pay a small fortune for fresh tuna fish!

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We tried out some tuna steak yakitori which was incredibly soft and delicious!

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Tuna yakitori steak

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We also tried some famous tamagoyaki, which is Japanese fried egg cooked in layers.

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Making the tamagoyaki
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Tamagoyaki
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Fresh scallop

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Later on that day we decided to travel to Asakusa to visit the Senso-Ji temple. We were quite unlucky as the main entrance was under construction so we weren’t able to see it. But we did manage to walk through the small shops selling loads of different crafts and souvenirs.

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Women dressed in kimonos

As we continued walking through the shops we managed to see the next entrance to the temple with the huge lantern clearly visible!

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Senso-ji temple

Later on in the evening we took the metro to Shinjuku, a huge shopping district. Being in Shinjuku really made it real to me that I was finally in Japan. This was the Japan I had pictured in my mind before moving here, and being in such a crazy city was surreal to say the least!

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Shinjuku

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Tokyo was quite overwhelming in terms of what to do there. Especially in places like Shinjuku and Shibuya, wherever you turned, streets looked almost identical and I wasn’t sure where to go. Station to station was not entirely in walking distance either, so taking the metro was a frequent thing during out trip.

I had done some research prior to our trip to Tokyo. There was one coffee shop called Reissue in Harajuku which caught my attention as it specialised in doing 3d latte art. The cafe was slightly hidden in a back street, so it took some time to find. But it was definitely worth visiting!

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The highlight of my trip in Japan was definitely having dinner at Teppanyaki Grow in Ueno. I did some research prior to our trip to Tokyo, and the reviews were all positive so we decided to give it a try. The restaurant was also quite hard to find, and it was quite a walk away from the main district of Ueno. To our luck, whilst walking to the restaurant all of our devices had run out of batteries so we were stuck on finding where the restaurant was. Good job we both knew how to read the kanji for teppanyaki! We finally found the restaurant and I was totally blown away by the service and food.

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Wagyu sushi

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Wagyu beef

Each and every dish was exceedingly good. They were small portions but enough to fill you up. The wagyu beef did not disappoint either. I will never forget the first bite I took. It melted in my mouth like butter. The best meal I have ever had. 10/10!

Our main aim in Tokyo was to avoid all of the chain restaurants and places loaded with tourists. So we were always wondering into back alleys trying  to find small restaurants to try real local food. Ramen bars are always really nice to go to. Quick, cheap and always delicious!

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A ramen bar in Shibuya

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It was a short but sweet trip in Tokyo. Being in Tokyo was definitely a dream come true, as I have always wanted to visit Tokyo for as long as I can remember. I’m hoping to make another visit towards the end of the year as I would love to visit Mount Fuji in the winter!

Anyways, posting all these photos of food has made me really hungry! Hope you are all having a great weekend!

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