Tokyo in a Flash - My Favorite Moments
I was fortunate enough to be sent to Tokyo for work this October. Planning a visit to a city when you're there for your job requires sensitivity to your schedule...after all, as a first priority, I'm here to work. But that doesn't mean I have to spend the time outside the office in the hotel!
So prior to my visit, I read and read and read and enquired. I gathered a list of things I wanted to see and places where I wanted to eat. The list was way too long to accomplish with my limited schedule but it gave plenty to choose from.
As my days were not fully scheduled, I'm sharing with you my Tokyo list instead of a proposed itinerary. The weather wasn't in my favor, I made the most of every minute outside the office.
I stayed near Shiba Park right next to the Tokyo Tower...my little Eiffel Tower away from home. My morning commute also included walking by some of Shiba Park's beautiful gates.
One of my evenings was spent wandering around Shibuya. Right out of the subway is the world's busiest crosswalk, the sweet Hachiko Memorial statue, and more neon lights than I have ever seen.
I wandered around for a while before making my way back to Shibuya Nonbei Alley. Tucked behind all the crazy retail stores is a little alley of tiny (like REALLY tiny) little restaurants. To find dinner, you slide one of the several little doors open and sit at one of the 5-8 seats at the kitchen.
Many people don't speak English in Japan, but with the help of Google Translate, I was able to have a great evening with the friendliest strangers. I still don't know what I ate that evening or what we laughed about over sake...but I really enjoyed it!
On another night, after a sushi dinner in Ginza, I came across Bar Butler. The bartender who runs this place is incredible; a master of his craft who we really enjoyed talking to.
My favorite dining experience was the one I had a Ryo, a Michelin-stared win! Ryo is a Unagi experience featuring a 7-course tasting menu with sake pairing. Not every course featured Unagi (fresh-water eel), but each one did make me mmmm.
Experiencing a new culture through food is definitely my favorite part of traveling, so I tried eating a little of everything throughout the trip (Unagi, Tempura, Ramen, Sushi, Tofu). I'm definitely adventurous and will try anything once.
Saturday was my free day to wander. I started my day at the Imperial Palace under the constant drizzle. Initially, I didn't think you could go into the area where the Imperial Palace is located (I had read that the public could only visit the gardens), but found that there was indeed "official" (and free I might add) visits available.
The tour is in Japanese, but an English app is available. The tour loops the property but doesn't visit the palace itself.
My afternoon was spent in the Harajuku neighborhood. I first had lunch at the Kawaii Monster Cafe...a very interesting experience though not in the culinary sense. It was definitely all the "kawaii" experience!
I then walked Takeshita Street under a sea of umbrellas for all the crazy knick knacks and funny stores.
The end of my day was on the opposite side of the city is Asakusa. Walking Nakamise Street and the surrouding streets was a perfect rainy-day activity as most of it is covered. I really enjoyed seeing the unique shops along the way selling chopsticks, kimonos, or fans. The street ends at the beautiful Senso-ji Temple. Remember to bring change (which I didn't) because you can get your Omikuji paper fortune. This area was my favorite part of Tokyo.
I hope you enjoyed! As always, thanks for reading.