What to do when it’s 7am in Tokyo

After finishing my sushi breakfast and I wondered what else I could do. I remember passing by Ginza and it sounded familiar so I walked over. It turns out Ginza is a shopping area but nothing was open at that hour. They did have free wifi so I hopped on and wondered what else I could. I had originally planned to head back and take a nap but I was feeling awake so I decided to stay out and then head back early. I was about to head over to the Imperial Palace because it was sort of within walking distance but decided to head over to Tokyo Skytree. I debated between Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree but they say the Skytree is newer and the view is not blocked by other buildings. I also read if you can get there at 8am before the tours you can beat the rush and the wait.

Tokyo Skytree

I arrived just after 8am and no line! I didn’t have a reservation but that didn’t matter since it wasn’t busy. They sold me a ticket to the observation deck at 350 meters for around 2000yen. I had the option to purchase a ticket for the 450 meters observation deck once I was at 350 meters. I’m not sure why they don’t just sell it as a combo. The extra 100 meters is another 1000yen. I figured I was two-thirds so I was pit committed. The view up higher was actually worse since everything shrinks and I thought it was a clear day but it was hard to see far. Tokyo has blue skies so it doesn’t suffer from the same pollution problems as Beijing so I’m not sure why the view wasn’t clear. They do have a glass floor but it wasn’t too impressive.

There were lots of Halloween decorations and Halloween themed photo spots.

Asakasa – Senji Shrine

I decided to head to Asakasa next to see Sensoji Shrine. I wasn’t planning to but again it was nearby. I thought about walking but I saw that it crossed a river so I assumed there wasn’t a footpath but when I got out of the station I saw that there was one. Not having internet readily available I tried to remember what were the sights I was supposed to see. I wandered some streets that looked like old Tokyo but were now souvenir shops for tourists. I wandered around the shrine but didn’t find anything particularly interesting. I felt the same way about the Forbidden City in Beijing when I visited for the first time and then would even tell friends to skip it and just go to Summer Palace instead.

I was starting to get tired mostly because I was lugging around a 5 pound camera around my neck but it was starting to get later in the day and too late for a nap. There were a couple sights all in the same area and I didn’t want to go to my hotel just to come to the same area.

Imperial Palace

My friends had mentioned there’s not much to see but again it’s on the list so I continued on. Admission is free! I walked around but I didn’t see the emperor. It’s nothing like Buckingham Palace with the guards marching around. I don’t think I could even see his residence. It’s very possible there was a path that I missed but I ended up just looking at a bunch of trees. I noticed some people sitting on the grass so I laid out on the grass to get a short break. After my break I wandered over to the gardens and then headed back out.

I was ready to head back and then I decided to look up Jiro’s restaurant. I had no intention of eating there but I wanted to see it in person. My big splurge was visiting the restaurant of his apprentice in NY. At the time I didn’t know I would be visiting Tokyo so soon. I saw the restaurant was in Ginza. Again going back to the hotel and coming back out would be too much travel so I decided to head straight there. I remembered from the documentary the restaurant is unassuming and located in a subway station. They fail to mention it’s also a bit secluded and it’s something you can just stumble upon. I ran around the station for about ten minutes and even used google maps! I finally found a blogger who wrote a description of how to get there and I found it!

I had my phone at the ready to take a photo and there was a sign that said no photos please. This is not Sushi Dai. I did read that they have a policy that discourages non-Japanese speakers. They only take reservations in Japanese and once at the restaurant you need to have your own translator. I walked by and there’s nothing else there so it’s not like I could pretend I was going somewhere else. There was a sign out front that said reservations for the day were filled. There was one kitchen attached to the restaurant and then there looked to be another space across the way that was being used for prep. I couldn’t tell. It felt a but surreal to be so close. I half expected Jiro himself to pop out but that didn’t happen.

Back to the hotel, I showered took a rest and decided to get ton-katsu for dinner.

Tokyo has sights to see but really I just wanted to eat delicious Japanese food. I wanted to eat more but I think my appetite has shrunk since I’ve been traveling so much. When I travel alone I tend to skip meals if I’m trying to get a lot done.

The ton-katsu was delicious! They even gave me sesame seeds to grind for the sauce. I had wanted to eat tempura after but I was stuffed. But not too stuffed to try a mini waffle. I saw people queuing up for a small waffle stand by the train station. Usually a line is a good sign something is good.

It was still only around 6:30pm but I had been out and about since just before 4am so I was exhausted and I needed time to pack. Ever since leaving my clothes behind in Cairns I’ve started to allow for extra time to pack. It’s better now that I can leave my winter clothes in my pack.

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