Friday, 4 April 2014

Tokyo, Japan Day 2 - Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa & Ginza

We were greeted w strong wind and rain on our 2nd day. Thankfully, the rain stopped by noon. I've to admit that our whole Japan itinerary of 12 days was quite insane, I can't believe we actually covered so many good eateries & attractions. Off to fill our tummies and explore the area of Asakusa which is about 7 mins walk from our hotel!

Always hated rainy weather whenever I'm travelling, you know that Zzz feeling when your shoes are wet? Haven't had sushi on the first day so here we are checking out Sushi Zanmai. They have a couple of stores scattered around, you can easily find them in Tokyo.

Most of the sushi's available on the menu are fresh seafood. So if you don't eat raw, there may be limited choices for you.

Like all the eateries in Japan, sushi bar counter seats where the chef prepares your order in front of you.

I can't describe how fresh the fish was! The salmon here tasted different to Singapore. We didn't order a lot since we will be having Tempura Daikokuya after, a well known Tempura restaurant in Asakusa.

Yay! Our portable wireless port arrived at our hotel the day before I schedule it to reached. We rented it from Japan Wireless as the fees are much cheaper from others. More than 3 devices can be tapped on it. So far we had no problems with them, thumbs up! You know social media addicts like us needed this :S

Having this is definitely a life saver in Japan especially when we were lost, Google Map for direction on the go! It comes with a power bank as well so no worries if the battery dies. The speed was good enough for me to surf the net & check my emails while on Shinkansen. Coverage area is 93% of Japan, this is wide enough for almost all travellers except some mountain area like Mt. Fuji.

Nakamise Shopping Street (仲見世)
Take Tokyo Metro Line to Asakusa Station (A18/G19), 5mins walk.
Opening hours: Depends, typically 9:00~19:00 daily

Headed to Asakusa Nakamise Shopping street after our sushi meal. A shopping street of over 200 meters, alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the Asakusa area are sold along the Nakamise. The shopping street has a history of several centuries.

Interesting machinery making 'Daifuku', a cake with a sweet red bean paste filling. It is made primarily with azuki beans. This can be commonly find everywhere in Tokyo, with all sort of shapes!

There are many rows of shops outside the temple. All sorts of traditional snacks can be found here, everything just look so goood!

Mochi on a stick with all kinds of flavoring. YUMZ.

On a side note, when you buy snacks on the street in Japan, be sure to eat within their store before continue walking. I was told that the Japanese didn't like the idea of walking & eating at the same time. You know tourists like us always do that but do take note! :)

Being a red bean lover, I can never get enough of this. This is exceptionally good, deep fried cake with red bean filling in it. Such a good choice for the cold weather!

Senso-ji Temple
Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo (東京都台東区浅草2-3-1)
Directions: Take Tokyo Metro Line to Asakusa Station (A18/G19), Exit 1, 5mins walk.

     - From Exit 1 of Asakusa Station, walk toward the pedestrian walk, located on the left of Family Mart. 
     - Walk one block west on Kaminarimon-dori. It will be on your right at the end of the block. 
   - Turn right and walk through the gate. Walk north on the main street in the center of Nakamise until you face              another temple gate, similar to Kaminarimon. 
           - Enter through the gate, called Hozomon. You'll be inside the main temple ground of Sensoji.

Asakusa Kannon Temple (also known as Sensoji, 浅草寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. Sensoji is the oldest temple in Tokyo and the main attraction of Asakusa. It's dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon and is the most significant temple of Tokyo. 

The homz decided to try this out. There will be steps to follow, with a offering of 100 yen. There are many small drawers of Omikiji. Omikuji is a paper that has fortunes written on it.

Shake the metal container and pull out a stick on top. The stick has a number on it. Find the drawer with the same number. Then pull out the drawer and take one paper out. The omikuji's explanations are also written in English too. We saw most of the people tie it at the metal poles beside it so we followed.

I guess this where visitors wash their hands as a preparation of worship. We walked around to explore a bit more and headed off for lunch!

We researched some of the tempura recommendations in Tokyo and we found Daikokuya to specialise in Tempura.

 Tempura Daikokuya
Address: 1-38-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Opening Hours: Weekdays & Sunday: 11:10~20:30
Saturday & PH: 11:30-21:00

*English menu is available upon request.

Actually we lost our way while finding this, but we seek help from the Japanese folks and we got here in no time! We just told them 'Tempura' and they started pointing out the directions. Seems like Tempura Daikokuya is no stranger in Asakusa!

Actually dining in Tokyo isn't cheap at all and this is no exception. If I'm not wrong, it's about S$18 for what you see on the table. It's the kind of rate we have in Singapore and it's still affordable. Decent tendon but I'm sure there are better ones.

The 4 ebi prawns are super big and the tempura is deep fried nicely in sesame oil. Slightly crisp on the outside, fluffy within. Remember to stop here for a meal whist your way to Senso-ji!

Finally, the rain has stopped completely! Walked a bit more before moving off to Akihabara.

Spotted many of these ninja looking with their pulled rickshaw outside, I guess you can only see this in Japan!

Arrived at Yodobashi-Akiba, the largest shop in Tokyo's largest electronics chain before heading off to Maid theme cafe for tea break.

From phone accessories to cameras to computers to home electronics to technology devices, anything you need. If you're a gadget enthusiastic, you'll definitely spent a long time here :D

We got lost for almost 2 hours while finding this. Even Google map wasn't helping because apparently there are many maid themed cafes in Akihabara but most of them are reproduction. So we got confused in the midst of hunting the authentic one. But after so long, we finally got it!

Cure Maid Café  (カフェ メイリッシュ) 
Address: 3-15-5 Sotokanda, Jisto Akiba 6F, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Mon-Thur: 11:00~20:00
Fri-Sat: 11:00~22:00
Sunday & PH: 11:00~19:00

This café opened in 2001 and was Japan's first "maid café." The waitresses wear French-maid costumes and the name reflects the concept of "healing," a cozy place with a peaceful atmosphere. We were not allowed to take photo in the cafe so no photos of the waitresses :/

Thinking where to shop in Tokyo? Ginza is one of them alongside with Harujuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi and more. The plan at night was to shop at Ginza (銀座)! It's like our Orchard Road in Singapore.

Ginza is a shopping destination with its high end stores, boutiques, and cafes. Sophisticated brands and restaurants featuring delicacies from all over the world can be seen throughout the area. 

Abercrombie & Fitch retail in Tokyo is super huge. A total of 8 levels. In fact most of the renowned brands in Ginza stands alone in their super high rise building.

Uniqlo is definitely one of them as well as H&M. Shop til' you drop, literally :O

Shopped so much until we lost track of time. It's past 10 pm and most of the restaurants are already closed. So here we are at Yoshinoya for dinner, or supper! Definitely more variety in their menu as compared to Singapore's.

We had Curry Beef Don & Grilled beef on Teriyaki dressing. YEAZ.

Having dessert at 'Café de Ginza Miyuki-kan Main Sotore' to end off our day was part of our itinerary to check out their signature Chestnut Mont Blanc. Cafe de Ginza is a well-known french style sweets cafe in central Ginza with some of the most drool-inducing desserts. There are 5 stores in Tokyo city.

Café de Ginza Miyuki-kan Main Sotore
Address: Miyukikan building 1F, 6-5-17 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:00~2:00 (Last Order 1:30)
Saturday: 11:00~0:00 (L.O. 23:30)
Sunday and PH: 11:00~23:00 (L.O. 22:30)

Bad news, their speciality Chestnut Mont Blanc was sold out :( Hence, we ordered 2 cake sets, which cost about S$19 each after conversion. It comes with a choice of cake and a individual pot of tea which adds on a nice touch. You are given a sand timer as an indicator when the tea is ready to pour through the gold strainer given. 

We had Moelleux Chocolat which was nothing fantastic and Mille-feuille which is like a strawberry praline cake, which turns out to be really good on the other hand. And delicious Mont Blanc can be found here!

 Good looking desserts seems to be everywhere in Tokyo. I've to say dining in Japan is bad for the waistline but life is short to diet yo :P  Drop me a mail if you want the full itinerary since I'll take awhile to finished blogging the whole trip. That marks the end of Day 2. Stay tune as we'll be heading to Osaka & Kyoto next! 

<< Back to Tokyo, Japan Day 1 - Ameyoko Shopping Street & Tokyo Skytree
Continue to >> Tokyo, Japan Day 3 - Mt. Fuji & Hakone Lake Side Park


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