Our last day in Tokyo, we went window shopping in Ginza, an upscale part of town also known as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world. I’m not a big shopper, but we did end up buying these grapes which cost, oh you know, $8.60 USD for a single bunch! On the upside, they were the ripest, sweetest, most perfectly formed grapes I’ve ever eaten in my life, and they still haunt my dreams sometimes.
At last, we said our goodbyes to Tokyo. To get to the airport, we took the bullet train which was fun for a number of reasons: the train is new and surprisingly spacious, they sold drinks (sake in a can), and the views leaving Tokyo are beautiful. We got to see a different side of Japan – the ocean, countryside, farmland, suburbs. The blur of places we passed through had a quiet, sleepy feel to them, and looking back on these photos now, I think I’d want our next trip to Japan to be somewhere more like this (maybe Kyoto, 2015?).
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We made our way out to Asakusa specifically in search of an amazing little tempura restaurant we’d read rave reviews about: Tempura Daikokuya. We of course got lost trying to find it, but it ended up being great because it allowed us to discover the gem of a neighborhood that is Asakusa. While Asakusa is mostly famous for its buddhist temple, Sensō-ji, it’s also unique in that it has a more traditionally Japanese atmosphere than other neighborhoods in Tokyo. Due to bombing during WWII, most of Tokyo’s buildings are less than 50 years old, but there is a higher concentration of buildings from the 1950′s and 1960′s in Asakusa than in any other part of the city.
This part of Tokyo is a throwback to another era. No futuristic skyscrapers or giant plasma screens blinding you with advertisements. Just small shops, peace and quiet, and the sense that this is a place where you could actually get to know your neighbors.
Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo, Japan