Tokyo, Day 1
I woke up just as the sun began to rise over Tokyo. Pretty sweet view from our hotel room.
We had breakfast at the hotel. I went with the Japanese version of breakfast. Poached egg in a soy broth that I slid into a bowl of miso soup. I also had a few pieces of dim sum on the side. I could get used to this.
Our first stop was at the Meiji Jungu shrine. It is the Daddy of all Tokyo shrines. Before going in you are supposed to take this water (left hand first) over each of your hands and then take a sip of the water.
Then you come into the area where the shrine is.
You are supposed to get one of these wooden signs and write your wish on it and leave in the area obviously hoping your wise will come true.
These sake barrels are enshrined by the sake brewers around Japan to show their deep respect for Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.
We walked over to the Harajuku area. It was actually great to be there in the morning right before everything opened up. Come 4pm the place is packed. There are literally vending machines on every block.
This particular area is the teen culture mecca. Reminds me a little bit what 8th street used to be years ago in NYC. We also walked up and down Cat Street where there are more funky boutiques
Inside the Gyre building are a few high end stores but what we really came for is to check out the 3rd floor where there is a 3D camera store. Unfortunately we did not make reservations for a photo shoot because I had just found out about it but the concept is awesome. I'd love to get a family photograph.
This is one side of Cat Street.
For lunch we went to Harajuku Gyoza. No reservations and the line can be insane. We got there early. The menu is short and sweet. Fried dumplings, steamed dumplings, cabbage, bean sprouts with meat sauce and cucumbers. The other items are drinks.
Fried dumplings. They are just perfect. Not greasy like you tend to get just crisp.
Pickled cabbage. This was awesome. I could have eaten bowls of this stuff. Sliced cucumbers in a sesame paste.
Boiled bean sprouts with a meat sauce. Think Italian meat sauce over bean sprouts.
I am making sure I find a big jar of this chili sauce to take home.
Up the street is the Louis Vuitton Building and on the 7th floor there is a rotating art installation. The room is beautiful and overlooks the city. This particular installation is from Ernesto Neto. You talk off your shoes and walk through this hanging structure.
Down the street is a food installation called 246 Common. It is only open until March. Reminds me a little bit of Brooklyn Smorgrasbourg. This is a cool stall for the Octopus Balls.
Roasted sweet potatoes cooked on hot rocks.
A green vegetable garden in the middle of the stalls.
We continued on to Franc Franc which is a furniture store. We thought there was a Monocle Shop inside but it wasn't there. The light fixture in the middle of the store is very cool.
I loved the architecture of the Prada Building. It looks like a big building of quilted glass. It was built by Herzog and de Meuron, a Swiss design team.
We had a private showing at Art Front Gallery. This particular artist was actually there when we went. Gold embellished on to old style Japanese paintings.
Upstairs (their back room) was this glass scultpure.
This is a Brazilian Japanese artist.
These were cool. Pieces of rock from all over the world split in half with plexiglas inserted in the middle. You could then see the reflection of the innards of the rocks.
Around the corner is Tsutaya Books. This area we are in is called Daikanyama. The store is called the T store because the exterior is made with woven T's. There are 3 buildings. There is a cafe, a book store, a camera store, a bike store and more.
One store had these round cakes to buy and inside these cakes is freeze dried soup. You drop these in warm water and soup is on.
This is what the back streets look like behind the main shopping streets.
Had quite a field day in this sock shop.
This store is called Loveless which was right across the way from Eataly.
We were in need of some serious caffeine and stopped in to the Corner Shop for an amazing cup of coffee.
Our last stop was Map Camera. We drove over to that area. Jessica had to get her camera looked at. There are stores and stores of cameras.
Back to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner.
I loved the coffee in cans from the vending machines. You’ll probably go to the fish market auction (early am). Eat breakfast at any of the stalls there. It’s a hoot.
The tradition of sake barrels at Shinto shrines is very interesting — the drink that brings gods and common people closer together, brewed from rice a blessing from the gods.
I can’t tell for sure but it looks like you are staying in or near the Imperial Palace. If you are (or are nearby) have a drink at the Old Imperial Bar in the Imperial Hotel (a/k/a “Tay-koh-koo”). The original Imperial Hotel was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It floated on the water table as protection against earthquakes. But when some big buildings went up nearby, it screwed up the water table and the Imperial had to be torn down and rebuilt. The Old Imperial Bar is from the original Wright hotel and is pretty cool.Also, check out the kitchen equipment district, especially for the enormous variety of plastic sushi and amazing knives.
Loved the photographic tour. Felt like I was there for a full 60 seconds. Thanks!
It’s so funny how your posts and Fred’s Foursquare checkins complete each other.Fred’s FS check-ins are like the preview. He posts a couple of pics here and there, and you tie it all later in a day story 🙂
Joanne, I have greatly enjoyed reading about your trip to Japan and it has inspired me to think about traveling there this summer. My husband has been there for business but I have never been and have no idea where to start. How did you decide where to stay, where to eat and where to visit? Thanks for any advice you can share! Susan
I did a lot of research as I always do for a trip. We prefer cities to get a good lay of the land which is why we chose Tokyo and Kyoto. We had one more stop planned but decided to bag it. If it was summer, I’d probably go to a beach or somewhere outside a city but during the winter we had zero interest.