Tokyo SkyTree, Ginza, Tsukiji Fish Market, and Odaiba
My last day in Tokyo. How will I spend my day after Mt Fuji, relax? Nope. I decided to get on the subway and “stretch the legs” and walk by the Sumida river.
Once I got to the blue bridge, I decided to cross over and head straight to the Tokyo Skytree. Believe it or not, it’s the tallest tower in the world (634m/2,080ft) and the second tallest structure in the world (the first is the Burj Khalifa in UAE). Cool. You can go up to the observatory deck, but there is a long line of tourists. I just decided to walk around the base and proceed with the day.
Ginza (銀座) was next on the list; a popular upscale shopping area, like 5th avenue in NYC. There was one building I was planning to check out from the start, the Sony building, the home of the Playstation. After speaking with a customer rep there, I heard that the whole building will be demolished along with several others to prepare for the 2020 Olympics. Nan desu ka!? They must be planing something big.
If you continue to walk on the main street, Harumi Dori, you’ll eventually reach the infamous Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場) after making a right at Jonathan’s. Ha, its like the Japanese were expecting me to visit by building diners in my name!
So the Tsukiji market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. I heard great things about the sushi here and absolutely had to try it out. One thing I found out is that the fish market closes at 5pm and almost all restaurants/shops close at that time. We got there at 4:30pm, whew. The restaurant area consisted of a few blocks and so many places to choose. I stopped once I saw a giant crab. This was the place for me. Instead of sushi rolls, I ate sushi ‘bowls’!
Whoa, that was good. Ok, it would be a 15 minute walk to the Shiodome station passed the football field sized Tsukiji area to get on the Yurikamome (waterfront train) line to Odaiba (お台場), the artificial island of Tokyo. You get great views of Rainbow bridge (Tokyo’s version of Golden Gate bridge) right before you eventually cross it.
Odaiba is bigger than I expected, and definitely requires a whole day to check out everything. There are restaurants, malls, and other interesting places like an aquarium, giant Ferris wheel, Fuji Television HQ, the “future building”, man-made beach, etc. There is even an area by the pier that felt too close like being back home in NYC, strange…
There is a place called Sega Joypolis which I totally regret not checking out due to time and Fuji fatigue. It is a massive building dedicated to games, games, and more games. It’s not an ordinary arcade as many of the games are simulators and rides somewhat. Even the toilets have an aiming game. Next time, grrr. So anyway, we headed to the mall for some last-minute souvenir shopping in a building called Diver City with a 1:1 scale Gundam in front, whoa.
The night arrives before you know it. And before you know it, it’s time to pack and think about catching your flight the next day. Sayonara Japan, you are ichi-ban (#1)!
- You need at least a week to feel satisfied with exploring Tokyo. I literally had 3.5 days.
- Tokyo is hot/humid in the summer and even the shoulder summer months like June and September so if you don’t like being a hot sweaty mess while walking around for hours, try the Fall, I hear its pretty during that time.
- Don’t jaywalk. For some reason, nobody jaywalks even when there clearly are no cars coming. Perhaps the rules are more strict here. But the traffic lights take sooo long to change.
- Learn more Japanese. The more the better your experience can be.
- Make sure you are allowed to take photos/videos before taking photos/videos.
- Get out of Tokyo. There is a whole country to see: Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Nikko, the north, the southern islands, and the far east.
- Do the research before going to avoid feeling regret about missing out on stuff. Personally, I don’t have much regret since I must go back soon. Maybe during Olympics 2020???
Thanks and Arigato to all who got this far. I’m not good at this blog stuff, but I try. I think it’s best to summarize and document our travels so that we can all remember the times when we escaped the usual and the day-to-day. Also, to share with others so that we can spread ideas and gain new ones. It’s a small world, but sharing experiences illuminates the unknown and makes the world bigger.