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Exploring Tokyo via subway

Tokyo Travel Blog

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view out of the hotel room, it's raining.
We woke up to a rainy day. Looking out the window from our hotel room, I saw people walking on the streets with umbrellas. The train track is right next to the hotel and we could see trains go by. It turned out that the hotel has access to the subway underground, so we didn't even have to get wet going to the station. For brunch, we walked back to the Shimbashi train station and checked out the fine food markets inside. There was a small supermarket where last night I took the photo of the very expensive honeydew melons. Along the market are many stalls of various food vendors selling all kinds of good looking foods. It was very hard to decide on what to buy, everything looked good or interesting. We had to make a decision, so we did. See photos for what we ended up.
The train tracks right next to the hotel.
I must say mine was very tasty, costing about 1200 yen, We wanted to find a place to sit and eat, and almost gave up and went back to the hotel before seeing the cafe near the hotel, and gave it a try. Kevin got a latte and I got a cup of tea. Not having many other customers inside with many free tables, we just ate our brunch there.

Well stuffed, we set up to find the fish market. It didn't look very far from the hotel on the map, and it was probably a 15-20 minute walk because we had to look for streets to turn on etc. I even asked directions at a small eatery. But I think her direction was not the most direct route. Kevin thought his navigtion would have taken us directly to the main entrance anyway. We walked through some streets which didn't look very pedestrain, up an overpass to cross a street, and over a bridge.
Interesting concert shown on TV
We saw the side markets next to the fish market, which sold everyday wares like kitchen knives, pots etc. Not a touristy place which must mean we were close. And then we saw a shrine, and it had a row of stone monuments for fish and other sea creatures. Two big lions were in their own shrines on the side, one was the big lion, another was the big black lion. Photos next to them showed that they were taken out and paraded around on special festivals. We could clearly see the fish market now, and a map near its entrance showed that we were actually at its north entrance, which was a block further than the main entrance. It was not almost 11:30 am, and most of the stalls were empty or being washed down with a hose. Many workers were driving around in these “mighty cars” which were some flatbed transport vehicles.
bento box for brunch
There were hundreds and probably thousands of white styrofoam boxes being moved around or piled high. Very litle fish were visible by now, but I did manage to find some for photos. I can imagine the bustling activities happening here had we been here a couple of hours earlier, but it was still fun to see it.

Exiting the fish market from its main entrance, we found the subway entrance right there. Deciding this was the day for subway travel, since our Japan Rail pass will start tomorrow (for the most efficient use of the 7 days). Trying to use the ticketing machine was probably not something we wanted to do at every station, so we opted for a One Day pass (1000 yen for both of the subway systems, Toei and Tokyo lines, unlimted use for the day) It made our life so much easier.
kevin's brunch
I would highly recommend it to others visiting Tokyo, We also had the Eyewitness book on Japan which had a subway map, so were able to find our way around. You can also print out a subway map available on the web, The challenge was reading the tiny prints!

First stop was Roppongi. We emerged from the subway unto something called “Midtown Tokyo”. It looked like a fancy mall with many brand-name shops. We walked around, and stopped at a Dean and Deluca, where we tried out some green tea ice cream for me, and just chocolate for Kevin. There was a pizza restaurant which had a huge line out its door. It has a window where you could see pizzas being made and put into a big brick oven. There was a pet spa and shop where many pooches were being bathed and tended to, there was even a “real” dog being brushed after his bath.
street view of Shimbashi buildings
(small dogs are toy dogs to me, real dogs are ones which are of a size you can not easily carry in your arms!) We walked out to the garden terrace and to a small park. We were right next to the Ritz carlton hotel, but it was kind of cold outside. So we headed back and took the subway again.

We went to Shinjuku, first the East Shinjuku area. As we came onto the first landmark, Studio Alta with the huge screen on its front, it was obvious that this was a happening place, with lots of fashionable-looking young people walking down the main street and lots of shops on both sides. We went down a street next to the theater and then back toward where we came, and then down a side street to reach the Golden Gal alleys where tiny little bars line up almost shoulderto shoulder.
A sign saying tgv.co.jp
Since it was early afternoon, the bars are not in business. After a couple of these alleys, we went to Shinto shrine called Hanazono Shrine. A couple of small cherry trees had started
to blossom. A shrine of the fox god Inari was in the garden area. Several crows can be heard and seen, and they definitely sounded different from the ones we hear at home. After lingering the grounds for a whie, we went to the Toyko Metro Government office building in West Shinjuku after a short subway ride (it's good to have the 1 day pass for such short hops, no stress and convenient). The twin towers of the building is in front of a semicircle shaped building and plaza. It was quite impressive looking. If you like architecture, don't miss this if you are in Tokyo. There was a group of people demostrating outside the subway exit, singing and passing out flyers, and lots of uniformed guards or police were watching them carefully.
in a shrine near the Tsukiji fish market


Next is another building which caught my eye in the book, the Tokyo International Forum, a glass building whose roof is shaped like a ship's haul above an atrium of 60 m high! This place is used for cultral and trade shows. It was impressive to view from within the building. We took the subway to the Yurakucho station, and noted that even though it was about 5pm, there were not that many people on the subway. Later we figured March 10 must have been a holiday, it was definitely good to have our first subway adventure when the crowds were lighter than usual.

After visiting the internaional Forum, we walked a few steps and then we were in Ginza. We went into a building called 0101 and I suppose it's a department store and it had lots of boutiques inside, many selling women's handbags.
Big black lion deity at the shrine near the fish market
The last thing I need was a bag to carry more stuff so I just looked but there were many good looking bags in all sorts of colors. We also walked by some stores which puts blings on your cell phone or I suppose anything else you fancy. As you probably knew, Japanese girl or women really deck up their cell phones. There are also things they hang from the cell phone to personalize it. However, we didn't see any really tiny cell phones,
maybe because they want to play videos on them, it's no longer practical to make them real tiny. Some were thin, but they were all about the same size. It was getting dark, and the lights were a good show. A landmark in Ginza is the Sony showroom. It was fun to see what the latest Sony has to offer in the 5 stories of showrooms! I haven't been using a video camera on trips since my Antarctica trip, and the technology has certainly improved by miles.
water spoons below the black lion statue at the shrine
A tiny 1080 HD video camera with 120 GB stores 6 hours of HD video made surprisingly good 10 megapixel still photos too. They had “face” and “smile” recognitaion features and can snap a photo when you smile! You can also personalize your laptop cover surface in many ways and colors here, blings also possible. On the 8th floor they have a communications room where you can surf the net and also watch a large screen showing some movie on blueray. Back down to the street, we admired the large street intersection which allows crossing in diagnoal lines too, and a sea of people flood it at every light.

We were hungry by this time and started looking around for a restaurant to have dinner. Across the stree from Sony and the pretty glass building, we looked into a
side street and I spotted a restaurant sign pointing to a restaurant in the basement, so we ventured into it, Some handwaving and we decided it was OK to not have a menu in English, we would just have an adventure.
The shrine near the fish market, the black lion is to the left, and another big lion is on the right
The restaurant had a small river on the floor, and we went into some Japanese style booths next to the river, A bamboo curtain separated us and the next booth. So we definitely had ambience here! The waitress spoke almost no English, but we managed to order because I could read the Kanji characters in Japanese (which looked like Chinese, except not all meanings are the same). With the sound of running water accompanying us, we had a very good dinner even though the bill was not cheap in the end. It turned out to be only a five minute walk back to the hotel, we were pretty tired by then and concluded our first full day in Tokyo.

Observations in Japan (1), very few wastebaskets/trash bins available on the street. (2) There are so many food stores everywhere, you are tempted all the time by interesting looking foods.
map of the fish market area
travelman727 says:
Portia, i know you and Kevin are having a blast :-) As always, I'm enjoying seeing another wonderful country through your eyes :-D
Posted on: Mar 17, 2008
the_bloodsucker says:
great blog, as usual! ;-)

did you give in to the temptation? =D
Posted on: Mar 15, 2008
portia says:
Starbucks is Starbucks.
Kevin said Tulley's, a local store was as good as Starbucks.
no, we did not try any Fugu's, we saw some swimming in restaurant windows though!
Posted on: Mar 15, 2008
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view out of the hotel room, its r…
view out of the hotel room, it's …
The train tracks right next to the…
The train tracks right next to th…
Interesting concert shown on TV
Interesting concert shown on TV
bento box for brunch
bento box for brunch
kevins brunch
kevin's brunch
street view of Shimbashi buildings
street view of Shimbashi buildings
A sign saying tgv.co.jp
A sign saying tgv.co.jp
in a shrine near the Tsukiji fish …
in a shrine near the Tsukiji fish…
Big black lion deity at the shrine…
Big black lion deity at the shrin…
water spoons below the black lion …
water spoons below the black lion…
The shrine near the fish market, t…
The shrine near the fish market, …
map of the fish market area
map of the fish market area
inside the fish market, we were la…
inside the fish market, we were l…
one of the few stalls with some fi…
one of the few stalls with some f…
worker at the fish market
worker at the fish market
the mighty car in the fish market
the mighty car in the fish market
fish market
fish market
a dog in the window of a pet shop
a dog in the window of a pet shop
walking through an alley in Golden…
walking through an alley in Golde…
ice machine at the fish market
ice machine at the fish market
green tea and chocolate ice cream …
green tea and chocolate ice cream…
trendy looking girl at the Dean an…
trendy looking girl at the Dean a…
a cooking school!
a cooking school!
cooking lessons at the Midtown Tok…
cooking lessons at the Midtown To…
exterior of Ritz-carlton hotel in …
exterior of Ritz-carlton hotel in…
East Shinkjuku street scene
East Shinkjuku street scene
vending machines on a street in Ea…
vending machines on a street in E…
walking down the Golden Gai alley …
walking down the Golden Gai alley…
There are 3 bars behind Kevin in t…
There are 3 bars behind Kevin in …
The Hanazono Shrine in East Shinju…
The Hanazono Shrine in East Shinj…
The pulls for gongs at the shrine
The pulls for gongs at the shrine
A cherry tree blossoms in front of…
A cherry tree blossoms in front o…
wishes granted board at the Hanazo…
wishes granted board at the Hanaz…
close-up of one of the cards on th…
close-up of one of the cards on t…
path leading to the fox Inari shri…
path leading to the fox Inari shr…
Lantern with a fox design
Lantern with a fox design
A statue of the fox god Inari, the…
A statue of the fox god Inari, th…
there were a few cherry blossoms a…
there were a few cherry blossoms …
some nice pink ones
some nice pink ones
and with the shrine as the backgro…
and with the shrine as the backgr…
A fashionable woman on the street …
A fashionable woman on the street…
Color select is good on the cell p…
Color select is good on the cell …
another view
another view
Looking up at the Tokyo metropolit…
Looking up at the Tokyo metropoli…
the Tokyo Metropolitan Government …
the Tokyo Metropolitan Government…
the plaza in front of the TMG towe…
the plaza in front of the TMG tow…
the plaza building in front of the…
the plaza building in front of th…
people trying to take a photo of t…
people trying to take a photo of …
the TMG building
the TMG building
the demonstration outside the TMG …
the demonstration outside the TMG…
Ceiling of the Tokyo International…
Ceiling of the Tokyo Internationa…
interior of the Tokyo Internationa…
interior of the Tokyo Internation…
outside the Tokyo International Fo…
outside the Tokyo International F…
getting late at Ginza
getting late at Ginza
street of Ginza
street of Ginza
Sonu building and others with lots…
Sonu building and others with lot…
Another view of the Sony building
Another view of the Sony building
The colorful sony building and its…
The colorful sony building and it…
street of Ginza
street of Ginza
more Ginza, on the way back to the…
more Ginza, on the way back to th…
night street Ginza
night street Ginza
night street in Ginza
night street in Ginza
phone dodads on the subway
phone dodads on the subway
subway escalator
subway escalator
yellow bumps for the blind people …
yellow bumps for the blind people…
waiting for the subway
waiting for the subway
a subway train went by
a subway train went by
the one day subway ticket
the one day subway ticket
Tokyo Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Dining by a River in Ginza
We bumped into this restaurant Dining River in Ginza area of Tokyo. It has great ambiance, a small river runs through the restaurant! and you sit in J… read entire review
Tokyo
photo by: maka77