2018 Incredible Japan – Day 4 Part 2

TOKYO – sushi, fashion and ‘incredible’ views

Time for lunch.  Red Leader takes us to one of the best known sushi restaurants – Sushi-Zanmai.  This restaurant chain is owned by Kiyoshi Kimura. 

He is famous for always buying the first tuna of the season – in Jan 2019 he paid $4.3 million for a blue fin tuna. Now that is serious money.

His restaurants are famous for their fresh food and as we arrive he is there to welcome us (well, his statue actually) and there is quite a long queue outside.  We finally get to go inside and then there is another waiting space for us.  Finally being shown to our table in the upstairs dining area we search the menu – I decide on some tempura and also am daring enough to try some sushi, under the saying ‘I am in Japan so let’s eat sushi’.

This was one incredible meal. Granted it is not large but it was filling and so fresh.  Tempura prawn, soft shell crab and snow peas – the sushi left me unmoved.

I am sure I ordered tuna but this didn’t look like tuna to me. Nevertheless it was an experience to eat raw fish – I am sure it is an acquired taste.  We have all enjoyed our meal and our tootsies have also enjoyed the rest but it is time to put our bodies into gear for our next fabulous adventure – Takeshita Street.

Yes, weird name but apparently this street is like Carnaby Street in London at its height – only this one is on steroids.  This popular street in Harajuku is known for wacky shops selling colourful crazy clothes and accessories to the younger generation.  It is a pedestrian only street so everyone just wanders all over the place.

It also a paradise for sweet lovers – fluffy, sugary crepes and animal ice cream cones.  Michael has his own chicken shaped ice cream – we are very envious. It is not chicken flavoured for those that are wondering, it is mango gelato.  I have found this link so that you can investigate all the other shapes and flavours – – amazing

We are left to ourselves to roam up and down being amazed at what we see.  Loads of people, and the small shops along the way – well, you have to see them to believe them.

Of course there are larger more common retailers – Maccas, The Body Shop, 7Eleven, but it’s the smaller shops that I find incredible with their weird array of clothes and shoes.

Mmmm – what do you think? I am temped to buy the pirate outfit but I can’t think of anywhere back home where I could wear it.

After walking up and down several times we are now on the way to Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku.

The entrance to this shopping mall is a kaleidoscope of mirrors that takes me several journeys up and down the escalators to get some photos without keeling over feeling dizzy – I am not the only one feeling this way.

Several of us go up one escalator and then down the other, only to go up and down and up and down again and again.

As it says on the web, the mirrors don’t just reflect all the visitors, they also reflect “the time and the season, for an ever-changing view.”

Designed by award-winning architect Hiroshi Nakamura, the shopping complex’s multifaceted entrance, which was opened in April 2012, looks like something out of a science fiction movie or at least out of the future.  Who thinks up these things?

In fact, is it just me, or is it hard to tell which way is up? Home to high fashion brand names as well as some smaller Japanese brands – it certainly is the place to be.  Enough of the mirrors we now head to the Tokyo Skytree.

Christmas in Japan is celebrated with gusto and even though it is early November the Christmas lights and decorations are everywhere.  Christmas songs play over the loud speakers and there is a feeling of good will toward men on the looks of all the faces.  The Tokyo Skytree is no exception to this. In the forecourt are lots of Christmas themes –

Not too sure about the get up on the female Santa’s helper! These stalls sell all sorts of food for those who want a snack either before or after a visit up The Tower.

Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting, restaurant and observation tower in Sumida. It became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010 and reached its full height of 634.0 metres (2,080 ft) in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower. It is now the second tallest after the Burj Kahlifa.

The elevator that takes us to the 345th floor is amazing and so fast.  There are a lot of people up here – but not uncomfortably so.  I walk around the entire floor and then decide on where to take some photos.  Unfortunately it is misty weather so we cannot get a view of Mt Fuji – but there are still lots of other things to photograph.

The misty outlook coupled with the blueish glass doesn’t do much for the photos – maybe when night falls it may be better.  Even up here the Christmas decorations take pride of place.

When it becomes dark then I concentrate more on photography – although I must admit I did enjoy just walking around and looking at all the people with their Christmas smiles.  It is amazing how many people now use their mobile phones for the ever present selfie.  They take numerous photos of themselves with a change of expression every 10 seconds.  I will also add it is not worth your life to get between them and their view.

Tokyo at night – the best way to see it.  The crowds are getting bigger and it is getting more difficult to find a spot for the tripod without getting bumped or snarled at.  We have been here for about 90 minutes so it’s time to regroup and head downstairs – but of course a visit to the souvenir shop for the usual fridge magnet.

Back out in the courtyard more Christmas lights, a huge polar bear and the Skytree is now sparkling away in its Christmas finery.

Below is the Skytree Mascot.  Of course, there is a mascot for everything and by the look of things, never underestimate Japan’s ability to have the cutest things going around.

The character’s name is Sorakara-chan, which, literally translated, means ‘From sky-chan.’ What the hell is a sky-chan????

The character was chosen by means of a competition run by Tobu Railway in which 28 advertising companies vied for the high profile branding opportunity.  You can read more on the link above.

It is still a relatively warm night as we head for some dinner.  We go to a large food plaza and then we can choose whatever we fancy.  There are a lot of restaurants and 3 of us choose one and plonk ourselves down.  I cannot remember the name of the place but the food was plenty and delicious – so much for just wanting a light snack.

We start with yep – cabbage – – what is it with cabbage starters?

OK – I must admit though, the cabbage does taste great when it is raw and thinly shredded.  Next comes the main course – Miso soup, Rice, Prawn, Pork Cutlet, Asparagus and a Cheese Ball all done in Tempura. Well, that’s a feast and of course I cannot eat it all.

Once we decide we cannot pack any more food in our tummys it is time to meet everyone and head for home.  We have had a big day and I for one will be glad to get back to the hotel, crawl into the hot shower and clean sheets.  But we still have a couple of train journeys before that can happen.

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