Day 2

Today the aim was to keep up the pace of sightseeing in Tokyo.  After a pretty lacklustre amount of sleep we then got up slightly late and grabbed breakfast at the hotel.  Very nice little apple danish things but nearly everything else was a bit mediocre.  I filled up on scrambled eggs and bread and got ready to head out.

First stop today was  a subway trip to Tokyo central station.  We rooted around in the basement layer (it makes the london underground seem positively simple) until we found the Jump Shop.  This is a small store selling merchandise for the mangas which appear every week in a large comic collection called Shonen Jump.  I’ve been reading a few of the biggest mangas since university and I wanted some toys.  Sadly, the shop was pretty tiny and didn’t have much that would be a good souvenir so we gave up and headed out to the Imperial Palace.

You can’t actually access the Imperial Palace but you can look at a few bridges and walls and get a feeling for the bits they aren’t letting you see.  It’s big, lots of trees, but it wasn’t that great.  From here we headed towards some gardens but slightly overshot and ended up crossing back over Ginza and into Tsukiji market where all the fish is sold daily for Tokyo.  We then walked round to Hamarikyu gardens which feature a sea water pond with a lock controlling the water flow into it from the bay.  The gardens were very pretty and you could see where the Shogun used to board ships when heading out of the city.

From here we hopped on to a river tour to take us north to Asakusa.  The main attraction here is Senso-ji temple and a five-storey pagoda which both look superb.  The streets nearby have a lot of stalls selling tourist items and food.  We grabbed a couple of fried pork and vegetable fritter things that tasted great.  We also offered up a bit of change at the temple in exchange for the hope of a good trip.  We stopped in a sushi place not far from the temple and ordered a variety of food.  Little did I know that in ordering 4 salmon maki rolls, I had actually ordered 4×6 rolls, along with some other food!  Lunch then became an exercise in man vs sushi and we gave it a pretty good effort.  Luckily for us the sushi tasted great.

We then made our way to Akihabara, known the world over for its electric town selling just about any kind of gadget you could imagine.  It was actually quite a small area but there were still a lot of maid cafes and girls dressed up as maids trying to entice you inside.  Then there were the shops selling maid outfits!  We browsed some hobby stores selling loads of figures and toys related to gaming and manga and then headed off to Tokyo Dome City.

The Tokyo Dome is where baseball is played in Tokyo and there’s also malls and theme park rides.  It turns out we arrived just in time to see some giant queues for Smap, a japanese pop group who were playing that night.  We were really here for the bigger Jump Shop so I could find some Naruto stuff (and I did!).  We also hopped into a Sega arcade nearby and I blew 500 yen on trying to score as many points as possible throwing basketballs into a hoop on a time limit.  It was really quite tiring but I got a score I could be more than happy with.  From here we headed via some unmentionable american fast-food back to the hotel for the night.