The trip started with Tokyo, so that’s where I’ll begin. I have to admit that I “prepared” for my trip by watching Lost in Translation, and I’d forgotten how great that movie was. We were extremely fortunate to have stayed at THE Park Hyatt Tokyo where the majority of the film took place. While we weren’t waited on like Mr. Harris, it certainly was the best service we’ve received from any establishment hands down. If you’re going to Tokyo and haven’t stayed there before, you must go. But first, sign up for the Hyatt Visa like we did to get two free nights (thanks for the tip David!).
I said we spent three days in Tokyo, but really, it was even less than that; we arrived Sunday afternoon and flew out Wednesday morning, so we only had two full days. On Sunday after we checked in, we only had energy to explore around the Shinjuku station where we ate quick curry at a counter then enjoyed pricey desserts before we decided to rest up for an early start at Tsukiji fish market the next day. The curry was great, and we were surprised it wasn’t orders of magnitude better than what we can get in New York. But the desserts.. they were perfect in taste and presentation. I mean, look at the menu picture and the actual dessert itself! I’m still not sure what flavor the jelly was, but it went very well with the kinako powder and vanilla ice cream. And the matcha azuki shaved ice made me a very happy girl.. even though it cost us nearly ¥1600. Pricey indeed.
Our first full day started at Tsukiji Fish Market, but not as early as we had originally planned. Since we were already packing in so much in our two full days, we decided to skip out on the 5:00AM tuna auction, but we still left relatively early to get our sushi breakfast.
Skipping the early auction couldn’t have worked out better for us. We stumbled upon Sushi Daiwa just after 8:00AM, and the line was so small that we had to double check we were at the right place! We only waited about 10 minutes before we got our seats at the bar, and as soon as we sat down, the meal continued at that pace. We were immediately shown a menu, but we didn’t need any because we asked for the ¥3,500 set.
The set included tea, miso soup, 7 pieces of nigiri and 1 maki roll. The sushi itself was pretty good, no doubt. The only piece that stood out as tasting significantly better than some of the best sushi we’ve had in New York was the otoro (fatty tuna belly). It was so creamy it melted in our mouths. Besides the otoro, we were impressed by how great sushi tasted and felt for breakfast. Filling up on lean protein to kick start the day makes perfect sense! It’s probably not traditionally done, but it was fun to try at the biggest wholesale fish market in the world.
After our morning at Tsukiji, we planned to shop around Ginza before our lunch reservation. We are big fans of Muji and Uniqlo, so we visited almost every store we saw in Asia.. probably at least 8 Mujis and 10 Uniqlos? Yikes. The flagship stores were fun to visit, but the 12-story Uniqlo in Ginza felt underwhelming compared to the 5th Avenue one in New York. But then again, that could be a good thing, meaning that they did such a fantastic job with the store layout, that all 12 floors were manageable and easy to shop. Tokyu Hands was another store I could easily spend days in. The kitchenware floor.. the stationery floor.. all the washi tape! Ahh, I’m still surprised at the self-control I exercised there.
Because this post is already getting lengthy (and I’m not halfway done with Day 2), I’m going to leave lunch and dinner for another post! The next post will cover lunch at a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant and our first ramen experience in Shibuya.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Building 5-2-1 (but don’t bother looking this up, just look for the lines!)
near the Tsukijishijo Station on the Oedo Line