(This is the 6th entry in my blog on my trip to Tokyo. “Part 0” can be found here.)
After a day spent in “New Japan”, day 4 was time for a taste of “Old Japan”. We started the day off at a small restaurant new our hotel known for their Gyoza, which were incredible.
The meal came with pan fried gyoza, deep fried gyoza, fish soup, white rice, pickled cabbage, and an the unidentified off pink item below.
After lunch, we made our way to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
This garden is well known for it’s Cherry Blossom trees, which typically don’t bloom until February. However, we found one that had bloomed early, and it was a pusedo-celebrity in the park:
After the garden, we made our way to Asakusa, an area with the atmosphere of old Japan.
After passing through the Kaminarimon, you enter Nakamise, a street lined with shops selling Japanese souvenirs and treats.
At the end of the road, we found ourselves at Sensoji Temple, the most famous temple in Tokyo.
As is tradition, I added my burning incense to the burn pit, washed up outside, and made my way into the temple.
Photos are not allowed in the temple (good!), but inside we drew our fortunes. You receive your fortune by shaking up a canister which dispenses a stick with a number written on it. You then find a drawer that corresponds to that number, and your fortune is inside. Here’s my fortune:
After leaving the temple, we left Asakua and headed to Tsukiji (pronounced Ski-Ji), home to one of the world’s largest fish markets. We wanted to get some sushi from as close to the source as possible. We found a small sushi restaurant nearby and stopped in. The hostess communicated to me that they didn’t speak English or have an English menu, but that was ok, because we wanted Omakase (the chef chooses the best fish of the day).
Inside the restaurant, there was a group of two older men and a younger girl who spoke some English. The older men told us that they had been to America, and one of their sons went to Indiana University! The girl offered to take this picture of us.
Our Omakase featured 11 pieces of nigiri, and here’s our guesses as to which each piece is from top left to bottom right: Salmon Roe, Uni (sea urchin), squid, shrimp, eel, egg sushi, clam? (or some sort of shellfish), Yellowtail, chu-toro (medium fatty tuna), squid, chu-toro.
The sushi was very good, unfortunately, salmon roe nigiri is my biggest weakness made my stomach turn a little bit. The fishy/salty flavor, combined with the persistent popping of eggs is not my favorite. That aside, it was fun to put ourselves at the mercy of the chef.