Yes, as promised, here’s what went down in Tokyo!
If you want to know where we stayed and how we got here, Part 1 will guide you through.
First off, buying a train pass comes highly recommended. There are a number of passes available to tourists and non-tourists. After reviewing all the bus passes, train passes, and bus and train passes, we decided to get the Common One-day Ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway. Since our hostel was near to a subway station, we didn’t really need access to buses or JR Lines for that matter (although there was a JR station about 15 mins away).
The tickets exactly look like the ones on the right side of the photo below (credits to the owner) and are available in almost all ticketing machines. Don’t forget to press ENGLISH first. It costs 1000 Yen (500 Yen for kids) and is valid only on the day of purchase. Since we started early on day 2, we were able to maximize the pass and probably used the subways more than 10x (considering the average fare was around 200 Yen).
Our first stop was the Asakusa area. We strolled down Kototoi Dori for about 15 minutes and found ourselves hearing screams. Yeap, screams. In the middle of the city. Turns out that one of the oldest amusement parks in Japan, Hanayashiki, was there. If you ever hear screams while walking, you are on the right track.
After this, we just walked straight and ended up on Nakamise Dori which is a popular tourist trap. The street is lined up with a lot of shops where you can buy native Tokyo eats and things.
Using the powerful subway ticket, we boarded the Ginza Line, got off at Shiodome and walked to our next destination: Hama Rikyu Gardens. Shiodome Station itself was a huge building and offered fantastic views of the whole Asakusa area. Just cross the bridge and you will see a big park across. The entrance fee is 300 Yen. What you can find inside will make you forget the entrance fee.
Fields of (Yellow) Gold! Literally. What a sight. I can only imagine what the whole park looks like during the climax of spring!
Plum blossoms were blooming!
Now after the walking we have done so far, we were hungry. Good news! The famous Tsukiji Fish Market was nearby (maybe a 10-min. walk). Most blogs and guides say that it is best to go during 6-9AM and line up for auction passes. But, seriously? We are just in it for the sushi!
Sushi joints in the “inner” loop of the market are generally more expensive and usually cost upwards of 5000 Yen for a set. The shops in the outskirts of the market are better value and are of the same quality (they come from the same market!). The premium comes from 3 things: name, chef, history. This was from Ryu Sushi, if I read the characters right.
This was how our set looked like and it cost around 2500 Yen. As with most of the food in Japan, we were left wanting. (tummy still grumbling).
After leaving still hungry, we retraced our steps back to Shiodome. We wanted to use the elevated train (Yurikamome Line) to our next destination: Odaiba. In doing so, we were unable to use our train pass and had to pay 440 Yen for the privilege. It was worth it: the train will give you breathtaking 360-degree views of Tokyo Bay.
Alight at any station after the bridge. The whole island is pretty much walk-able and will take a better part of your day.
Palette Town had a nice mall named Venus Fort (will keep the females occupied) and an amusement park to boot. Furthermore, Toyota’s Mega Web (will render males unconscious) theme park was here! In here, you can test drive (if you have an international permit) virtually anything from Toyota’s current vehicle roster, see a sea of Toyotas, buy limited edition racing stuff, and browse through a curated historical garage.
Due to the sheer amount of things to do in this island-city, we were unable to visit SEGA Tokyo Joypolis, Leisure Land, and a whoooole lot more. I highly recommend setting aside a full day (AM-PM) if you want to visit all of the spots.
It was a lof of fun, Odaiba!
That’s it for part 2 which pretty much covers the Asakusa and Odaiba areas.