Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tokyo, day 2 + 3

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
For our second day in Tokyo we went to Kagurazaka.
We had lunch at this okonomiyaki restaurant and it was so delicious. It was a small place, only a few actual tables, and like most of the guests, we sat up at the bar. The woman that was cooking made these savory pancakes on the grill right in front of us.  After walking through the area exploring all morning, this was a deliciously satisfying lunch. 



For dinner, we went to Ebisu Yokocho. Yokochos are small alleys full of different restaurants and bars. Most of these are somewhat of an indoor-outdoor setup. You can sit up at the bar, or at a small table. It was an incredibly lively atmosphere. Ebisu is the neighborhood where our AirBnB was, so we didn't have to travel far for this yokocho. There are various yokochos throughout Tokyo, and for the most part, we had dinner in these kind of alleys. 
We sat down at the only two free sits in the entire yokocho that we could find - it was that popular of an area! We ordered two beers, fried chicken, and salmon roe and rice. The salmon roe was juicy, but the fried chicken was out of this world. In Japan, we see a lot of fried chicken, but it's not like America's fried chicken. They are small round nuggets, but the breading has a great combination of spices, and for the most part, they use dark meat. The dark meat is so juicy and tender, and the spices in the breading are so delicious. I have to say, this was the best fried chicken I have ever had - and our friend in Chicago makes the best fried chicken in the entire city! 
It was a busy day of walking and exploring, so we were still hungry. We walked around the yokocho and found a busy place that specialized in teppanyaki that you make at a hotplate at your table. Of course, we had to try it. We only had to wait a few minutes for a table to clear for us to sit for dinner, round two. We grilled our own beef in a spicy sauce with mushrooms and cabbage. After all of the meat was gone, they brought out udon noodles for us to quick-fry in the remaining juices. It was so delicious! 
The next day, we hopped over to a road called Kitchen Street which is known for it's endless shops of kitchen items. Everything you could possibly need for cooking and eating you can find here. I went specifically with ceramic shopping in mind. I wanted to bring back some unique ceramics that were also affordable, in case they break when in my suitcase. There's this shop but I couldn't find it's name in English, but they had a great selection and I bought a few items for home. 
Not far is Tokyo Skytree, which isn't something that we were too interested in - we have skyscrapers in Chicago! However, there is a Studio Ghibli store! Since we aren't able to go to the Studio Ghibli museum on this trip, I wanted to make sure we were able to at least buy a find goodies. (If  you want to go to the museum, you have to purchase tickets three months in advanced, on the first day the tickets go on sale. We waited two or three days after tickets went on sale and the entire week we were in Tokyo was sold out.)
All of their Noface items were a bit too pricey for me to justify, but I did find some cute soot sprites that are small enough for me to bring back home. You can barely see my soot sprite that I'm holding in my hand in the photo above. 
That's all for now! I have a lot more photos coming, but Tokyo was truly over-stimulating. There is so much to do and see, and the city itself it very "loud" on all of the senses. After Tokyo, we spent a few days in Kawaguchiko, which is a little town in the mountains on a lake with Mt Fuji in the distance. It was some much needed relaxation after Tokyo. While there, I didn't upload any photos so there's a bit of a delay. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we're in Kyoto! It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving here, naturally. Japan doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving (duh) but it does celebrate Christmas so the city has been decorated with a combination of holiday decor as early as mid-November, as well as maple leaf decor - in celebration of their spectacular autumn! To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving, enjoy! 

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