DAY 11: SUNDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2014
Coming closer to the ‘finish line’ after starting on this blogging project in December 2013. Altogether, it has taken me 5 months to get to this point. No reason to drag it out to 6 months and more since I have only 1 more full day to go (Day 12 i.e. Monday is essentially spent in airports/on travelling).
Could have planned yet another day trip out of Tokyo in order to fully maximise the value of my JR Kanto Pass (8300 JPY for 3 days). But I suppose the trips to Fuji Five Lakes and Kamakura/Yokohama would have well maximised the value I paid for the pass itself. Nikko/Gunma would probably be nice areas to venture out to for autumn leaves (Nikko) and onsen (Gunma) …… but did read on Japan Guide prior that the autumn foliage in Nikko is way earlier in October, so decided to save that for future trips 😛
Anyway had intended for my last full day in Japan to do the following – Explore Ueno Park and the nearby Ameyoko Market Street (for lunch & more shopping) …… Head to Meiji Jingu (if time permits) and then to Omotesando for a relaxing after coffee/dessert (and maybe Maisen tonkatsu) …… then to Shibuya to capture golden hour/sunset views photography + shopping (Tokyu Hands) ….. and then hop onto the JR Yamanote Line direct to Komagome Station to go to Rikugien for the evening autumn illumination.
First up, breakfast. Left hotel late (around 1045 Hrs). Initially thought of walking over to Tokyo Tower (estimate 15 min walk) via the traffic crossing to check out this distance to the nearest hotels (Celestine Hotel and Tokyo Prince Hotel) where the limousine bus stops at. But since I decided to scrape the idea of limousine bus, it was not necessary after all. Instead of turning right after the traffic crossing (as per my usual walk to the train station) …… walked straight instead and ended up chancing upon a Doutor outlet that just opened for business along a small street in Hamamatsucho. So this time round, I got my sandwich set, with black coffee proper 😀
Reached Ueno around 1140 Hrs, after a 20 min train ride along the JR Yamanote Line.
Decided to explore Ueno Park first before heading to Ameyoko Street as they are both in opposite directions.
Quite a crowd (even before noon), and basically the park consists of cherry trees (with yellow leaves). I guess Ueno Park is never well known for its autumn foliage. The park itself is huge, consisting of a few cafés (spotted a Starbucks), Ueno Zoo and museums. No plan to explore these places ….. So made a quick exit and headed towards Ameyoko.
Lots to see …… and not to mention, lots of people on a Sunday as well.
Walked in right to a accessories shop where there was a man standing up, shouting out to the passer-bys auction style ….. To a dried seafood stall (selling small fish) …… And right beside it a wet seafood stall selling fresh seafood! At the same time, also came across the Matsutomo Kiyoshi drugstore (same chain store in Osaka Station that I got the Kose Perfect Whip from), went in and brought 1 year’s supply-ful of Kose stuff (sensekei lotion, mask & spray). The Kose Whip facial foam was 100 JPY more expensive than in Osaka though ……
More walking through the 2 adjoining streets of Ameyoko as I came across various dried goods, tea shops, clothes shops and food stalls along the street. Lesser photos at this juncture as my concentration was on shopping & navigating the crowd which is starting to get more crowded.
Right across the end of Ameoyoko was Okachimachi Station – the station in between Akihabara and Ueno. Good to know that there was another option should I decide not to walk back to Ueno to take the train later on. After chancing upon another drugstore and getting the ‘wet’ masks that Mum wanted, it’s about 1240 to 1245 Hrs …… And time for lunch!
The plan was to check out Odeo Sushi as recommended by many food blogs, notably foodsaketokyo, for its cheap and good sushi. Went 1 round around the 2nd block, and one shop proprietor directed me to this sushi place. I walked in, asked the cute looking cashier (a young boy) is it Odeo Sushi, he nodded as well …… And so decided to sit down and have my lunch here!
Unlike Endo Sushi that I visited back in Osaka that makes fresh nigiri sushi omakase style (meaning chef’s choice) …… This is a kaiten sushi style restaurant, where the sushi is made by the chefs standing right in the middle and rolled into conveyor belts for you to choose. Unlike the conveyor belt sushi found in Singapore (Examples include Sakae Sushi, Sushi Tei, Sushi Express), all the plates here go at one price – 136 JPY per plate, irregardless of the type of fish. This is like $1.72 per plate in SGD terms! There’s also a huge picture right in the middle of the restaurant’s wall telling you the different types of sushi as well.
Was eating slowly and enjoying my sushi ….. While the patrons beside me (quite a number of elderly folks) were wolfing down their sushi quickly + most of them had an average of 10 plates, while I was starting to feel full at my 4th plate.
Guess the constant photo taking + dipping the rice wholesale into the soy sauce was such a Singaporean thing to do that a guy & his son seated beside me began to strike up a conversation. Turns out he used to be a Japanese expat in Singapore who relocated back to Japan a couple months back …… thus the good English. Father & son easily wolfed down 15 to 20 plates compared to my meagre 6 plates. But I was really really full after that, so as cheap and as fresh as the sushi can be, this was the maximum I could go! Of course, the fish is not as fresh as those in Tsukiji & Endo, but it’s really economical here in Ueno (due to it being a working class neighborhood) for more than decent quality food!