I decided to make the most out of the time zone change and woke up at 5 AM this morning to head to Tsukiji market, in hopes of eating at Sushi Dai. I had no interested in seeing the market again really – our visit there last time was enough for me. However, I had heard enough good things about Sushi Dai to make the early morning trek. I knew that I was leaving the hotel a bit late at 5:45 AM, but I figured that I would still be able to make it in to the counter before 2 PM. Yes, lines are that long.
Well, things don’t always go as planned. I arrived at Tsukiji to find it closed for a “fixed holiday”. This also meant that Sushi Dai, along with all other restaurants there, were closed. Lesson learned: next time, check the market’s schedule first.
So I decided to just move on to the next thing I was going to do: a visit to Zōjō-ji temple. You can read about my temple visit here.
While it was still really early, I opted to take the metro to Zōjō-ji instead of walking to make things easier on my back. I also took the metro from there to my next destination: the Imperial Palace.
Now, back in 2005 I visited the Palace and was seriously unimpressed. First, you can’t actually visit the Palace grounds at all (except for 2 days a year): instead, you stand on gravel and look at the moat. However, you can visit the East Garden at the Imperial Palace. Since I hadn’t done that before, I decided to give it a try and see if it would redeem my original impression of the Palace. I will not keep you guessing: it did not. While the garden is free, it’s not all that impressive. In my opinion, there are way better things to do in Tokyo.
After the garden I headed to Tokyo Station, a few blocks away, for lunch. Tokyo station has 3 floors of restaurants, and I was headed to “ramen street” for super creamy tonkotsu ramen (ramen with a broth made out of pork bones). Now, did I mention that there are 3 floors of restaurants? Well, my ramen recommendation came with the name of the restaurant (in English) and the floor. The floor helped (somewhat, as there are also sections to those floors), but the floor maps were all in Japanese. Eventually, I figured the Japanese name by bringing it up in Google map, and was able to find it on the floor map. In all, it took about 45 minutes of walking and wondering around to find the actual restaurant.
But was it worth it: oh yes! The broth was creamy, rich and delicious. The egg was perfection. The pork was tender and flavourful. This was different than ramen I had tried before, but in a really good way. I was blown away by this bowl of soup.
Here is the information you will need in order to get there:
Ikaruga 東京駅一番街 B1F in Tokyo Station.
See also here for a map and more information.
After lunch I knew that my back needed to rest, and that I had probably done enough for the day. I headed back to my hotel and grabbed some groceries for this evening. I figured that I would still be too tired to walk very far… It turned out that it was a really good idea, because by about 4:30 PM is started to rain, hard. I was quite glad to not have to go anywhere!
In all, I was gone from my room from 5:45 AM to about 2:30 PM. I took as many trains as I could, and sat down a lot. Still, this is Japan, and in Japan you walk a lot. Today my pedometer clocked in at 21,200 steps. At the estimated 2000 steps per mile, this means that I walked about 10.6 miles, or 17 km! That is pretty intense, and my back and right leg are not too happy with it. I still can’t fully straighten my right leg, and I feel as though a nerve is caught in my right ankle, preventing my foot from sitting straight. To top things off, my shoulder feels bruised from carrying my heavy bag, but there is nothing I can leave out of it. Clearly, I am not used to traveling anymore!
Tomorrow morning I head to Nagano, and so this should limit my walking a bit. Here is to hoping!