Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tokyo Craze - Part 05 (Travelogue / Tips)

Tokyo Craze Webcomic Guide 11 - Asakusa, Sensoji Temple, Kappenbashi

Tokyo Craze Webcomic Guide 12 - Tokyo Edo Museum

Day 5: Saturday - Asakusa, Tokyo Edo Museum

October 31, 2009

Went to Asakusa and took in the main shopping street of Nakamise here at the Sensoji Temple.  Lots of shops and tourists.  This is the first place I have seen lots of tourists.  I have seen a few in Roppongi, Shibuya, and Shinjuku there have been a few people too.  The gates are impressive and the main temple must be under restoration or protection for a long time as the scaffolding looked semi-permanent.

Place is packed full of Japanese and foreign tourists shopping for souvenirs.  There are keychains, kimonos, candy, roasted rice crackers (sembei), and other traditional treats for sale.  You visit, you brings stuff back for the friends and relatives.  Saw Takoyaki (octopus bits in battered balls) stalls and yakitori (chicken skewers) stalls too but no Japanese takers at the time so I skipped it.  Shopped for a few things on the street myself.  Bought a key chains, ornaments, lucky cat and some t-shirts.  Many Doraemon, Sgt. Frog, and Hello Kitty items to buy.  Busy shopping street that opens before 10, but most of the shops open later.  After wandering through the temple grounds looking at buddhas and shrines I walked through the streets around it.  Found a Taiyaki shop and had one right out of the pan.  YUMMY red bean filling and nice pastry! 

Ended up walking slowly to Kappenbashi, shooting photos along the way.  Found the street really easy and the internet tip map I found worked well except for the food models shop location. It looked like the shop was further north on the east side of the street than I expected.  Bought some hanging, paper (actually vinyl now) shop lanterns that hang outside the doors and door hangings you often find in Japanese restaurants.  Bought a 1:1 scale set of sushi in a little bento box too.  All types of restaurant supply stores here.

Walked back to the nearest train station then transferred over to the Yamamote line to Akihabara. Stopped for ramen in the station.  It was more filling at the place I went, but I don’t think it was quite as tasty as some (but better than what you get back home!).

Went to the Anime Center again to see the Kaiyodo Revoltech one day exhibit.  It was pretty cool and on a smaller scale, but it was still nice to actually see a hobby exhibit as I’d like to go to Wonderfest or something like that but the lines kind of throw me off.  The Anime Center is small, but it is packed full of merchandise and some life-size statues of anime characters such as Rei Ayanami and person sized models of a Zaku.  Could buy collectible, canned bread here in Fullmetal Alchemist and Macross Cans when I was there.  There was also an art show on in the building but I wanted to skip a fairly long line.  Went to Gamers and Radio Kaikan Building where the Kotobukiya store is.  There is a massive amount of Anime merchandise here.  The spaces are compact, but they are full of goods.  Almost bought another figure that was 10% off and a MSI Gundam that was on for 500Yen, but decided not to.  Got enough stuff.  I am waiting for the Revoltech ARX-7 Arbalest to come out.  It is anime heaven in the Radio Kaikan building.  It is a maze of stores with a cool staircase in the center that is kind of typical building staircase, but the design is cool as it kind of winds back and forth.  There are many shops and many are big like Kotobukiya, Volks, Revoltech/Kaiyodo, etc.  There is even a person-sized Evangelion Unit 01 on one of the floors.  Gashapon machines scattered throughout.  The building was hot and full of people on the Saturday so it was a little unpleasant to be in.

After this I wandered down to the Tokyo Edo Museum.  BIG! It is BIG.  Came of the wrong end of the platform again and had to walk all the way around to get into the museum.  Some very nice exhibits of old Tokyo.  I liked going through the traditional houses (take of your shoes), and seeing the recreated theaters and buildings.  Many dioramas, a full scale bridge replica, and there are many signs in English so you will have lots to read.

Tried an Ekiben at Shinagawa that night.  Fairly tasty, but I think I’ll go for something meatier next time, as I had one with more traditional vegetables and pickles. Also picked up beer, fruits and snacks at the supermarket.  Ekiben are a neat concept.  They are a chilled bento in a foam container that looks like real wood and can be pretty deluxe looking.  A real nice bonus for long distance train travel to have a nice lunch or dinner.

My suitcase is getting pretty full.

NOTE: I love the metropolitan train stations.  There are so many amenities in them and connected to them.  The stations are almost big malls with almost anything you want as long as it isn't an auto garage, or a Home Depot.  The department stores with their basement food floors and supermarkets are very convenient.  Fruit is expensive, but an apple a day keeps the doctor away...


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