Final day in Tokyo.
Final chance to visit Tsukiji Fish Market before it moves to Toyosu.
I did my homework, noted the ridiculous queues for the two famous sushi restaurants in the inner market and opted to try one of the restaurants in the outer market recommended by Picrumb.
We followed the detailed picture guide and found Sushidai quite easily. The only problem was I forgot to check the opening hours and assumed it opens as early as those inside the market. We were there at 8.30am. The restaurant only opens at 10.30am.
Not wanting to waste time checking for another place, we walked through one of the lanes and found ourselves in the heart of the outer market.
Fresh seafood and fruits were everywhere. We stopped by one of the roadside stalls to have our sashimi breakfast. Instead of showing us to the empty table, the staff gestured for us to follow him to the restaurant a few meters away. Apparently prices were the same and we need not sit in the cold.
We sat at the counter and ordered the much anticipated fatty tuna and uni.
The tuna totally melted in my mouth with a sweetest that was so good, unlike the rubbery aftertaste I usually get when I eat tuna back home. The meal came up to 9,500 yen for the six of us. That was $20+ per person. Considering the quality of sashimi we ate, it was value for money.
Bought a packet of mini crab to munch as we explored the market. Seeing a crowd gathered at a tamago stall, we joined in and bought one. My younger girl loved it.
The weather was great, sunny with clear blue skies. So with 2 hours to spare before we had to check out and take the shinkansen to Osaka, we decided to visit an attraction with a view – Tokyo Tower.
It was quite a distance from Kamiyacho station and a large part was uphill. Good thing there were clear signage all the way to the tower.
All of us wanted a glimpse of Mt Fuji. Can you see it? We were hoping for a closer view but it was far away shrouded by clouds. Well, our wish came true later.
If you go down one level from the main observatory, you will see glass panels on the floor. Look down for a totally different view of the tower!
Tokyo Tower shaped taiyaki from a stall beside the souvenir shop. I thought the custard tasted better than the red bean one.
A memento I got. The sign in the souvenir shop said exclusive to Tokyo Tower. So I chose the plamoblock over the more popular nanoblock. If you are interested, buy it at the Main Observatory official shop. The official shop at Foot Town did not carry it and it was more expensive at the other souvenir shops.
We took the train back and had to run to the hotel in order to check out by 12pm. From Sunroute Ginza, it was a 15 mins walk to Tokyo Station for our shinkansen to Osaka. Opposite the station’s Yaesu Exit was the bus terminal. My sister was heading back to Singapore and booked a seat on the Keisei Bus to the airport. The bus stop was not in front of the station exit but further down the road after Hokkaido Foodist, a store that specialises in Hokkaido products.
Our shinkansen was the Nozomi 231 departing at 2pm. We wanted to make sure all 5 of us would be sitting together, so last night after Disney Sea, we bought reserved tickets from the shinkansen office at Tokyo Station.
Would have loved to browse the shops at Character Street and Okashi Land found inside Tokyo Station but we needed to buy our ekiben (railway boxed meals). Since the shinkansen ticket gate was at the Yaesu South Exit, the nearest place to buy our lunch was Daimaru food hall. This was our second visit to a depachika and we were once again spoiled for choice.
The food hall had a whole section dedicated to selling bento boxes. My older girl had her eyes set on a beef and egg set.
The rest of us spotted the Maisen stall and bought a bento set, a box of sandwiches and a cutlet to share. Having missed the chance to have a meal at its main restaurant at Omotesando, we wanted to try this famous tonkatsu before leaving Tokyo. The verdict? Tender and tasty pork. Not exactly crispy as it was rather cold when we ate it. I could just imagine how wonderful it would be eating it piping hot at the restaurant.
These are just two stalls within Daimaru food hall. There are many more varieties of bento available. Alternatively, you can visit Ekibenya Matsuri, a store within Tokyo Station specialising in ekiben. For more information, check out Tsunagu and Hub Japan’s recent post on 15 ekiben recommendations.
With our lunch settled, it was time to board the shinkansen. Past the ticket gates, we bought our first of many Starbucks matcha latte before taking the lift up to the train platform.
Our train looked like something from a sci-fi movie.
Our seats were in car 13. We had to wait in line for a group of ladies to clean up the train before we could board. I took the opportunity to visit one of the many kiosks on the platform to buy bottled drinks for the ride.
Favourite fruit drink – Kirin Apple Juice.
The shinkansen sped off promptly at 2 pm. It took a while to get used to the fast speed. At first I was dizzy and barely ate my tonkatsu sandwich. After a short nap I felt better and could look out the window and enjoy the passing countryside. I was writing my journal when my husband suddenly exclaimed that Mt Fuji was on our right. I quickly turned and there it was, in clear view from the right window of the train.
Apparently my husband had been keeping a look-out after reading on Japan Guide that 40-45 mins into the train ride from around Shin-Fuji Station onwards, Mt Fuji could be seen.
Final shot of the majestic mountain. We were hoping to see Mt Fuji close-up at Tokyo Tower earlier this morning. So glad we got to see it on from the train.
We got off at Shin-Osaka Station and made our way to the subway platform to take the Midosuji Line to Shinsaibashi Station where our Airbnb apartment was.
We came out from the underground station and found ourselves beside Hotel Nikko. I was as usual lost. Good thing my husband has an excellent sense of direction and after a few streets, found the apartment building. And this was where our nightmare began.
We followed the instructions of the Airbnb host to retrieve the key from the mail box. But no matter how many times we keyed in the unit number and the passcode, the box refused to open. I tried calling the host but no one picked up. By then it was already dark and everyone was cold and hungry. My husband decided to try his luck. He squeezed his hand through the mail box opening and voila! He felt the key and got it out, but in the process acquired some cuts and bruises. We were so thankful and hurried up to the apartment. Upon opening the door, we were greeted with…
It was a disaster! For a while, we just looked in despair and were at a loss what to do. Finally, my husband decided we should have dinner then get new sheets and towels from nearby Daimaru. So we left our luggage and walked to Shinsaibashi shopping street. No one was in the mood for a sit down dinner so we ventured into Daimaru food hall, our third depachika visit. There was the usual sushi, salad and tonkatsu. Was getting a bit bored of these. Then we saw 551 Horai. Supposedly one of the must eats in Osaka, we bought bao, siew mai and gyoza.
Right after we left the food hall, the Airbnb host finally called. She apologised profusely over the phone explaining that there was a mix up in the cleaning schedule. Her cleaner tidied up the opposite apartment instead of ours. She asked if we mind changing units. It was slightly more expensive but we need not pay the extra. We of course took up the offer and arranged to meet her at the new unit.
The apartment looked almost the same as the previous one except this was spick and span. The host came with new towels, a bag full of freshly baked croissants and pastries and bottles of orange juice. She was so nice and apologetic about the whole incident. Made us feel really paiseh.
It has been a long and eventful day. Just happy everything turned out well in the end.
- Always check opening hours and rest days for attractions and restaurants.
- Be flexible in your itinerary especially if the thing you want to see or do is affected by weather conditions. We did not plan to visit Tokyo Tower but because of the good weather that gave clear visibility, we did and we enjoyed it.
- To view Mt Fuji when taking the shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka, choose seats on the right side of the train.
- Try not to arrive at your Airbnb accommodation late in the day. Allow time to handle unforeseen circumstances.