And The Gardens Of Japan

April 8th, 2010

Day 80.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) the tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market was closed to the public for a month, so rather than getting there for 5am, we had a leisurely lie-in and got there at 7:30am instead.  The world’s largest fish market is definitely a place of buisness and the wholesale traders have little time for hoards or tourists that are only there to take flash photography and poke the tuna.  In the past tourists have been banned altogether but there seems to have been some compromise where the tourists enter at their own risk and the traders try to knock them down with small automated milk float type vehicles with metallic bumpers that would surely take your leg off if they managed to hit you.  All this said, it is an amazing place with every possible water creature available for sale.

Choosing tuna is an art form which requires a specialised buyer to make the purchase, though we’re slightly unsure how you can judge the quality of a fish which is frozen and looks like a tunified ice cube.  Just like beef, different cuts of tuna command different prices with the fattier sections tending to be more expensive.

A heap of frozen tuna fish

Fatty tuna loin

Not so fatty tuna loin

Some non-tuna items for good measure:

Mussels as big as a big hand

Nosey fish

We had breakfast at one of the popular sushi restaurants inside the market area where the fish was probably taking its last breath seconds before hitting our plates.

Yesterday it was cold and cloudy yet today it was beautiful and sunny (the weather is very changeable here in the springtime).  We realised we were in the vicinity of another tall building with an observation area so we once again took the opportunity to try and spy Mount Fuji, this time from the 47th floor.  The observation area in the Dentsu building was facing Tokyo Bay rather than Mount Fuji so one of the passing domestic staff took pity on us and took us into the restricted area and excitedly looked for Mount Fuji with us.  Alas, no mountain today.  It will give us something to come back for!

View from the Dentsu Building

From the Dentsu building, we spotted the Hama-Rikyu-Teien garden which, according to the guide book, is “arguably the lovliest garden in central Tokyo” so we took the express lift with a view back down to the ground floor (our stomachs followed us a few seconds later) and headed for the walled garden.

We were given a free audio guide to the garden and we learned about the life of the Shoguns when they lived there.  The garden is bound by the ocean on one side and skyscrapers on the other and water from the ocean is channelled into inland ponds to add the the garden’s beauty.

Hama Rikyu Teien Gardens

View of the Dentsu Building from the gardens

Safe hides amongst the flowers

From the garden we took a ferry boat out into Tokyo Bay headed for Odaiba, an artificial island which is home to an interesting mix of seaside leisure development, headquarters for a national TV station, and a mini Statue of Liberty.

Tokyo Bay

Superfast jet boat

Lady Liberty reaches Tokyo

TV building on Odaiba

From Odaiba we returned via monorail though suburbia back to central Tokyo and to Kagurazaka, the Hampstead-esque region of Tokyo with cutesie European cafes, gelaterias and boutiques.  Whilst looking lost (again) and hungry (as always) a kindly Frenchman who’d lived in Japan for 18 years with his Japanese wife helped us out and personally guided us to his favourite meatball shop and then to an ice cream parlour.

One Response to “And The Gardens Of Japan”

  1. Dawn says:

    Wow Annie this blog is amazing, looks like you guys have had a great trip, so jealous!!! Very entertaining, enjoy the rest of your time, will definitely be an avid watcher. Enjoy your naked little lady bathing today Dawn x

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