Friday, 21 November 2014

Tokyo with Zg Day 2, Asakusa, Sensoji, Sumida River, Tokyo Skytree, Rokurinsha Tsukemen

After a good rest, we woke up bright and early to take the train to Asakusa to visit Sensoji Shrine. It was very early when we reached and the shops along Shin-Nakamise and Nakamise Shopping Street were not open yet so we took the time to start snapping some pictures.

We reached the Kaminarimon which marked the start of Nakamise Shopping Street. You would recognise the Kaminarimon with the huge red lanterns and bold black lettering stating 雷门. 

Nakamise Shopping Street started getting more crowded after 9 am and people were filling the street fast, with crowds gathering in the shops and strolling along outside. It was a nice bright morning and the little traditional shops looked beautiful under a clear blue sky.

We bought mini red bean pancakes from this shop and they were delicious. The pancakes were bite-sized and shaped like the pagoda or the Kaminarimon. There was a machine at the back producing the pancakes steadily and when we bought a packet, we were surprised to find that the small pan cakes were still warm!

We definitely could not resist a Matcha Soft-serve so we joined the queue outside this tiny little shop and waited patiently for our yummy soft-serve! We tried to walk away and eat while strolling along Nakamise but the shop assistant ran after us and informed us that we had to stand outside the shop and finish our soft-serve before we could move on. This was definitely a cultural shift for us since we were so used to grabbing food and chewing while we moved along. But it also forced us to stand in a corner and savor the delicious flavour of the soft-serve. 

Strolling to the end of the Nakamise Shopping Street would take you to the Hozomon and the main grounds of the Sensoji Temple. The Sensoji Temple was bustling with tourists and locals, many were praying, some were seeking fortune lots in a counter at the side, and others were simply walking around exploring. 

We left Sensoji Shrine and decided to check out the rows of small shops away from Nakamise Shopping Street. Zg found a little shop selling deep fried beef curry buns!  He was extremely happy and joined the queue immediately. I just had to snap a candid picture of him approaching me, clutching that precious deep fried beef curry bun with glee. According to him, it was delicious. 

Shin-Nakamise was a covered shopping arcade beside Nakamise. Nothing much there though it was interesting to just walk about and check things out.

I did some research and found that Kaminarimon Kisuke was highly recommended so I brought Zg here. It was difficult to locate Kisuke since it was away from the main Nakamise area and when we finally found it, we were disappointed to learn that they had only 2 items for lunch! Since we were already there, we decided to pick one item for lunch. The lucky item was Oyakodon (chicken stew with egg on rice).

2-3-12, Kaminarimon, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034

Thankfully the Oyakodon was really delicious! Tender juicy chicken chunks with runny egg on top of fluffy white rice and a bowl of miso soup filled with vegetables.

We went to shop in the area and found Don Quijote. This large discount shop stocked all kinds of interesting stuff at great prices. I found an Omron massager for 4500 yen (including additional massage pads) which I bought for my parents. What a great buy! 

We took a nice long walk across the Sumida River to the Tokyo Skytree. The sky darkened considerably and it began to drizzle just as we were crossing the Sumida River. 

We joined the long queue waiting to buy tickets for the Tokyo Skytree. The wait was about 20 minutes and soon we were in a lift travelling at great speed up to the Tembo Deck (350m). You could pay an additional fee at the Tembo Deck to head up to the Tembo Galleria (450m) which was what we did but honestly the view did not differ much. 

The autumn design in the lift heading up to the Tembo Deck.

View from the Tokyo Skytree Tembo Deck and Tembo Galleria!

The Tokyo Skytree lit up at night and it was such a marvelous sight.

We decided to have Rokurinsha Tsukemen at Tokyo Solamanchi Level 6. Tokyo Solamanchi was the shopping mall at the bottom of the Tokyo Skytree and you could buy the famous Tokyo Banana from the shops here (they stock some limited edition flavours). We also checked out the shops which sold really beautiful stationery!

I  read that the queue at Rokurinsha Tsukemen was long and we came prepared to queue. Thankfully there were only 6 people in the queue when we reached at 730 pm so we only had to wait for about 15 minutes. 

Tsukemen! This was so awesome. The dipping broth was thick and robust with a distinct fishy-taste (in a good way). What a refreshing change from the usual pork bone broth! The noodles were slightly thicker than the usual ramen and they looked pretty similar to udon. These noodles soaked up the dipping sauce perfectly and when you slurp it up, everything was just fantastic.

Tokyo Solamachi, Level 6, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo Japan

After our meal, we lugged bags of Tokyo Banana to the train station and took a train back to Shinjuku!

Read about Day 1Day 3Day 4, Day 5,  Day 6 and Day 7.

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