Sunday, May 13, 2007

Day 7 (March 17th) - Downtown Tokyo (East Part) : Ueno, Ginza, Tsukiji, Asakusa, Akihabara

Our last effective day in Tokyo was spent traveling the eastern part of Tokyo. We went down to have a breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, and followed Mr. Raymond's suggestion of walking to Akihabara for its closer station location.

We took a train to Ueno Station, which is just right next to the Ueno Park. The park itself is quite big.

It was not very crowded the time we arrived there, but it gets crowded around noon. It consists of several streets with big trees planted neatly on the sides.

I read about the predicted cherry blossom of spring 2007 and it was on Sunday (March 18th). I guess we are lucky, since we found some blossoming cherry trees in various sites of the park.

There is also a shrine (don't know whether it is a shrine or a temple, they looks quite similar...) inside the park. Another buildings includes some museum, some restaurant, as well as some other Japanese-style buildings.

Mr. Raymond called the station again and was confirmed that his backpack was found in a station which is located somewhere out of the town. He left to fetch his backpack and we agreed to meet in the Sony Building at Ginza.

We walked around the park and accidentally found a lake next to the park. At the center of the lake is another shrine, and leading there is a street full of traditional food stalls. We tried some takoyaki and a grilled squid.

While walking back to the station, I found a branch of Yodobashi Camera in there, and bought myself three lithium disposable battery (which cost awfully expensive compared to Jakarta, around 3-4 times in the price) as well as a new original Nikon lens cap (for this one, in Jakarta it is 3 times more expensive) replacing the one I lost in Athens three years ago.

Reading the Lonely Planet guide for Tokyo, I managed to find a traditional market just behind the station. Because it was already the time for us to go to Ginza to meet Mr. Raymond, we did not have the time to shop in there.

Another train took us to Ginza, and we walked a couple of blocks to the Sony Building. Mr. Raymond was already there and we entered the building, took a lift to the top and walk downwards.

The building's inside is shaped like a spiral, so we ended at the ground floor and exit through the main gate. It is a showcase of latest Sony products, ranging from high definition LCD TVs, HD camcorders, some camera with face-recognition, Sony Vaio laptops (with customization service), and many more. Inside is also a tax-deductible shop selling those products.

(Photo taken by Mr. Raymondus Kosala)

Ginza is another crowded business district. Somewhere near Sony Building is the Nikon's showroom, located in the Fujifilm building. We did not enter any other building though, as it is already time for lunch. We walked to the Tsukiji fish market, which is adjacent to Ginza. Confused in choosing which Sushi restaurant to enter (as mostly does not know English), we finally entered one. With the "point-and-eat" method we managed to order some plates of sushi.

To our surprise, sushi in there has the wasabi integrated inside, unlike in Japanese restaurants in Indonesia. Felix, who does not like seafood (especially raw ones), did not order anything. We went to a McDonalds after that for him to have his lunch.

As suggested by Mr. Raymond, we go to Asakusa. This time we have to use subway trains instead of the regular JR trains (that we usually use). Switching between trains from different companies was simple as most of them use the same ticketing system. We arrived in Asakusa just before the sun sets. There was an apprentice geisha passing by when we exited from the station.

Found ourselves lost in direction, we finally managed to the souvenir market (Nakamise-Dori, according to Lonely Planet's guide). The place was nicely decorated with lights and fake sakura branches.

To our surprise, there was also a shrine (or temple) by the end of the alley, which makes a good night shot. Andoko was asked for help of taking the pictures of these girls (again)

There was a couple of shops selling kimonos, and I managed to buy a kimono in one of them. Don't know about the quality, but it was quite affordable. Unfortunately, the shops selling packed nori (seaweed) closed when I decided to buy some (Nori in there is quite cheap compared to Indonesia, so I guess volumes does matter in pricing equilibrium).

Many shops closed at around 7pm or so, and we decided to go back to Akihabara (which we haven't visited yet) with another JR train. Just next to the station is the main store of Yodobashi camera, which occupied some 7 stories of the building, selling anything electronic ranging from laptops, cameras, PCs, computer peripherals, toys, even video games and Nitendo Wii. There was even some top-of-the-range professional-grade DSLR cameras available to try freely. I tried some Nikon D2H (which shoots incredibly fast in burst mode, some 5fps) and a Canon 5D full-frame DSLR. All kinds of the lenses and cameras are available there (at least most that I can think of), mostly with a demo unit available. Shopping is far easier over there, I suppose, as we can try the things before deciding to buy (not like in Indonesia...).

Out of the Yodobashi camera building, we crossed some streets and found a ramen restaurant. Ordered some ramen, which is not quite expensive. Finished with the late dinner, we walked several blocks to see the Anime center (which was closed, unfortunately). On the way back we found a cute Japanese girl (wearing some uniforms) singing on the street. To our surprise there was even a professional photographer (some Canonian with L-lenses) taking pictures of her.

(Photo taken by Mr. Raymondus Kosala)

The winds are very cold at night, but finally we arrived safely to the hotel (which is in a walking distance from Akihabara). Back in the hotel, I packed my things to prepare for the departure on Sunday.

Continue to Day 8

-Andrian Kurniady

(All photos are copyrighted, please ask for permission before reproducing)

1 comment:

Andrian Kurniady’s Blog » ACM ICPC World Final 2007 - Tokyo, Japan said...

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