On the verge of starting our third day in Tokyo, we’ve spent the first two days touring the Ginza, Tsukiji fish market, Asakusa and Senso-ji temple and the Roppongi Hills. We are staying near Ebiso at the foot of the Roppongi Hills (a great residential area from which to launch).
First, let’s talk subways. So clean and organized. They are easy to navigate and have signage in English. You can pay as you go at the kiosks. Just find where you are and where you plan to stop and it will tell you the yen you owe on the sign for the stop. At the kiosk, press the symbols for the number of adults, children, etc tickets you need and follow the on-screen instructions and voila your tickets pop right out. Two tips: 1. Keep your ticket. You need it to exit ( there are fare adjustment desks to whom you can appeal, but just save yourself the hassle and hang on to the ticket). 2. Check the maps before you pick an exit, some stops don’t just drop you at an intersection and you aren’t necessarily just across the street from where the other exits are. There are guides to which numbered exit you need to take to pop out where you want, based on the sites you want to see.
The Ginza is a shopping district full of department stores, if you want to shop. You can get good eats in the basements and the top floors of these department stores. Well worth a stop.
After some shopping and lunch we wandered around Hama Rikyu gardens, a little oasis amongst many tall buildings. The garden dates back to 1654 and there is a large black pine near the entrance which was planted in 1704. There is a tidal pond with salt water fish and a tea house and lots of bridges and pathways. Worth checking out for a few minutes if you are in the area.
We hopped one of the boats from Hama Rikyu to cruise up the Sumida River and landed at Asakusa and visited the Senso-ji temple, the oldest temple site in Tokyo. It was founded in 628 and has been rebuilt a few times. The latest iteration built in 1692. Purify yourself with incense and water before entering to get the full effect.
Tsukiji Fish market deserves its own post and will get one soon.