I’ve had a busy start to October travelling across Asia on business, taking in three countries and three cities in six days. One of which was Tokyo.
I won’t bore you with the details of my work trip but our schedule meant we could afford to have a Saturday in the Japanese capital for some of leisure time before flying back to London.
What on earth do you get up to in Tokyo when you’ve only got 24 hours to spare – where to start? Well my answer to that is the slightly strange but brilliant Kappabashi Street.
Kappabashi Street is a row of shops dedicated to selling everything a restaurant owners could possibly need, including rows and rows of plastic food which eateries use to advertise what’s on their menus in window displays. It is quite a thing.
I’ve never seen so many waxy looking food items in my life and I don’t think I will come across anything like it ever again! The sushi looked so real you could eat them. They had everything – life-size pints of beer, burgers, chips, hotdogs and more. You name it, they’ve got it.
After purchasing a few plastic souvenirs we headed to the famous Shibuya crossing. 60 seconds of madness ensued as hundreds of people cross the road at the same time heading in different directions as all the traffic lights turn red at the same time. You’re guaranteed to lose your friends if you don’t stick close together! I swear I was holding my boss’ hand at one point…
Shibuya is a very vibrant and colourful district. It’s great for shopping, full of bright neon lights and very trendy Japanese youngsters. It reminded me a bit of Carnaby Street with its quirky style. All the well-known high street fashion brands can be found here as well as a few vintage boutiques. Sadly no shopping for me though as the exchange rate meant there weren’t many bargains to be had. Sob.
We rounded up our day with an exceptional dinner at a place called Butagumi, recommended by my boss’ friend who works in the food business.
Butagumi specialise in a dish called Tonkatsu, deep fried pork served with shredded cabbage. It was sensational. One thing I know the Japanese are great with is food, and this place didn’t disappoint as you could tell a lot of love and care went into the preparation of every mouthful. Yum.
One place we were disappointed to miss out on was an early morning trip to Tsukiji Fish Market and the famous tuna auction. Limited spaces available to the public meant we’d have to get up and out of our hotel at 3am to stand a chance of getting in. We didn’t quite fancy that after a week of jetting around the continent.
This was just a tiny take of such an incredible city and I wish we had more time to explore, but what I saw of it was brilliant, busy, weird and wonderful. Tokyo, you are fab!