Thanksgiving in Tokyo, Part 1

I was so excited that Ryan and I were able to get away for a few days over Thanksgiving weekend.  We went down to Tokyo.  It was absolutely amazing.  It is such a busy city and full of life.  There is so much to see and do there.  We decided to have very little set plan and instead just wander around and get our bearings since we know this will not be our only trip down to Tokyo.  By high speed train it is about 3.5 hours away from us.  

So Thursday morning, bright and early, we headed for Tokyo.

We made it on the bullet train (Shinkansen in Japanese) by about 1 minute.  We were cutting it close because the local train we took to pick up the high speed train was a few minutes behind.  But, we made it!  The train is very comfortable and plenty of leg room (ok, I am short so there is always plenty of leg room).  There was even a lady walking up and down the aisles selling foods and beverages.  Once we got in to Tokyo station, then the confusion set in.  From there you can take local rail, other high speed trains or the metro.  We needed the metro, but without knowing how the whole system worked, it was quite a confusing ordeal.  We may have hoped a turnstile or two in an effort to get out (you do not show someone your ticket on the train, but you need to scan it to get out at the end destination station) and find the metro.  Then we discovered that we bought rail tickets and not subway tickets, and this confused us even more.

Have no fear, we took a short break, regrouped and found the metro.  We got in to the station by our hotel and came up to ground level to see our hotel right across the street.
It was too early to check in so we decided to scope out the area (Akasaka neighborhood) and grab some lunch.  What do ya know, right across from us was a Krispy Kreme.  Now, no one needs a Krispy Kreme, but when you have been living overseas for 2+ years and have not been in one in ages, it just seems to call out to you, and you do feel like you need to go in.  Plus, we had time to kill.
Oh, and the donuts were too cute to resist.
After a little walking around we found the Biz Building in Akasaka with a few restaurants, including Portuguese (they were charging $50 for a wine we used to buy for like $5 on the island), but we settled on Jim Thompson's Table, which is Thai food.
The lunch set meal started with a trip to the salad bar.

Mmmm, salad!
Ryan had the basil chicken.  I love that it comes with an egg.
I ordered the shrimp pad Thai.  Yeah, shocker there!
Then we walked around the area before heading back to the hotel.
I loved that they tried to make this area like Rockefeller Center in NYC.  Check it out, they made an ice rink here and then they had a tree in front.

This was right in front of the TBS building.  That is the Tokyo Broadcast System.  It's a pretty cool building.
On the way back we spotted the entrance to a shrine.  It was just there in between 2 big building.

While waiting I thought this was kinda funny, so I had to take a picture.  I know they are working but they were dangling there and so it seemed funny.
There are some crazy buildings in Tokyo so I did take some random pictures of some of these.  You will see them strewn throughout my posts about Tokyo.
Oh, and not just cool buildings that I took pictures of.  I also got some fun signs and things.  I have no idea what this one means.  
Here we are coming up to the shrine.

It was very pretty.  I liked that it was probably here for many years and the city sprung up around it.
Here I am at the one end of the shrine as we headed back to the hotel.  I have no idea what this sign says.  Oh well!
By then we were able to check in at the Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu.  I got a pretty good deal on Expedia, and it ended up being a great location for us.  Seriously, there were 500+ restaurants/bars/clubs directly across the street in a maze of what seemed like back alleys, although cars did drive down some of the roads.  Here is the room.  The only problem was that we asked for a non-smoking room and the place smelled like smoke.  We could not move rooms so they brought us some air spray and an air purifier.  It helped, but not a whole lot.
At least we got a fun espresso maker.

Here is the bathroom.  It was small, but not bad.
Plus, we even got a heated toilet seat.  This contraption is known as a washlet.  It will even clean your, well, your you know what, for you.
 Ah, this is funny.  Ryan bought a Crunky.  Yes, a Crunky.
Even funnier was that we had also bought some Godiva.  So now we had some high end and low end chocolate choices.
We headed back out after a short rest and took the metro down to Asakusa on the other side of town.  the main attraction here is the Sensoji Temple, but we will come back to that in a minute.  We really wanted to see the Asahi Brewery building.
 In the distance we could see this giant thing.
This is the Tokyo Sky Tree, which when finished will be the tallest tower in the world.  It is pretty darn tall.
Just in front of this is the golden flame, or sometimes called the golden poo, yeah don't ask about that one, just think about it for a minute.  It certainly is an architectural piece of work.  It is really the Asahi Brewery Headquarters building.  We walked there and took pictures but did not see much going on.
At least we had nice scenery to look at.
So we headed back to the temple.  Boy, this place is insane.  The walk in is filled with vendors of foods and souvenirs lining the walkway.

I wasn't kidding.  The shopping is insane and there are tons of vendors stretching all the way down.
Lots of good looking traditional sweets.

These are special candies that are typical of Kyoto and I had just learned about these a few days before.  I was excited to get to buy some to bring back home.
Check out these flavors for ice cream.

I am not even sure what this is, but I thought it was cool, and a little funny.

So we made it to the end of the shopping street, and this is looking back at the street.

Then we moved forward to check out the actual shrine.

 This is typical for the shrines.  You will find lit incense.
This is the inside.
It was starting to get dark so the pictures are hard to see, but this is a little waterfall in a small park like area.
Here are some pictures I took as I was walking around before we found something to eat for dinner.  Yeah, no turkey for us for Thanksgiving.
Can you guess what they serve at this restaurant?  I will give you a hint.  They don't serve dog.
We picked out Sushi Zanmai.  This is a 24 hour sushi restaurant chain with many locations all over Tokyo.
So, here is to a Happy Thanksgiving for us, in the most non-traditional way possible!


Then we stopped for some sweet potato flavored soft serve ice cream on the way back to the metro.
The last great picture of the night is this crab.  I wish you could see how cool this was.  The arms move around.  Too cute!
So that was our Thanksgiving Day.  How was yours?

More to come on Tokyo.

QUESTIONS:  How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?  What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?  What is the most non-traditional thing you have ever done for Thanksgiving?  Have you ever been to Tokyo?  


Astra Libris said...

WOW!!! Sooooo cool!!! How was the sweet potato ice cream? It sounds delicious! :-) LOVE all the amazing photos!!!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

mmmm, I'll have a sweet potato and chestnut love cake please! Then I want my bottom to be sprayed with water from the washlet. ha!
My favorite Thanksgiving food, this year, was the chocolate chip pecan pie! And of course, the turkey and gravy.

Unknown said...

Really neat pics Melin! You are really seeing the world :)

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