Akihabara in Central Tokyo is the centre for electronic good. A large number of buildings are dedicated to electronics including computers, gaming devices, electronic components and cameras. Besides this, the ever popular manga and anime culture is also glaringly displayed all over in high definition on the big screens. Manga and anime are comics’ depicting from futuristic science fiction to romantic stories. Specialist stores had opened up to cater to this growing culture. Young people even dress up imitating their favourite characters. It is a wonderful sight, adding more colour to the street scene. This culture seems to be unique to Japan.
“…the techno capital of Tokyo…..latest and greatest technology………without buying anything!” – Navindd
The district next to our hotel is Nihonbashi. I walked here after dinner one night. There were mainly bars and restaurants with neon light lit brightly all along this main road. A few well- dressed burly men stood outside of these premises. It was safe and the mood was relaxed. The location of our accommodation in Tokyo is well situated – near the Tokyo Station, surrounded by restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere.
This article is taken from my self published book – Beyond Sushi and Sashimi
After a ten hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, we quickly got acquainted with the much missed local food – “laksa”, “curry mee”, white coffee and toasted bread with “Hainanese” kaya. After a three hour transit, we were on our journey to Tokyo. At Tokyo’s Narita Airport, around 8pm, armed with a rail voucher, we headed for the Japan Rail office. We finally received our Japan Rail Pass in exchange. After a quick dinner of ramen and sushi, we boarded the Narita Express directly to Tokyo Station. It was a restful journey with views of towering buildings and neon lights. Tokyo Station was massive and throngs of people moved in all directions. It was 10pm. Restaurants and other retails shops were still doing brisk business. It looked like shopping mall crossed with a food court. Wonderful arrays of local delicacies were on display. People moved in all directions.
“The clouds, lit by the city lights, made it seem like the buildings were moving” – Navindd
Tokyo Station is massive with several major lines passing through it. The underground seemed like a district by itself. Numerous food outlets dished out delicious delicacies from cooked food, bento boxes, and “mochi” deserts to restaurants – all within the Daimaru building. This alone covered three stories! The aroma, sight and the rumbling stomach all come together here. This complex is massive. Mind you, there are numerous exits and pathways. Being lost here seems like a delight. The calls and smiles of the vendors is a wonderful spectacle. We loved it here. Something new is discovered daily.
Our hotel was a short walk from the station in Yaesu and Nihonbashi Disrtict. There were all smiles at the hotel’s front desk. Bowing heads and uttering “sumimasen” and “Dōmo arigatō gozaimashita”, were the norm. The room was smallish but adequate to fit the three of us, and very clean. We choose this hotel for its proximity to the train station. After shower, we dressed up in the black and white chequered “Yukata”, robes that were provided. I expected the weather to be cooler but in contrast, pretty balmy. Tired but excited to begin our family adventure in Japan.
“My first impressions of Japan were that it was clean, organised and friendly” – Navindd
Located in the bustling Marunouchi District, Tokyo Station is a fascinating place. Thousands of people move through it every day. This was our first gateway into Tokyo city. It has a wonderful array of retailers. From eateries including up- market restaurants to outlets selling clothing and souvenirs. At the Daimaru building, incorporated within Tokyo Station, a floor is dedicated to a variety of mouth-watering “okashi”, snacks. My favourite is “mochi”, sticky balls with sweet fillings. I was just spoilt for choice. On another floor, an enormous variety of food was sold – bento lunch boxes, cold seafood, dumplings, cakes, mixed greens and many more. Price ranged from ¥800 up to ¥1800 depending on the dishes. Generally bento lunch boxes are priced around ¥1200 to ¥1500 [depending on the dish itself]. Any dish with fish is generally priced higher. This is the most economic for the discerning traveller. We did splash it out at restaurants to get a wider experience of Japanese food. We loved these eateries at all the train stations. They basically cater for the train commuters to and from work as well as travellers alike. Other buildings nearby also have food courts in their buildings. How convenient for the people working in these and nearby buildings.
For breakfast, we surveyed the dishes displayed in glass windows. They were all fake. Plastic models imitated real food – noodles, meat, eggs, vegetables like carrots and mushroom. Prices were listed underneath each dish. A coin operated machine spits out a token of our order. We walked into the restaurant. A waitress came over and collected the token and few minutes later, steaming bowls and plates of aromatic meals arrived at the table. Salmon is popular amongst others. This set breakfast came with miso soup and are priced reasonably around ¥700 to ¥1000. By the way, the dishes and arrangement delivered to us were exactly as those displayed at the front glass window.