Day 8 - Ginza

Day 8: Tsukiji, Ginza, Odaiba Rainbow Bridge

The Historical Tsukiji Fish Market

We knew that the auctions of Tsukiji Fish Market ended in September 2018. I’ve read that although the inner areas were closed, and have shifted away to new and bigger Toyosu. However, there were also numerous articles mentioning that parts of Tsukiji were open; honestly it was mildly confusing. We decided to try our lucky nevertheless, anyway we’re already in Tokyo and our next stop after the fishy area was the nearby Honganji Temple.

It seems that the outer section of Tsukiji Fish Market was still open, and in full force. The streets and narrow alleys were still bustling with tourists! My only regret was not trying the very first Yoshinoya outlet when I had a chance.

Is It Still Worth Going to Tsukiji Fish Market?

Hell yeah. Think of it this way, Tsukiji is a world class icon of Japan with such a rich heritage. They can’t just uproot it and close its doors overnight. Probably take months to entirely transfer the operations to Toyosu. I guess. At least for now it is still a “touristy” place.

As we explored the area, we bought small bites from various kiosks. Everything was delicious, and we felt like we can never have enough food. And right after having our “street breakfast”, we had to stop for an early lunch. Almost all the shops were selling similar stuff, and similarly priced. It was either grilled seafood, very expensive sea urchin, or fresh sashimi (don). And so we popped into the one that we felt comfortable with.

Tsukiji Fish Market’s Neighboring Honganji Temple

Right after lunch, we walked to the nearby Honganji Temple. The exterior had a very unique mix of Indian and Japanese outlook. Inside the main hall, it does look very Buddhist, but also had stained glass panels like what you’d find in a church. Weird. Anyway our (my) objective was to look for Hide’s tribute. Seems that his museum closed back in 2010, and his grave is also apparently closed to public. This is the next best thing to look for. We took a long while to look for it, as it was simply a small corner in the huge temple. It was also semi creepy as we searched for it in the basement with hospital-like corridors. And morgues.

For all that don’t know who he was, Hideto Matsumoto goes by the stage name Hide, and was X Japan’s guitarist. And for all that don’t know X Japan, I’ve got no words. Basically Hide is the pink hair guy you see in all of X Japan’s MVs. Here’s a bonus MV of my favorite song.

Ginza Chuo-dori

On weekends, the central Chuo-dori street is closed to automobile traffic. The roads become a pedestrian zone and even have tables and chairs. Obviously we were here to do touristy things, a.k.a take photos in the middle of the cross junction. Other than looking around the main streets, we went to the world’s largest UNIQLO store. 12 floors of stuff, and we went up to get ourselves a coupley Mickey UT shirt.

Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station has a massive underground shopping street. What’s more important is the alley of cartoon character stores. And what’s most important is the Rilakkuma shop. Look at Minmin. She’s like in her own world! Nearby, there was a Calbee+ store, which we tried during our Osaka trip. These stuff will never be enough, we tried their chips back then, and now we’re gonna eat the fried potato sticks. Yummy!

Odaiba Rainbow Bridge

Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo bay, and to get there you’d either cross the Rainbow Bridge or take futuristic Yurikamome train. We chose to walk across because we love training our legs. From Shibaura-futo Station, it is a 5 minute walk to the base on the bridge. You can walk on either side of the bridge, but be mindful that you’ll have to take the correct elevator up to choose your side.

The wind up there was raging. Not to mention, cold AF. It was amazing how modern engineering has enabled such a mega structure to be built. It was like a highway, elevated. We took around 30mins to walk all the way to Odaiba. And we saw those fellas driving the Mario kart! Oh my, looks like lots of fun! Unfortunately we didn’t plan for it this round.

We read that the lighted up bridge at night will be very beautiful. We waited for a while and wonder why it won’t light up. Waited from dusk, till it was totally dark, but yet the bridge was still not lit. There was no reason that it didn’t light up, except for the fact that it really doesn’t light up everyday. Sad, disappointed at the same time! To think we walked so much only to miss this chance. We built some legs muscle nevertheless.

Pro-tip: Check the calendar of events first before heading there. In the event you miss it, check out the pictures here.

Kaneko Hannosuke at Divercity Tokyo

There was a highly reviewed Tendon shop, called Kaneko Hannosuke, and it is situated in the food court of Divercity mall. The food court looked very similar to ours. What is distinctly different is that every table had a bottle of alcohol spray and a table cloth. The Japanese diners would clear up their cutlery and wipe the tables after use. Can you believe this. We need this culture in Singapore! You would think the food at the food court is probably just of average quality. But no, it was damn great!

And so we read there was a mini Statue of Liberty here at Odaiba too. It was located right outside Aquacity, at the next mall. Well, the statue was puny and it had bad lighting. Not exactly suitable for night shots, it would probably be prettier in the day. To think we spent a long time looking for the actual location. Nevertheless we had a great dinner and the walk helped us digest our meals.

Tonight we headed back early to pack our luggage. With some chicken snacks from Lawson of course. We had to pack our stuff, and only bring two days worth of clothes to Kawaguchiko and Hakone. Very impressed by our hotel’s services, we entrusted our luggage to the receptionist, and we’ll meet the rest of our baggage at Nagoya directly. Excited, for tomorrow’s adventure to Kawaguchiko!