Day 6–さよなら東京 (Sayonara Tokyo!)

Our last day in Tokyo was sadly uneventful. We spontaneously awoke at 6:30—perhaps because we were both nervous about getting everything in order for the next leg of the trip. (I am writing this on the Keisei train to Narita Airport, actually.) After cleaning up, we dragged our luggage downstairs to store at the front desk.

We thought spending the morning at the Imperial Palace in Marunouchi (just to the west of Tokyo station) would be a nice way to end our stay in this fantastic city. We were wrong. Both of us agree that there is really little to recommend this part of town. The area around the station could be mistaken for downtown Omaha—or any financial district anywhere.

A monument to a national hero... Pac-man!

We wandered around trying to find an entrance (most of them are closed to the public) before coming to the East Gardens Gate.The problem with the Imperial Palace is that everything that might have been of interest here was destroyed in World War II, including the original palace itself. The museum in the East Gardens has some of the remaining scraps of tapestries and illustrations of floors and ceiling designs. Not only that, but the palace had been built in the late 1880s, and it was an attempt to Westernize the capital, so everything in it was an imitation of European luxury. In a word, the park and museum are a snooze. Even the gardens, which we were imagining to be tranquil and lush, were sterile and boring. In short, if you have one morning left in Tokyo and you haven’t seen Marounichi, you’re not missing much.

Misou’s obsession for little Japanese pancake balls led us back to Harajuku. Unfortunately, the guy who sells them is only there on weekends. So we wandered back down into Omotesando. Lucky for us, we stumbled upon an underground lunch spot that we might have easily overlooked.

Jingumae wins our “Holy Shit, Look How Much Food You Get for 850 Yen!” Award. Ordering off of “Ippo’s Fixed Lunch Menu,” Misou got a big bowl of udon with delicious tempura pork (which tasted like a deep-fried hybrid of bacon and ham), a bowl of rice covered in shredded salmon and spicy roe paste, while I got ten pieces of sashimi, a bowl of white rice, and a cup of miso. I would have been content with my glass of mugicha (roasted barley tea), but since I hadn’t had sake since arriving in Japan I had to get a glass… If you’re in Shibuya and it’s lunchtime, you should definitely check out Jingumae (located in the basement across from the street sign for Shibuya-ku Jingumae 6-chome 9).

Next up, as we leave Japan behind, a recap…

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6 thoughts on “Day 6–さよなら東京 (Sayonara Tokyo!)

  1. I love that you sound most excited and give the most detail when you are talking about the food you ate 😉 You guys are eating your way across Asia…cant wait to see what’s next on the menu!! xoxo

    1. For me, the excitement of trying out two new languages is second only to stuffing my face full of delicious new foods. The great thing so far has been that, even with dishes we’ve had hundreds of times in the US, here we are getting to sample the authentic versions, which makes them all seem new again. For example, I’ve heard for ages that sushi in the US simply doesn’t compare to what you get in Japan, and it really is true. (Though I do think that there are places in DC, New York, etc., that do get it right–there it’s more a question of the range of the menu and the price.)

      If you like the Tokyo food pics, you are going to love our Vietnam posts. Just this morning we had a nice little noodle breakfast at a Cambodian-ish joint around the corner with Misou’s aunt and cousin. The coffee here is insanely delicious, too, by the way. All this and more in the coming posts….

    1. We managed to sample almost everything on our mental list: sushi, chirashi, sashimi, okonomiyaki, yakitori, gyoza, soba, udon, ramen, curry, and several dishes we did not even realize existed. (We did miss shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, but we had a great mash-up of them at Sushi Taro in Washington, DC, shortly before we left.) This trip proved to be a wonderful introduction to Japanese cuisine, especially the stuff one rarely finds in the US. Next, we’ll be eating our way up and down Vietnam. We’ve only been here two days and we’ve already done considerable culinary damage…

  2. Hey–it’s snowing here! Crazy weather this year. Can’t wait to see photos of Vietnam. The food looks sooooo delicious in Japan. How much weight have you guys gained!!! Love you lots

    1. I don’t think we gained any in Japan, but we sure to here in Vietnam, what with all food Misou’s aunt keeps giving us!

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