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Japan

Tokyo

The Ginza

Tokyo is three hours and two trains south of Nikko. It is easy to get there from Nikko and the views of the countryside from the train along the way are worth the price of admission. If you like big cities then Tokyo is for you. It is really big with a population of 30 million. The population of LA County in 2008 was 10.4 million.

There are many attractions in Tokyo; not the least of these is shopping. If this is what you are looking for then the first place you have to visit is the area known as Electric Town. You can buy all sorts of electronic gizmos and gadgets there. Another popular shopping area is the Ginza, which is the up-market high-end shopping district. Because of the advertising lights and signs it is worth visiting the Ginza at night.

The Tokyo Fish Market

However, if you are looking for the really odd then you might want to visit a Maid Cafe. These are cafes, all around Tokyo, that have Japanese girls dressed like French Maids serving you coffee. They are supposed to act in a subservient manner to their guests, which are typically young male geeks. Everything is above board, but it sure is odd to have young women serving you coffee in this way. Viva la difference!

The subway in Tokyo is brilliant and can get you anywhere in the city cheaply and safely. If you want another unusual experience, and you like sushi, then take the subway to the Tokyo Fish Market. You must get there at the crack of dawn for the optimum experience. This is the market that supplies most of the fish to Tokyo; and believe me that is a lot of fish. The place is a madhouse of activity in the morning, with people processing and packaging fish and others buying and selling it. You will find all kinds of critters there, some you know, some you might have even eaten once, and others you will have no idea about and probably will not want to know. Once you have made the rounds of the market you will want to take part in the Tokyo tradition of eating a sushi and sashimi breakfast at one of the many hole-in-the-wall restaurants at the market. It is odd to eat raw fish in the morning, but it is so fresh and so good it will not take you long before you find yourself gulping it all down.

The Emperor's Palace Gardens

If you are looking for a more traditional experience take the subway, or walk 30 minutes from the fish market, to the Emperor's Palace Gardens. Once there the walk around the gardens is beautiful. In the gardens the hustle and bustle of Tokyo falls away; replaced by the peace, quiet, and exquisiteness of the place. There are wonderful birds in the Palace mote near the East Gate. A grand old stone wall surrounds this fantastic place. It is well worth your time to visit the Emperor's Palace Gardens.

Fish Market Video

We will continue heading south, in my next installment of traveling in Japan.


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