By day 5, we were into the 2nd half of the trip. We were really getting comfortable in Tokyo. Kinda wished that the trip will not come to an end so soon. One of my agenda is to visit some parks in Tokyo, but there were so many places to go and we ended up only visiting Ueno park (上野公園). Another park, Shinjuku Gyoen, was a stone throw away from our hotel but we didn’t manage to. What a waste, but there’s always a next time. 😉
I would describe my experience at Ueno as… perfect. The scenery was perfect. Lush and green vegetation all around. The weather was perfect. Lower 20c temperature and sunny. People walking their dogs about. Mums and babes walking towards the Zoo at the other end of the park. Alex zig-a-zagged about with no fear and clearly enjoying himself. Sometimes you know how certain feelings or smell can invoke a piece of memory. I think the feeling of cool, tingling breeze and the sun did it for me. Ueno is my wonderful place. =)
The cherry on top of the pie was a food fair ran by producers from other prefectures/states. We had a whale (tummy) of a time tasting the food. It was a very good way to taste food from other states without the cost of the railway tickets. The food was cheap too! Like 4 big scallops for 250Y and a thick chunk of wagyu beef-tori for 500Y. A while later with a protruding whale tummy, we went on to the other side of the Ueno park where there was a big pond to walk about. The spot didn’t give me a good vibe, and I can’t put my fingers to it why, but otherwise it looks great in photos.
We were using the free Tokyo Metro passes that came along with our bus tickets, so we could take as many subway rides as we want for the day. We took the subway to Asakusa, a few stations away to take a look at the ongoing sancha matsuri (三社祭). I always wanted to participate in a matsuri coz of the Japanese shows or movies that I have watched. It’s a quick way to be involved with the local culture and not to mention, eating the local food. lol. To our surprise or rather underestimation, there were so many people and we couldn’t take a clear look of what was going on. It was a stroke of luck that we chanced upon a small parade with kids practising.
How not to eat anything? There were food everywhere, though the pricing is more expensive than the food fair at Ueno park. E.g. 3 scallops at 500Y VS 4 scallops at 250Y. The nerve! Thankfully Alex had his fill at the food fair and was sleeping through all the commotions from the parade, so we were able to enjoy the Japanese “pasar malam” food.
After walking about Asakusa for a while, we headed back to Ueno station and visited another toy store and the… Ameyoko (Ameya Yokocho/アメ横). OMG, the place is a must-visit. You can find cheap and fresh seafood here, dried sea-food like kelp and top quality scallops, omiyage (お土産) for the family and friends. We pretty much bought stuff till we couldn’t carry anymore.
We were tired out and hungry. What about dinner? We headed back to Shibuya to seek out the sushi restaurant that was closed on our first visit. It was open, but the crowd…. it would take us 2hr before we can sit down. *le sigh* We decided to takeaway the food (from a limited menu) and headed back to the hotel to eat. The quality of the food was there and Alex enjoyed his unagi rice. I should say the unagi is definitely fresh (not like the ones in SG kept in frozen storage for years), plump and soft. It was a good meal nevertheless. =)