Saturday, November 20, 2010

Exploring Tokyo: a day out with Oinuma-san and Family, 14th November

Peter here;

I was treated to a wonderful day out with Oinuma-san and his family on Sunday, November 14th, as we headed to Tsukiji Fish Market, the Monjia Street festival and the Edo Tokyo Museum.

We got to Tsukiji by train via Asakusa and took a 'Water Bus', which looked charmingly Art Deco and arrived at the 'Water Gate' of the Hamarikyu Gardens; an Edo-period Japanese garden formed on a man-made island. We only walked past the gardens, but what I did see looked very beautiful, and I made a mental note to come back again.

Tsukiji Fish Market is traditionally best seen in the very early morning (because that is when all the fish arrives and is sold), which wasn't practical given the young age of Oinuma-san's family, but the market place was still brimming with life well into 11am, where we toured the stalls and stopped in for some very fresh sushi. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was the best sushi I've had yet!

While it was very tempting to eat the market bare, we were heading to Monjia Street to taste their food too!

I found a small website article on Monjia Street to tell you more about it:
"Monjayaki and Tsukudani are the most typical of Tokyo's "shitamachi" fare. Tsukishima is said to have more than 70 monjayaki shops and on weekends is thronged with people from Tokyo and even the suburbrs[sic] who come to savor the local delicacies. Tsukudani, prepared by stewing seafood in soy sauce and sugar, is also a typical type of Japanese keepable dish and was born in Tsukuda in the Edo era. There are still shops that preserve the secret recipe, attracting an endless stream of people who come from far off in seach of this treat."

When we went it was a festival day, so we were greeted by lots of music and a carnival atmosphere, accompanied by street dancers wearing either an awful lot or, er, not very much...

I would like to live here!

The Edo Tokyo Museum was a short train ride away. I wasn't expecting the size of the building though, it was massive!

Inside was amazing too, and seeing Edo-style buildings and models was a really joy- I love this style of architecture and it's fired me up for going to seek out more!

There was plenty of hands-on things to do as well, so thankfully the kids were just as entertained: particularly the grown-up ones...

Night soil buckets!

We finished the day tired and happy, with a long sleep on the Asakusa line back to Sugito. A big thank you to Oinuma-san and his family for such a wonderful day!

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