Live Like the Locals in Japan
A few minutes stroll from the Monzen-nakacho station you’ll find the Hojo-in temple. The temple is home to Japan’s largest statue of the buddhist deity, King Enma. About 15 minutes from the temple you’ll come to the tranquil Kiyosumi Garden. This little garden oasis is positioned right in the center of the busy city. It’s the perfect spot to relax by a blossom tree and people watch! After relaxing in the garden head to Mikawa Zezankyo to sample some tempura for lunch. With views into the kitchen, you can see how exactly how tempura is made.
Ginza is one of Tokyo’s most famous shopping districts. Streets are lined with department stores, galleries and nightclubs. The district is a shoppers paradise and also has some acclaimed restaurants. If you’ve got time (and cash) to burn Ginza is a great place to spend an afternoon. One square meter in the district is worth over ten million yen. This highly desirable area has some of the most expensive real estate in Japan! The decadence doesn’t stop there, Ginza is also the home of three michelin star restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. The restaurant serves up some of the best sushi in the world. Even Barack Obama has eaten there! On the weekend the Chuo Dori street becomes completely pedestrianized for shoppers. For designer jewellery head to the 1932 Ginza Wako building. This clock tower is full of luxury jewellery stores. If you aren’t all shopped out Mitsukoshi is a twelve floor department store selling everything from food to fashion.
Kagawa is a great place to visit if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle. It’s a small prefecture which hasn’t been as modernized as other areas like Tokyo. It’s a great base for exploring some of the smaller islands. Naoshima, for example, is part of the Kagawa prefecture and is renowned for its modern art museums, architecture, and sculptures. It has sandy beaches and a sunny climate and is so different to urban Tokyo. Kagawa is also the undisputed udon capital of Japan. In 2008 there were 700 udon restaurants in Kagawa alone. Soba and Udon are staples of a Japanese diet, as well as rice. If cooking and cuisine is your interest, Japan holidays from a specialist agency offer gourmet tours which visit markets and cookery classes all throughout Japan. You’ll be a Japanese cookery expert in no time!
Get off the train at Akabane and you’ll immediately notice how busy the area is. The major train station sees people pouring into the area all the time. Akabane is only really an entertainment and food and drink destination. There are some small retail shops but little else. Head to Kawaei in the Akabane area of Tokyo for some great Unagi. Akabane is a foodie paradise and a great place to try Unagi, or freshwater eel. It is grilled over hot charcoal and covered with barbecue sauce. The dish is usually eaten during the summer when the humidity is unbearable.