Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Arrived in Tokyo and was met by a man who looked like a Bond villain,who showed me to the train station where I exchanged my voucher for a Japan Rail pass and got my reserved seats for the next four train trips.
The Naraita Skyliner is like the Gatwick Express in all but a few details. It is cheap, clean, punctual, enjoyable and fast.Otherwise, little to choose between them. While waiting, the cleaningcrew cleaned the whole train in 4 minutes and it still left exactly on time.
As I’ll be doing 8-10 hours on trains in the next few days, I couldn’t wait.
Caught a cab from Ueno station to the hotel and got into a predictable muddle by forgetting that Tokyo taxi doors open automatically. Travelling alone has many huge disadvantages including a crazy premium and claustrophobic rooms. My room at the Asakusa View Hotel was depressing but as I had no intention of spending long in it, this was not a problem. The hotel is generally very good so don’t be put off – just don’t stay in a single room.
Headed out to explore the Senso-ji temple and Nakamise market. Fantastic fun, only slightly marred by 95 degree temperature and humidity, that and a few hundred thousand people. Bought some presents and took a lot of photographs. Then headed down the back streets and ended up in bar watching horse racing and having an Asahi Dry with grilled dumplings which saved my life.
Then crashed at the hotel and headed out at 7pm for some night photography. Tokyo is a night time city, its architecture, culture and energy comes to life when the light does down. Decided to have Fugu Sashimi (deadly puffer fish) for supper. Pleasant but not remarkable, I think they put a pinch of cayenne pepper in the dip so you think your lips are tingling. The cheapest dish was ¥1070 (£8) including a beer. Not bad but you get about 20gms so when I got back to the hotel I resorted to eating some rice crackers I’d bought in the market. washed down with barley tea. Not a great combo.