Trip of a Lifetime: Day 14 – Tsukuji Fish Market, Onsen Monogatori…and the best steak ever

Today is our last day in Tokyo unfortunately. Our flight does not leave until nearly midnight, so luckily we have the whole day to get even more Tokyo in!

We started relatively early as we wanted to visit the famous Tskuji fish market.

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A map of the Inner Market

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Yes the tuna auction is supposed to be amazing but we didn’t fancy waking up at 4am to MAYBE get in to see it.  Instead we arrived at the market about 8:30 am and got some breakfast from one of the many sushi restaurants in the Outer Market. 

There were a few places that had over an hours wait – the place below had a 2.5 hours wait!

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Instead we thought we would frequent one of the quieter places

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To be honest when you are here, all the sushi you will get will be much better than at home.

Some free green tea to start…20170529_083306

And I wasn’t wrong. We enjoyed a couple of sushi dishes that were the freshest I’ve ever had.  The price was about £15 per dish which seems expensive for a small dish, but you are obviously paying for the quality

Bae had a nice, lovely selection of tuna20170529_084020

I opted for a sushi selection – crab, prawn, scallop, sea urchin, salmon, octopus atop a bed of rice. Never had anything fresher (though I prefer when chilled a bit more)IMG_20170529_085144_323

The Inner market did not open to the public until 10am so we walked around the stalls that sold everything from dried foods to knives to one stall that sold everything egg.

One of the streets of the Outer Market

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Amazingly sharp Santoku Knives – I wanted to buy one but didn’t know how to bring it back20170529_082040

Delicious Daikon

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Dried Mushrooms

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Very cute earthenware bowls!

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Even cuter rice bowls20170529_081900

Fresh veg – the familiar and the strange 20170529_081425

By the time we got done we still had a bit of time to kill before the Inner Market opened, so decided to walk the surrounding area.

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Some dried fish – the smell was…intense (and I like dried fish!)

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The area just outside the Inner market

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We walked around the outskirts of the market and saw a smallish shrine so went in to explore.

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Even in a busy area like here, you can definitely feel the sense of calm take over once you step through the gates (It is customary to bow before you pass through the gates)

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First you turn to the left and cleanse your hands and mouth using the blessed water and the provided long handled cup20170529_090905

The main part of the shrine; You bow, ring the bell, then throw your coins into the wooden trough in front.20170529_091219

Said a little prayer and got a small talisman  (200 JPY – got a small turtle and saying in Japanese)20170529_091409

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then walked a little too far out of the way!. 

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Luckily for me Bae has no issues with asking for directions 20170529_102909

Something that has been a lifesaver for us, especially here in Japan. (Proud men – get over yourselves  and ask for directions!)20170529_102908

We ended up walking through another cool part of the Out Market where all manner of fish and seafood was being sold 20170529_102339

So much seafood I had never seen before!20170529_102407

I take it they serve crab here..20170529_100834

Each stall had the tuna head they had previously bought at the auction that morning proudly displayed for all passers-by to see the quality of the fish they were offering.

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SELFIES!

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By the time we got back to the Inner Market people the buzz had died down. I honestly had more fun in the Out Market as there are so many rules and you are really not allowed to take pictures (seriously I was told off at least twice)

Around lunchtime we decided to set off to our next destination – The Onsen!

Bae and I do love our spas – I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of pampering. I have been fascinated with how people all over the world bathe and how it is a part of so many different cultures.

In Japan, the bathhouse is called an Onsen and they are dotted all over Tokyo. The one we decided to go to was a bit out of the way, near Odaiba – previously touted as the centre of Technology in Tokyo.

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Wish we had a bit more time to explore Odaiba – lots of attractions here!20170529_115045

The Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari is a really great chance to experience Japanese relaxation at its best.

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Sorry if you have tattoos, you won’t be allowed entry – you might be Part of the Yakuza you know!

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The trip there from Tokyo is about 25 minutes, changing lines one then there is a free shuttle that goes from Tokyo Teleport station every 25 minutes or so, the shuttle takes about 7 minutes and soon you are ushered in and instructions explained before you are able to pick your choice of yukata (Japanese light robe) to wear inside the Onsen.

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Much like any bathhouse, the wet section consisting of steam rooms, Jacuzzis and saunas are all single sex – no clothes allowed either. Form what I gather, the women’s section is more extensive than the men’s.

Bae and I decided to get our yukata on and meet first in the cooed section. 20170529_124010

This area is a large hall that is all decked out like an Edo Period marketplace, complete with restaurant, bar20170529_125206

Photo booth20170529_125201

Games, lots of shops and other cool things to do.   And of course, anime idols20170529_155445

The Photobooth is a must!img-20170529-wa0008.jpg

The sweet treats here are so pretty (and delicious!)20170529_133304

 

We head out to the outdoor foot spa area, which is the only “spa like” area that is co-ed.

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This is also decorated like an old Japanese garden and when you cross over the oh so cute wooden bridge, the start of this winding foot pool begins 20170529_132338

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you are supposed to follow I but we were having do some difficulty as every so often they have laid rocks down on the ground, supposedly to stimulate reflexological points in your foot. To me some of them just hurt so I cheated by walking alongside.

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At the end of the pool was a small hut offering fish spas – my favourite type of pedicure!. It was about £7 for 15 minutes and you sit in this big pool and the fish just flock and start munching away on your dead skin. 20170529_130824

It tickles a lot but your skins does feel great afterwards!20170529_130738

After we were done with this section we said farewell for a while and washed up in our respective sections. I always start with a scrub down, then work my way from warm to hot pools then plunge into the cold pool – it is a bit of a shock but your skin will thank you later!

The rest of the time we ate for a bit, had a quick drink and walked around exploring. I spy a Dippin Dots place and initiate Bae into the wonder that is Dippin Dots ice cream20170529_143256

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They had flavours here I had ever even heard of! 20170529_143115

We took a quick nap and then played some video games

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Bae even won me another toy! But not before I got totally thrashed by the 8 year old next to meIMG_20170529_152709

I really wish they had something like this in the UK – II think it would be really popular!

We stayed about 4 hours, then had to leave, although we could probably have stayed another 2 or 3!

Bae so relaxed he sleeping20170529_162718

However we had places to be and meat to eat.

We made dinner reservations through a website called Voyagin (£30 pp is not cheap but well worth it for the peace of mind) for a dinner at a Kobe Steakhouse. I did a lot of research and Hakushu stands up there as one of the best, yet still affordable (for Kobe!)

We took the train back to Shibuya and Google maps messed us around, potentially making us late and missing our reservation (we were literally going round in circles) then Base asked someone for directions and luckily; he walked us about 100m to the restaurant door (literally just dropped everything he was doing to direct us – the Japanese really are so polite!)

Hakushu is a small, family run steakhouse that still has the grandma cooking steaks behind the grill. It seats about 20 people total so booking is essential, I lost count of the number of people trying to come in and eat only to be told, we are full whole week.

You can see Grandmother in the back cooking!20170529_174928

Our waiter explained the menu very well and we picked a sirloin and a filet to sample – both are about 6oz each so not large, but its quality not quantity at a place like this.

He started by grilling some vegetables on the table and bringing us our various dipping sauces. We ordered a bottle of sake to accompany our meal as well as some green tea.

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Next came the steaks, they took about 5-7 minutes to cook and it was all done Teppanyaki style.

Check out that marbling!20170529_181628

When I hear people say it is like eating beef butter, I thought no way, they are exaggerating – now I know exactly what they mean.  The term “melt in your mouth” doesn’t do it justice.  I had to film myself eating it because words wouldn’t express how amazing the meat was.

In fact we enjoyed it so much that we ordered another steak, another filet.

Mouthwatering20170529_183307

The total for our bill, where were ordered three steaks, and two large bottles of sake, was about £200 for two people – I have paid more than that for what was not even 1/10th of the meal we had.  I think I  may have spoiled myself for life when it comes to steak – nothing will ever compare.

Deliriously happy from our meal!20170529_182716

 

The famous Shibuya crossing20170529_195212

We had enough time to stop for a romantic (but pictorially awkward) kiss on Shibuya crossing, 20170529_195050

Then back to Shinjuku to pick up our backpacks for the left luggage lockers  (LPT remember where your locker is!  there are many strewn across the station, and the station itself is the size of a small village!) and head to Haneda Airport.

Tokyo, this is not the last time we will see each other – I have so much more of you and the rest of Japan to explore. I did think we got a great sampling though considering we were only there two days

Tune in Tomorrow!

 

 

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