Today we started north, starting with a subway ride to Senso-ji temple. From the station, the walk to the temple is lined with shops and restaurants, and can get very busy. The temple grounds were also quite busy with lots of school kids (we were stopped for a short interview!), tourists, and Japanese visiting the temple itself.
We also tried two different melon pan (sweet roll) places. Delicious!
We still had an hour plus before we were scheduled to meet my friend so Eric suggested the Kappabashi area for some shopping. So amazing! Many, many blocks lined with shops selling kitchen supplies, including several ceramics shops. Somehow we only picked up two bowls and a bright red strainer spoon (which I have used multiple times since returning home) – we could have easily found more fun things to bring home here.
By noon we headed back to the Ueno area to meet my friend Hiroko who I had not seen in nearly 30 years!
She suggested lunch at Kurofunetei – on the 3rd floor – which does Japanese versions of other cuisines. I really liked my hamburger steak with fried egg and Eric liked his rice and chicken dish although he found the sauce a bit sweet.
We walked a bit through the Ameyoko shopping street and Hiroko pointed out the yuzukoshō paste I had on my list to look for. Considering the box was all in Japanese, I was grateful for the help! We wandered through some other shops and over to the park where we said our farewells.
Eric and I continued through the park where we happened upon a huge pottery expo. I looked through all the wares but we liked the bowls we already had better.
A quick trip to the massive lotus pond was a disappointment as were were a few weeks late for the blooming.
After charging our phones (and feet) back in the room for a bit, we walked down to the mammoth Tokyo Station to scope out food options for the morning and explore all the cuteness of Character Street. We had heard good things about Ramen Street, so after checking all the shops we narrowed it down to two with easy to read English menus and decided on Senmon Hirugao. No problem with the machine this time – getting better! The shio ramen was solid but we both liked the broth a bit better at the udon place in Ginza.
From the station we took the subway down a stop to Ginza, then made our way to the world’s largest UNIQLO. With 11 floors (!) it is not surprising that Eric found a few items.
After another long day, we tried to find a place to go out for a drink, but many places had outrageous cover charges, were hard to find, or had very mixed reviews if you were a tourist, so we just stayed in.