Saturday, 23 January 2016

Winter 2016: Day 3

The other full day in Tokyo started pretty late, no thanks to the previous day's load. Packed some bread from the hotel breakfast and decided to have morning coffee first at Starbucks.

Headed down to Tsukiji Fish Market. In their standards, reaching at 10.30 am is already more than 5 hours late. Nevertheless, I'm glad I made the trip. I've been to Tokyo six times and this is only my second time here. The first was way back during my very first trip. I think I appreciate the place more this time round. There are plenty to see even though we missed the auction action. The food streets selling dry items, household items, cooked food and freshly sliced sashimis. The Fish Market will be relocated in November this year. I wonder what happens then, to the shops in the vicinity - some of them looked like they have been here forever. 

Man at work
Mochi Stall
Antique Cash Till

Close-up of the vehicle used to transport goods at the market

Tamago cake

Scallop sauteed in Butter
After almost half a day in Tsukiji, we moved on to our next destination. But not before having lunch at Hala Luna - an eatery with a Halal menu. Luna Hala is located on the ground floor of Tsukiji Business Hotel BAN. The hotel is within the vicinity of Tsukiji Fish Market as well as the Tsukiji Metro Station on the Hibiya Line. I had this dish that had rice in a bowl and it was topped by chicken pieces, eggs and a sweet sauce. I'm bad at remembering names, so here's a picture of it.

Next up is the visit to the Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto Shrine. The Meiji Shrine occupies quite a large area with pretty expansive gardens of trees and greens. I've been here a couple of times but I was always lazy enough to not explore the gardens. Before I highlight a few things through pictures, I should probably mention those stuff people do here which are not captured on photo.

At the entrance, you'll notice a Torii Gate. I observed that the Japanese will bow before entering. You'll come across two of such gates. And on the way out, after passing under the gate, they will turn back, give a bow, and then leave.

On the way to the shrine, you will also see a shed with flowing water and ladles. It is the purification fountain. This is where they perform the purification ritual. First wash the right hand, then the left and end it by pouring some of the water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth with it and spit it to the ground.

When at the offering hall, visitors will throw a coin into the offering box (here, it is quite a big box), bow deeply twice, clap their hands twice, bow deeply one more time, before praying for a few seconds.

(Editor's note: These are the practice of the locals. Visitors will typically follow the rituals out of respect or for the experience. It is not a must to do all of the above. As a practising Muslim, while still holding a respect for a place of worship, I do not perform any of the above. The sharing is meant for readers who are comfortable with performing the practices)

Barrels of Rice Wine

Traditional Japanese Wedding

Votive Tablets where people write their prayers and wishes
After leaving Meiji Shrine, we did some leftover shopping in the area before taking a leisurely walk to nearby Shibuya. By now it was already close to 5.00pm. We have not really recovered from the previous day's exertion, so we decided this will be the last stop for the day.

It was a pretty long final stop.

What we eventually bought
At Shibuya, we spent some time in the Disney Store, Loft and the Supermarkets of department stores Seibu and Tokyu.

I have to highlight this point: It is a good idea to get sushi and sashimi at discounted prices one or two hours before the supermarket close for the day and have them for dinner. There are also cooked items that one can buy. Seibu has a fair spread of sushi and sashimi, but I find that Tokyu has a bigger spread and they have a large section for cooked food. And the food never fail to look so yummy and appetising. You will spend minutes, maybe more than an hour browsing through and find that you'd want to buy more than you can finish.

After getting our food, we took the long train ride on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line from one end, to the other end - Shibuya all the way to the 19th station, Asakusa.
The day ended earlier than the previous day, but it was still a pretty tiring day. Not to mention that it was the third and final night. Meaning, we needed to spend some time to pack our luggage to prepare for check out.

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