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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Asakusa

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Asakusa (Tokyo), Japan - 2015

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 04/04/2015 10:18:12

Finding accommodation in Tokyo is no easy task at the best of times, but when looking at our planned time frame it was taking ages to find anything at all. Turns out there was a medical conference which caused most hotels to be snapped up - presumably by attractive doctors with horribly dramatic personal lives. Because of this we needed to stay three nights in a hostel located in Asakusa - the second smallest room I've had the pleasure of sleeping in.

Teeny Tiny
Hard to tell from this photo - but we completely messed up the making of the bed. Who knew it could be so different?

There is a popular temple in Asakusa, Senso-ji temple, but I was more looking forward to affording my custom to the Nakamise market street. Armed with a long list of treats to hunt down and devour, we finished our walk with a satisfied belly and huge smile. There was ningyo-yaki (little cakes baked into various shapes), senbei rice crackers cooked on the spot and kaminari okoshi (an amazingly tasty snack made of rice, peanuts and syrup). Nakamise market street was also where I had my first "ice cream hamburger" where the cone was fashioned into two buns to make for ultra convenient ice cream eating.

Lana Lamps
The Senso-ji shrine - but that's not what you're after if you are reading this blog

Birdy Num Num
I ate the bird-shape first, before my conscience got the better of me

Ice Cream Cookie
So for those counting: ice cream taco, ice cream with a hat and now an ice cream hamburger

For dinner we had a recommendation from Aaron (a friend that has lived in Japan previously) to try out Hoppy Street for some good food and to try the local "hoppy drink" which is Hoppy Beer mixed with saki. I decided on Izakaya Koji because it had reviews extolling the beef stew - and I'm glad I listened to the internet on this one. We also had some fried garlic and leek as well as cheese sticks. It was all very delicious, and the hoppy beer impressed both Pao and I.

Hip Hoppy
Neither Pao nor I are big drinkers - but we both enjoyed this combination

One Of These Things
I always enjoy eating at places where I stick out like a sore thumb - as it should lead to some good eating

Aaron also recommended that we try out monjayaki - a traditional style of pancake - and as the initial suggestions were so good (and because Pao and I could squeeze in something sweet) we decided to give it a try. We couldn't find a restaurant that looked like it served sweets, so we asked somebody who took us to her recommended vendor of monjayaki. After being rushed inside and sat in front of a table with a built-in burner - it dawned on me that a Japanese pancake is actually a savoury meal. Oh well - second dinner.

Pancake Meal
Our server brought the ingredients and asked if we knew how to make the pancakes ourselves. There were instructions on the wall and we thought we might be able to give it a try - but we decided to let her show us for our first time. Such an excellent choice - it was quite complicated

It's starting to appear like all we did in Asakusa was eat - and that's pretty much true. We would generally travel to other Tokyo regions for the sights and then return to Asakusa for some food. One of those meals was a huge tick off my bucket list - fugu or puffer fish.

Skilled Hands
Pretty much everyone knows this classic Simpsons episode

I was excited to try a meal of puffer fish - but I was not so excited to die in the process - so we decided on Tora-fugu Tei which is a fancy chain of fugu restaurants that proclaim to have never killed a customer (at least, not due to their cooking of fugu). Good enough for me - Pao and I asked the hostel reception to book us a table. Once we arrived we found that we were given our own booth, with a much needed addition - foot space under the spot where most people kneel. Being comfortable while eating may have helped the food taste nicer - but both Pao and I loved the food. I liked the fried fugu the best (with the dried fugu skin a very close second), they finished the meal with an ice cream sandwich and neither of us died - what more can you ask for?

Foot Space
My legs breathed a huge sigh of relief when they realised they wouldn't be cramped all meal again

The first course of our fugu fare

While Asakusa didn't have much for us that wasn't edible, we both enjoyed staying in the area and would do so again (if a medical conference forces it).

This is the 5th in the Super Fun Chronological Japan Travel Catalogue series
GET 1 - Nikko, Japan - 2015GET 2 - Ueno (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 3 - Akihabara (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 4 - Ginza (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 5 - Asakusa (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 6 - Shinjuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 7 - Harajuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 8 - Shibuya (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 9 - Odaiba (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 10 - Kawaguchiko (Five Lakes), Japan - 2015GET 11 - Yokohama, Japan - 2015GET 12 - Kamakura, Japan - 2015GET 13 - Osaka, Japan - 2015GET 14 - Kobe, Japan - 2015GET 15 - Hiroshima, Japan - 2015GET 16 - Himeji & Nara, Japan - 2015GET 17 - Kyoto, Japan - 2015GET 18 - Iga, Japan - 2015GET 19 - Nagoya, Japan - 2015GET 20 - Takayama & Gero, Japan - 2015GET 21 - Sakura & Bonus Wrap-up, Japan - 2015

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