Asakusa 浅草

On this rainy and chilly day we decided to take a few trains a bit further out from our Shibuya hotel base to Asakusa. The famous Sensō-ji Buddhist temple is the main attraction here.

After having seen a few Buddhist temples at this point in our trip, I started noticing a few cultural traditions. First, most temples have these large incense burners outside. People stand there for a few moments smelling the incense and fanning it towards themselves. It is said to purify the surroundings, spiritual cleansing and preparation for approaching the Buddha.

Another thing is an offering hall where they have slatted, often red, offering boxes meant for throwing coins into and bowing.

Ueno 上野

After a train ride to Ueno we walked through the large Ueno Kōen park just next to the station, making our way to Tokyo National Museum. Afterwards we went to find a restaurant called Ikenohata Yabu Soba we had heard much about. It was the perfect warm meal for a cold and rainy day.

Before leaving Ueno, I had to stop by a popular game store called Yamashiroya. It was filled with floors and floors of toys from model trains to Gundam and anime figurines.

Akihabara 秋葉原

The major shopping center for all things computers, cameras and electronics, along with anime and manga. Before coming to Japan I was told "if it has a charger, you can find it in Akihabara." So I had to make a stop here during my trip.

My first stop was a huge electronics retailer called Yodobashi Camera. They could fit several Best Buy stores into this store.

A few blocks further down into Akihabara and we stepped into an area known as Electric Town, though most tend to use that to refer to Akihabara in general. There were tons of bright buildings throughout in this area.

Roppongi 六本木

We then headed to Roppongi to be in time for our reservation at the famous Roppongi Robotaya. Surprisingly they had a website in English where I was able to make a reservation a few weeks in advance. We then had our hotel concierge call to confirm our reservation.

Roppongi Robotaya was a rather expensive but exquisite culinary experience. With only a few seats in the restaurant, you sit in front of the chefs as they grill then serve you dish by dish on long trays.

Fittingly, Roppongi is known as the international gourmet center of Tokyo in addition to one of the more popular night life and clubbing areas. The crowd here was generally younger and Roppongi has a large expatriate community.

And then I had the opportunity to make fresh mochi for dessert. It's a tiring process that goes like this...

Before calling it a night and heading back to Shibuya, we walked to the 54-floor Roppongi Hills Mori Tower just a few blocks away in Roppongi. Pay a few yen and you can head to the top "City View" floor for a nice view of Tokyo at night.