Back to Ginza

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16 days in japan series

We woke up in our small hotel room in Osaka and, while I can’t remember exactly why, I know we had to leave soon. Maybe it was the hotel policy, maybe because we had to get our things out of the Tokyo apartment before check-out time, or maybe it was our desire to go back to the big city and make the most out of our day. I do remember that we got on one of the first Shinkansen very early in the morning.

We didn’t have much time to explore Osaka as deeply as we wish we could have, but our impressions from the day before and from watching the city rise for one more day was that it’s dirtier than Tokyo. Dirtier in terms of trash and visual pollution, but also in terms of the atmosphere and vibe you get from people. Japanese are generally very quiet and respectful, but the same rules that we saw in all the other Japanese cities didn’t seem to apply here as much.

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Arrived in Tokyo, we hopped on the Yamanote line so we could quickly grab our luggage from the apartment. On the train we started to get some unusual looks. Not the “these are foreigners” kind of quick glances that a westerner usually and naturally gets, but something more profound. For moments we thought that we were imagining things, or that our Osaka experience had tarnished our view of Japan…

And then we saw a man reading the newspaper. On the cover, the result of yesterday’s game: Tokyo’s own Giants had lost to the Tigers. Then I looked at Lena and realized she was wearing the Tigers’ cap in Tokyo. So we found people can be really passionate about their team. Even without saying anything at all. photo photo photo photo

It was sad to leave the place that had been our home for a wonderful few days. And such a beautiful apartment on top of everything else; so cozy and warm. Picked our stuff up, wrote a note to our fantastic hosts, and out we went as quickly as we got there.

In Ginza we dropped everything at the hotel, and went out for a walk before lunch. We visited a buddhist temple near Tsukiji market called Hongan-ji before heading into the market for some much needed food.

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In the outer market a donburi place caught our eye and we sat down. Lena went for an assorted shrimp donburi and I went all out on salmon. Salmon roe and salmon sashimi in a bed of rice, served with a bit of tamago, pickled ginger and shiso leaf, which is minty and earthy but very subtle. This was honestly one of the best meals we’ve had in Japan and for sure the freshest fish in the entire trip. photo photo
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The final shot

Hi there, welcome to my blog! I'm Filipe Varela, a designer at Automattic passionate about photography and video. In this site I post photos from my journeys across the world — a slice of life. Browse through the archive or check the homepage for the latest posts.

6 thoughts on “Back to Ginza

  1. Sayonara | mutelife* March 27, 2015

    […] place we had donburi a couple of days before was so good (and relatively inexpensive) that we went back to eat something different. The owner […]

  2. Tiago July 12, 2015

    How do you find this buildings in which you can go to the top?

    1. Filipe Varela July 13, 2015

      That was actually our hotel for a day, like we did on the first run —

      If you want to go way up high and watch Tokyo from above, I’d recommend:

      – Tokyo Skytree:
      – Roppongi hills:
      – Tokyo Tower: (which we didn’t go up on)

      In Kyoto, you’ve got:

      – Kyoto tower:
      – Arashiyama: (not exactly a high building, but beautiful view)
      – Kiyomizu-dera: (best view *ever*, albeit off center as well)

      1. Tiago Silva July 14, 2015

        Obrigado :D Pena que muitas tem que se pagar, mas decerto que algumas valem a pena.

        Já que mencionaste o hotel, eu o ano passado fiquei a conhecer o Airbnb por vossa causa, e desde então tem sido sempre onde fico a dormir em todas as cidades que visito, por isso obrigado já agora :) De qualquer forma, reparei que aqui pela vossa viagem ao Japão não recorreram sempre ao Airbnb. Posso perguntar porquê? Encontraram preços em hotéis que tinham melhor preço ou diferença mínima? Eu já tive a ver uma estimativa para a altura em que vou, e pelo é sempre sempre mais caro que ir para o Airbnb.

      2. Filipe Varela July 14, 2015

        Yup, no Japão são poucas as coisas que não se pagam. Até tempos e jardins têm uma fee que é irrisória, mas que utilizam para renovações, limpezas, etc. e que não custa nada. De entre esses todos que listei, aconselho vivamente o Skytree por se ver Tokyo de uma perspectiva completamente diferente, e o imperdível Kiyomizu-dera em Kyoto ao final do dia para aproveitar a natureza e ver um pôr-do-sol que nunca mais vão esquecer.

        Airbnb rocks!! Infelizmente, a oferta em Kyoto não é muito variada. A maior parte dos sítios que encontrámos eram a) muito longe b) casas tradicionais, muito caras. Os hotéis em Kyoto, regra geral, também são bem mais baratos que em Tokyo, portanto optámos por essa escolha mais fácil para estadias de 1-2 dias. Mais que isso foi sempre Airbnb.

        Portanto, dependendo da cidade, do bairro/localização onde queiras ficar, eu procuraria sempre primeiro no Airbnb e só depois em hotéis, como disseste. :)

      3. Tiago Silva July 17, 2015

        Kiyomizu-dera já faz parte da lista há muito tempo, por isso esse não perdemos. Mas realmente o Skytree, não é qualquer sitio alto, não todos os dias que se tem acesso a uma estrutura tão alta assim, por isso também se calhar se dá lá um saltinho.

        Ok, obrigado pela dica! Airbnb sempre primeiro xD

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