Saturday, 11 February, 2006

Tsukiji Fish Market

I got up very early this morning to visit Tsukiji Fish Market.  The idea was to see where the fish for many of Tokyo's restaurants is purchased.  I got there about 6:15 AM and the place was almost deserted.  I wandered around for a while and finally gave up.  Sorry to disappoint.  Please accept this picture of live eels as a consolation.

But since I was down there I thought I'd have sushi for breakfast.  One would think you could get some of the best sushi in the world around there, and not have to pay much.  Seven pieces of sushi cost me a total of $6.00 U.S.  That's incredibly inexpensive, and the fish was good.

I found out later that the reason the fish market was so quiet is that today is National Foundation Day--a Japanese national holiday.  According to the history books, it was on this day in the year 660 BC (by Western reckoning) that the first Japanese emporer was crowned.

I didn't have anything planned until noon, so rather than take the subway back to the hotel, I went for a walk.  I started out planning to walk just a couple of kilometers back to Hibya station, where I could catch the subway back to Jimbōchō without having to change trains.  But the weather was nice and I was feeling good, so I kept going.  I ended up walking the entire way back from Tsukiji to Jimbōchō--probably four to five miles.  It was great fun, and I saw lots of things that I never would have even known about had I taken the subway.

For example, I never would have considered visiting the Wadakura Water Fountain Park, but since I walked right by it I went ahead and snapped a few shots.

I also walked past and briefly visited Kokyo, the Japanese Imperial Palace grounds.  The area is huge, and I suspect that I could spend a whole day or more there.  I'll hold off and visit it with Debra when she and I are here together.

I got back to my hotel about 10:00 and had a couple of hours to rest before heading out on a sightseeing trip with our host and a couple of the guys I went drinking with on Wednesday night.  But I'll post about that later.