DAY 2 – The third article of the Tokyo Japan Series covers Day 2 of our trip last November 2018. It focuses on Asakusa, Ueno, Rikugien Gardens, and Akihabara.
Asakusa: Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise Street, and Sensoji Temple
Asakusa has this old Tokyo vibe to it. To best experience, head over to Sensoji Temple.
To get to Sensoji, take the train to Asakusa Station. From the station’s exit, it’s about a 10-minute walk to the temple area. Before going to the temple grounds, pass by Kaminarimon Gate and Nakamise Street.
Kaminarimon Gate (also known as Kaminari Gate) is the first of 2 large gates leading to Sensoji Temple. On the other hand, Nakamise Street is a 250-meter shopping street that stretches from Kaminarimon to the main grounds of Sensoji Temple.
There are a lot of souvenirs and food items sold by locals along Nakamise Shopping Street. I highly suggest that you try these food items as they are very delicious! I’ve tried a few and they all taste great!
Ueno: Ueno Park and Ameyoko Market
In autumn, I admit there isn’t much to see in Ueno Park aside from the withering trees and the leaves in shades of red, yellow, and orange. The park is extremely huge that we weren’t able to visit every part.
We spent a few hours in the park. My friends and I even saw a zoo within Ueno Park. We decided not to go in because the line was quite long.
As we walked around, we passed by the National Museum of Nature and Science. We think it’s an interesting place to visit so we went in. It also was our way of passing time while learning something new and exciting. Besides, it was super cold outside and we needed a place to warm up!
After spending a good amount of time at the museum, we decided to leave for Ameyoko Market. The entire Ameyoko Market street is filled with food stalls and stores that sell a variety of items. We didn’t spend much time here as the place was very crowded.
I personally wanted to visit Rikugien Gardens despite being far from the other places we had planned for the day. Based on my research, the autumn foliage in the garden was one of the best in Tokyo.
The garden has 2 gates – Someimon Gate and the Main Gate. In most parts of the year, you can access the garden through the main gate only.
Nearest Station: Komagome Station / JR Komagome Station
Admission Fee: 300 yen
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (entry until 4:30 PM)
Evening light up until 21:00 during autumn color and cherry blossom seasons
I made sure to be in the garden before sunset. To know the forecasted sunset, I highly suggest that you visit this website. Its forecasted sunset is close to the actual sunset.
We arrived around 4:00PM and there weren’t much people let alone tourists. I think this is one of the less touristy gardens in Tokyo.
To get the best view in this traditional Japanese landscape garden, climb the hill around the Togetsukyo Bridge, and walk along the maple lined canal that runs by the Tsutsuji no Chaya teahouse.
Unfortunately, the autumn foliage wasn’t at its peak during our visit. We spent around 1 hour and 30 minutes in the garden.
Akiba or Akihabara is the district for all electronics and otaku goods. In my opinion, you can find great electronic deals anywhere in Japan, but the best deals for otaku goods is here. The district is literally flooded with otaku stores that range from gundam to maid cafes. Anything related to otaku can be found in Akibahara. It’s your one stop shop for all things otaku.
I’m not into otaku but my friends are. I did enjoy the district’s colorful and lively vibe at night. There’s a lot of cute Japanese women dressed in maid outfit (hence the popularity of maid cafes). Be warned that these cafes are quite expensive and can be R-18!
We had dinner at a curry restaurant just in front of Akiba Culture Zone. I can’t find nor recall the restaurant’s name, but here’s the coordinates to the street in Google Maps.
After dinner, it was time to go home and rest. As we were on our way to Akihabara Station, we passed by a Pablo Mini store! I’ve heard of Pablo Cheesecake a few years ago but I never got the chance to taste it. They have a branch in Manila, Philippines but I doubt it’s any good.
Without seconds thoughts, I bought 2 pieces of Pablo Mini cheesecake (original cheese and chocolate). It’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted!
Important Note: Pablo is different from Pablo Mini. Pablo serves the regular size cheesecake. Pablo Mini serves 'mini' cheesecakes which in my opinion tastes better than the regular Pablo cheesecake.