Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with over 13 million people. The larger, urban area of Tokyo has over 37 million! This is an interesting fact on its own, but when you consider it’s one of the top 10 of the safest countries in the world it is amazing (according to the Global Peace Index).
There are not really a lot of touristy things to do in Tokyo unless you are into electronic gaming, anime, clubbing or rock concerts, but it still attracts a lot of visitors and is worth stopping at for a few days. I decided to see the following.
Tsukiji Fish Market
This is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and covers 57 acres. To limit tourism to the famous tuna auctions, only 150 tickets are given out at around 2AM for the 5AM auction. There is also one designated area where you can watch the trading and it’s very early in the morning, I was too tired after my travels to do this, but did walk the area late morning. It truly is massive and interesting just to watch all the men cleaning up after the morning trade. They estimate 50,000 buyers and sellers a day, so I can see why they discourage tourists from the wholesale trade.
With the tourism demand, they have opened some fish shops to the public and there are many restaurants, sushi shops and tourist stores in the area. I found an awesome sushi restaurant adjacent the market. I had to wait in line about 20 minutes to get a seat, and it was pricey at ¥2000 Yen ($18 USD), but melt-in-your mouth amazing….plus there’s the whole coolness factor of eating near the largest fish market in the world. Honestly though, the sushi in the supermarket tasted just a good.
The weather was steamy hot and rainy, so I opted to go to a few museums.
National Museum of Western Art – This museum is located in Ueno Park, so you can also stroll the park. I was surprised to see great art from Renoir, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Picasso and many more.
The Mori Contemporary Asian Art Museum – This museum is on the 54rth floor in the Roppongi Hills area. On good days it provides an amazing view of Tokyo and Mount Fuji in the distance. It was too cloudy while I was in Tokyo to get a glimpse of either.
If the weather was nicer, I would have taken the train to Mount Fuji, but they only recommend it if the weather is clear, as otherwise you can’t see it. You can hike it, but it takes 6-8 hours, so it requires an overnight stay in the area (the train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji is about 3 hours one way). Too much for the short time I was there.