15 January 2015

Last Day in Tokyo and venturing to Hakone

I was sad to be leaving Tokyo - it feels like I have so much left to see and BIG stuff too. I decided to give the Tsukiji Fish Marker one more shot... Plus I had a special cafe to make it to.

Tsukiji Fish Market

On the advice of Inside Japan Tours (who organised my accommodation and transport, plus an abundance of information for each destination) I got a taxi to the market for 4.30am (actually 4.20am just to be safe) to wait for the office to open. The office is due to open at 5am and with only two groups of 60 per day, it was essential to be early.

When I arrived people were setting out their stools and there was an eerie feel about the place and I was (for the first time) a little cold as I wandered alone in the dark...

Despite the early hour, it turns out I wasn't early enough.

Another solo traveller, Jen the Aussie, asked me where I got my hot drink from (a vending machine of course) and told me that they had booked out the places at 3.40am - cheeky swines!! I felt cheated out of an experience, but mostly I mourned my lost sleep. I had checked out ready for my trip to Hakone, so I couldn't crawl back to bed to mope.

We wandered around the market and I still don't fully understand the layout - where you can go, which section of the market is which...
We got chatting and both decided we would go for sushi.

Well, my first sushi (although technically this may be sashimi?) went down a treat. In my lovely set was salmon, tuna, swordfish, squid (slices - no tentacles in sight) and fish roe (fish eggs). It wasn't chewy like I expected and with the rice it was surprisingly filling.

My advice is just go at 8.30am and have sushi before the market opens at 9am. Peek in to sushi places and follow the locals.

After chatting for a few hours, it was STILL early, so off we went to try and tick something else off the list...

Sakuragaoka Cafe

This cafe is otherwise known as goat cafe. I had tried finding the cat cafe to no avail, but this 'goat cafe' opened at 8am so there was perhaps time before my 9.30 train. Not. A. Chance.

This being Tokyo, no maps or directions are simple. We were sent in circles by locals, who seemed confused at first but as it turns out did know the correct area at least.

We gave in. I'd missed my train, Jen had missed the chance to go see the main fish market when it opens to the tourists at 9am and we'd invested a lot of time and kcals in finding this goat cafe. We just called a taxi near Shubuya station and gave him the address.

So here it was, the goat cafe - another disappointment. There were two goats in a little cage outside. You couldn't pet the goats or feed the goats, they were just there... And that was before we knew it was £5.80 for a small banana soy latte. (A coke was the cheapest option at about £3.70 - there was no escaping the prices

Underwhelmed and dissapointed at myself by 9am, the day did little to improve. I had to pay for an additional ticket to Hakone unnecessarily, as the guard got me on the train about to leave (but I had to pay the difference because it was a special train) and I was too tired and confused to even question it. He was trying to be helpful and ran to get me the right ticket at the machine in time for me to catch the train.

Cost: Various. Breakfast sets offer OK value at around 900 yen.

Station: Shibuya (F16/Z01/G01)

Top Tip: Unless you have wifi and maps I wouldn't try walking to the cafe. Get a taxi from Shibuya - it costs around 700 yen for the journey. It is easy then to find your way back to the subway.

On the train I did my crash course in Hakone and just couldn't get my head round the transport. It seems EXTEMELY complicated, especially without knowing where towns and area were, but BYE BYE Tokyo.

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