tokyo day 01: flight, tsukiji, whisky, spa

Long day. Flight was at 1am so we were at the airport at 11pm on Thursday. Check-in and everything else were quick so we found ourselves sitting at the gate with 2 other 1am flights. The plane was full, and the crew turned the lights off as soon as the plane levelled at cruising altitude. We were given a sandwich box which we saved till we landed at the airport. Landed around 6.15am, we were out at arrivals by around 7am. We sat, had breakfast of ham & cheese roll, chocolate muffin and a few pieces of fruit.

My research told me to get the NEX express train, by showing our foreign passport we get a 50% discount for the one way ticket to Tokyo station. A good deal. Our hotel is right across the road from the station. 9am was too early to check-in, we left our luggage there and made our way to Tsukiji fish market. We were too late to see the world famous tuna auction or any of the wholesale activities, but there was lots going on at the market.

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We joined the queue for one of the small restaurant stalls for lunch — it took about an hour of queuing until it was our turn, there were lots of people and the restaurant only sat 12. We ordered hamachi, uni and salmon roe chirashi. The ingredients were fresh and we were pretty hungry, not as good as the fish in Hokkaido though. After lunch we had coffee in a very old-fashioned counter café. I had a milky coffee which tasted great even to this non-coffee drinker.

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Walked around the market some more, both the wholesale area and the more familar outside area with dozens of stalls and restaurants. Had a snack of tamagoyaki (egg roll) for only ¥100. Washed down with green tea.

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Walked to Shimbashi station and took the Yamanote line back to Tokyo station. Still too early to check in so we visited the department stores as well as the maze of underground shops at the station. Found an absolutely amazing liquor store with shelf upon shelf of whiskies, rum, brandy, vodka and all sorts. The best thing, they let you taste 10ml of many bottles for a small fee (¥100-200). We tried Amrut single malt and fusion — award winning from India and a Revival (3yr) plus Komagatake 10 from Mars distilery. All 4 are very unusual and hard to find. The Revival is supposed to be limted edition but at 3yrs it was like grain whisky and not worth the ¥10,000+ price tag. Our favourite was the Amrut fusion.

Dinner was tempura and soba from one of the station restaurants. We were really knackered by then, it was only 6pm. We went back to the hotel to find that they had already placed our bags in our room and everything was sorted. After choosing our pillows we made our way to the small spa to wash away the day’s dust and tiredness. Early to bed.