On Monday it snowed a lot in Tokyo. I was a bit astonished. The day before it had been almost warm enough not to need a coat and the next morning it’s bombing down with snow. It was serious snow. It was coming from every direction and almost instantly formed thick ice on the roads and pavements.
It was quite exciting at first to be out in such big fluffy snow. That excitement wore off in about 5 minutes as we were almost instantly soaked through and freezing cold. Still, we braved it and got the train to Akihabara, the electronics district, where there’s a restaurant that Nick wanted to try.
As we wobbled down the road towards Kanda Yabu Soba I knew we were in for a treat. A tiny little gem tucked down a back street, it almost feels like going back in time. As we approached, a lovely Japanese lady helped me brush all the snow from my coat and tried to dry it as much as possible with a towel before we entered.
We sat down at a regular table, although there was space around the edges of the room to sit at a low table on pillows. As it was so cold I had my soba noodles in a hot dashi (a type of broth) whilst Nick had them in a more traditional style, with the soba noodles laid on a tray which are then dipped into a cold broth. Both were delicious but the portions were very much on the small side.
When we were finished we headed back to the train station with the intention of visiting a temple. However, some of the lines had already been closed due to the snow and there were delays on many others. It was only 1.30pm but we decided to head back to the hotel and I’m glad we did as we didn’t get home until about 4pm with all the delays!
Given that the portion of soba we’d had was so small we popped into a Freshness burger on the way home. It was amazing. Exactly what I needed at that moment. I had a regular cheeseburger but Nick definitely chose better than me as his burger had huge chunks of avocado on top and I could easily have eaten several.
The next day I turned 25. I’m quite excited to be 25. The day was bright and sunny again which was nice and a lot of the pavements had been cleared of the snow by people shovelling it out the way so it was much easier to get around. We didn’t really have anything planned so we decided to go to Senso-Ji, the temple we’d missed out on the day before. We stopped for some gyoza on the way.
We were under the impression that this temple was going to be in the middle of a park, as on the map it was pictured in a big mass of green. So we were rather surprised when we arrived to find it surrounded by a touristy marketplace without a tree or blade of grass in sight. Needless to say I was glad we hadn’t bothered making the trip there in the snow the day before.
After that we walked back to Ueno station and decided to explore the park behind there. Again, nowhere near as green as our map had suggested, although at least there were some trees. We found the lakes and watched as some people held out their hands to feed the birds.
Just before we got back on the train we decided to explore an alley to look for some food, which turned out to be Ueno market. I wasn’t a huge fan of that either but Nick found some takoyaki (balls of pancake batter with octopus inside) which kept him happy.
Then we got the train back to Shinjuku and went to one of the big department stores so Nick could buy some sake to take home. We found a Yasube to eat ramen in for dinner. It’s kind of a chain but it’s one of the best ramens we had while we were there.
Our trip home yesterday was long and I was very glad to climb into my own bed with it’s lovely soft pillows!