Tsukiji, Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo

Day 4: Saturday, October 13, 2012
We originally wanted to visit the Tsukiji fish market with a tour bundled with a sushi making class, but that was sadly sold out. However, since a friend helped fund this leg of our trip, we went on our own anyway to take some awesome photos and eat some truly fresh sashimi! Navigating the narrow and slippery alleyways was a bit hectic with forklifts zooming about, but it was a frank reminder that we weren’t at some fabricated tourist site but an actual bustling marketplace so central to Japanese cuisine.

The highlight of the morning was when we finally sat down at a tiny sushi bar near the entrance, called Yamazaki. Chirashi is the breakfast of champions! I tried otoro (super fatty tuna) and scallop sashimi for the first time! The shrimp was so sweet and fresh that it had a smooth, buttery texture — nothing like any shrimp I’ve ever tasted.

Pumped with omega 3’s, we took the metro to Yoyogi thinking that it’d be walking distance from Harajuku one stop away; we ended up walking a mile through residential streets, but it was a pleasant experience in a very cute neighborhood. Once we got to Takeshita Street, we stopped at Noa Cafe for iced lattes, chocolate cake (a la mode), and a mont blanc waffle dessert.

All sugared out, we walked over to the more sophisticated neighborhood of Aoyama and down Omotesando Avenue, which looks a little bit like LA’s Rodeo Drive, but with Boston’s Newbury Street shade and foliage. There, I got up close and personal with the Tod’s building and Prada building, glass and concrete structures we fawned over and studied so extensively in architecture school.

That night, we met up with Ryan’s friend, David, at Roppongi Crossing before walking over to a yakitori bar. That place was so crowded and popular that we sat on the ledge, conversing across a window. I tried horse and chicken sashimi for the first time!