Waking up early with the Japanese sun leads to many nice and surprising trips. We could start using our JR passes today, so we decided to make good use of them and ride the train to visit Ueno, Akihabara and Tokyo (the Metropolis).
After a quick breakfast in our neighbourhood Harajuku we hoped on the train for a 30 minute ride until Ueno. The plan was to get out of the station and go straight to the Ueno Zoo, but plans change and ours sure did when we saw the amazing street market and the incredible looking restaurants outside the station.
We wandered around for quite a while, taking in the pure local untarnished life of the Japanese. Fish stands selling the most amazing octopus, eels and crabs, right next to perfumes and beauty products, next to seaweeds, next to golf clubs. Yes, golf clubs. And, of course, restaurants and more restaurants. There we could see people from the adjacent stands sit and eat a steamy hot bowl of ramen, with their working aprons still on, with the carefree look of someone who does that everyday.
We managed to wander around for hours and had lunch at one of the typical japanese restaurants that only serves about 10 people at a time. They only served three subtle variations of Oyakodon — rice topped with egg and chicken. Sounds simple because it is, but Japanese have a way with making the simpler things unique and scrumptious.
We then headed for Ueno zoo that also did not disappoint. We paid ¥600 for each of our entries, which seems like a reasonable price, specially to take a peek at some of the most weird animals, to ride on a very cool monorail and to gaze at the giant pandas, that were happily enjoying their bamboo sitting belly side up.