Thursday, 18 September 2014

Day 9 - Marunouchi and Nihombashi

We headed to two areas today, both beside each other, meaning a busy day walking.

Admission to the East Gardens is free, but you do get a ticket/token.
At the entrance to the East Gardens

The first, Marunouchi is home to the East Gardens of the Japanese Imperial Palace. It's free to enter and is the only part of the Palace Gardens open to the public. As a moat surrounds the gardens, the Nijubashi Bridge is used to cross over onto the Royal grounds.

Vinnie with a bamboo trees.

A short walk to the East through the business district of Chiyoda we reached Tokyo Station, with over 3,000 trains passing through it daily, it's the busiest station in Japan. According to our guide, a vegan Japanese restaurant (T's たんたん/T's Tan Tan) was located in the station, so we decided to use our Suica (transport cards) to enter the station in the hopes of finding it. The station is absolutely massive with several eating districts. We were fortunate to find the restaurant in the Keiyo Street area. It was great being able to eat something knowing there was no fish or meat hidden inside it.

Our Vegan Japanese Lunch
Afterwards we walked to the adjacent Nihombashi area. The Nihombashigawa River divides the area in half and in what I consider a great use of space, they've build an elevated highway over the river itself. We found the first department store in Japan and the "Road Marker" bridge, which is the a very important bridge in Japan as all road distances are measured from the middle of this bridge.

The first department store in Japan on the left, Starbucks on the right. 
The basement level of all department stores is home to the food counters. A must visit. 
Taking a walk along the main street of Chuo Dori Road, lined with more department stores we soon found ourselves back in Ginza. As the iPhone launches tomorrows we decided to soak up the atmosphere of the very long queue in front of the Apple Store. They queuing system is very organised, it doesn't block store fronts with large gaps to ensure people can flow in and out without blocking the flow of the street traffic.

In front of the line for the Apple iPhone 6 (well I jumped into the front of the line) at the Apple Store Ginza. People have been queuing for over a week. 
The Apple Store in Ginza being closed in preparation for the phones launch in the morning. 
Queues for the iPhone in Ginza
As it was our last night in the city, we headed out to raise a toast to Tokyo and look forward to the next part of our holiday, Dubai. We leave tomorrow night.

Cheers from Tokyo

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