Many of us would have this standard image of Tokyo to be a concrete jungle, filled with fanciful skyscrapers and tourists from all over the world right? However, in this modern & bustling city, you can still spot some old streets (or the locals here call it 下町 – shitamachi) within the 23 wards in Tokyo.
The most well-known place for shitamachi would be Asakusa (浅草).Next would be Oshiage (押上) and Yanesen (谷根千).
Shitamachi has this ‘thing’ that catches my heart. 🙂 It has the feel of the olden days of Tokyo where it’s filled with warmth & humanity unlike the busy & uncaring Shibuya/Shinjuku etc.
Few weeks back, I went to Yanesen area with my friend A because she likes shitamachi too. 😀 Yanesen (谷根千) consists of 3 areas, Yanaka (谷中), Nezu (根津) and Sendagi (千駄木). The nearest JR station is Nippori Station but you can take subways too.
We met at Nippori Station at around 11am because we wanted to try out a very famous shaved ice stall that’s featured in magazines & TV programs. We exited from the West Exit and walked straight down the road to the stairs which is the Yuuyake dandan and turn left. I made a ‘star’ mark for easy reference. 😀
The shaved ice stall is called Himitsudou (ひみつ堂). Himitsudou use ice that’s form naturally (during winter) in the catchment area in (i think) Nikko. And the syrup they used to top it on the shaved ice are homemade with fresh seasonal fruits.
Please give this stall a visit if you’re in Tokyo! They have special menu for Autumn & Winter season too. Shall visit it again end of the year. 😀
We ordered the most popular one from the menu which is the Strawberry Milk shaved ice bowl. Shaved ice + evaporated milk + freshly made strawberry syrup. It’s just too good for this hot weather. 😀 (but it’s too milky for me because I don’t like the taste of milk)
Then we ordered another bowl – Pineapple Caramel shaved ice bowl. (If you’re planning to order this, please don’t because it’s not very very fantastic, order the green tea flavor instead.)After eating, we went to walk along the Yanaka Ginza Shopping street. Didn’t take any photos of the place because it was raining very heavily the moment we stepped out of the stall. Go visit it yourself if you’re interested! 😀
Then we walked in the rain towards the next stop marked with the pink star for our late lunch. 🙂 It’s called Kayaba Coffee and the building itself is so amazing.
(Photo credits: www.facebook.com/yanesensampo)
Lunch sets at just 900yen with salad & coffee/tea (including tax). SO CHEAP CAN! 😀
Top: Hayashi rice
Bottom: Chicken curry rice
After our lunch, we continued our stroll towards Nezu area as we wanted to visit the Nezu Shrine. (Remember the manners when visiting a shrine? Bow at the side of the torii and do not walk right in the middle of the path.)
As we had some time before meeting Y-chan for dinner at Ikebukuro, we chill out at MOS burger at Sendagi (walking distance from Nezu Shrine) and had some snacks + some talks. 🙂
Then we ended our long long day by having some awesome gyuutan (beef tongue) set meals at Rikyuu (利久 – http://www.rikyu-gyutan.co.jp/). All 3 of us ordered the same meal which was the half & half, consisting of gyuutan & choice of beef stew or curry, salad and clear oxtail soup.
Looking at this just makes me drools…… (._.)
Oh man, Singapore should have more restaurants selling gyuutan because IT’S JUST that AWESOME. *slurppppps* If you haven’t had gyuutan before, please take the first step and try it. 😀
If you’re visiting Japan, there are 2 chain restaurants I know of selling gyuutan set meals. Other than Rikyuu, there’s Negishi (ねぎし). I have tried both but I personally prefer Rikyuu because Negishi tends to serve overcooked gyuutan and the gyuutan is much thinner than Rikyuu. 🙂
It’s been a while since I last wrote such a long post. Hope you enjoyed it and will consider taking a stroll in the shitamachi when visiting Japan. 😀