With over 37 million people Tokyo is the most populated metropolitan area in the world! It is beyond vast! You might imagine with that many people it would be loud, hectic or dirty, but it’s exactly the opposite! Unlike many big cities I’ve visited you don’t hear horns honking on the roads or see garbage on the sidewalk, and although there is definitely hustle and bustle the people are incredibly respectful of one another. There was an overall feeling of nice pretty much everywhere we went!
Tokyo is broken up into 35 Special Wards and each ward is then broken up into districts or neighborhoods each with their own name and distinct feel. I found that the lines were blurred when talking about some of the more notable wards or districts. for example, Shinjuku is a Special Ward and a district/neighborhood… We had the opportunity to stay in two different neighborhoods during our visit, Shinjuku and Ginza, and visited many more!
Prior to our trip I read a lot about the different areas of Tokyo trying to work out where would be the best place to stay. Because it is such an immense place it wasn’t immediately clear to me which area of town would best suit our needs. I wasn’t sure I should pick blindly, so I picked somewhere I had heard of before. I picked the Park Hyatt Tokyo from the 2003 movie Lost In Translation. Yep! I chose our hotel based on a movie. It turned out to not only be one of the nicest and loveliest places I have ever stayed, but also one of the friendliest!
We ate at three different restaurants in the hotel and they were all excellent, but definitely on the pricey side. The breakfast was a buffet and in classic SimonStyle he was into trying the more unique items offered. He discovered he liked okayu or Japanese rice porridge quite a lot, its sort of like oatmeal (which of course he won’t eat at home). Unlike Americans the Japanese people don’t generally go out for breakfast. We discovered this one morning while doing our usual let’s wander around aimlessly for hours looking for food with no idea where we are going. So, if you like a traditional breakfast you might consider grabbing it in your hotel before you head out for the day!
We spent the morning exploring all the different offerings, fish of course, but also spices, dried goods, vegetables, flowers, housewares and more! We sampled a number of different food items and met a very nice man who tried to teach us a few Japanese words, and gave the boys bags of miniature dried shrimp to munch on. Yum?
Nō Wasabi Kudasai
- The majority of restaurants in Japan specialize in only one type of food, i.e.You won’t find tempura, sushi and ramen in the same establishment.
- Sushi isn’t less expensive in Japan.
- It’s really hard to explain “no wasabi please” when you don’t speak Japanese
Once the kids realized all of the above they learned to just wipe off the wasabi and go for it. The variety of sushi offered was definitely more diverse in Japan and we had fun trying new things. Elliot’s favorite was salmon roe! Both my boys love Japanese food and on day one of the trip Simon made it his mission to not only eat in as many different types of restaurants as he could, but also that he wouldn’t use any “American” utensils, only the traditional Japanese utensils provided to him! That’s my kid!