In front of the volcanic hotspot Owakudani, posing with a Black Egg
Hakone is an easy and popular day trip from Tokyo. You can escape the busy city and head to the mountains for beautiful scenery and delicious black eggs. Boiled on site, the eggs turn black due to a chemical reaction with the sulphurous water. According to Japanese legend, each egg will add seven years to your life. Plus the taste is 20% more umami than normal boiled eggs!
Lake Ashi is at the center of Hakone, as well as the setting for the iconic image of Mount Fuji with the torii of Hakone-jinja rising from the water. Unfortunately we visited on a cloudy day, so the notoriously shy Mount Fuji was hidden from us.
Kamakura is a coastal city about an hour away from Tokyo – perfect for a day trip! Lonely Planet introduces Kamakura:
The glory days of Japan’s first feudal capital (from 1185 to 1333) coincided with the spread of populist Buddhism in Japan. This legacy is reflected in the area’s proliferation of stunning temples. Kamakura also has a laid-back, earthy vibe complete with organic restaurants, summer beach shacks and surfers – which can be added to sunrise meditation and hillside hikes as reasons to visit.
The Hamarikyu Gardens in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo, offer a bit of peace in the middle of the busy city. In stark contrast to the skyscrapers surrounding the garden, Hamarikyu is a beautiful oasis where you can enjoy a stroll along the pond or a bowl of matcha with sweets at the traditional teahouse.
Akihabara, aka Akihabara Electric Town, is the otaku cultural center of Tokyo. What is otaku? A Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly anime and manga. Akihabara is also a shopping district for gamers and gadget enthusiasts with many shops selling video games (like Super Potato) and consumer goods. We couldn’t wait to visit and end our evening with the best tonkatsu in Tokyo!
The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is the largest and busiest fish market in the world. The market opens most mornings at 3AM, so it’s recommended to visit when you first arrive and are still jet lagged. So we headed to Tsukiji for a sushi breakfast on our first full day!
Koen and I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning, so by the time we settled into our apartment for the week we were ready for lunch. One place we were excited to visit was the Tokyo Ramen Street in the Tokyo Station. We first saw it in Mind of a Chef with David Chang and then read about it on various sites about the best ramen in Tokyo.