Japan, Day 8: Atami to Tokyo

As if the incredible meal the night before weren’t enough, the ryokan also provided breakfast.

Ryokan breakfast

You know, just a small something to take the edge off.

Here’s a view from the grounds in daylight.

View from Ryokan

And the picture of the pair of us the concierge offered to take as we were leaving.


At this point, however, it was time to leave the calm of the inn and head to the insanity of Tokyo.  I was able to successfully deploy my approximately eight words of DuoLingo Japanese to tell the cab driver “The train station, please,” and that was probably the most use I got out of them the whole trip.

Also the hotel probably told him where we were going.

But we were off to Tokyo, a short 40 minute ride from Atami.  Just enough time to get in some quick Japanese practice.

Duolingo quote: "Tokyo Station is lively, isn't it?"

That’s… certainly one way of putting it.

We arrived around noon, and had reservations for a sushi dinner near the station. We didn’t want to go all the way to our hotel on the opposite side of Tokyo and back, so we put our luggage in a coin locker and went for a wander around Ginza, the ritzy shopping neighborhood.  Maybe I could find some nice Jimmy Choos…

No, I’m just kidding,  we went to another stationery store. But we were also getting hungry, as we hadn’t actually had lunch yet. And what should suddenly appear before us but…

Fluffy pancakes

Finally.  And they were everything we had hoped for.

We also wandered into a large bookstore with an art gallery attached.  Most of the art had “no photography” marked, but we did get a picture of the BOOK for an artist we really appreciated.

Jeremey Yamamura book.

We also went out on the roof of the department store, but it was REALLY hot, so we came back inside.  I know we’ve been carping a lot about the heat on this trip, but it does explain what we did NEXT.  Rather than look around at more of Ginza above ground, we decided to see if we could successfully navigate all the way back to Tokyo Station from the basement of the Ginza 6 department store without once setting foot on the surface.

A brief travelogue:

Department store counter with fake tree
Stained glass in Tokyo underground corridor

Robot in Tokyo convention center

Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet.

Train wheels in Tokyo station
Art near Tokyo station

Tokyo Station

So yes, you can totally walk from Ginza 6 to Tokyo Station while remaining underground the whole time.

It certainly is lively, isn’t it?

We wanted to have one omikase (chef’s choice) sushi meal while in Tokyo, but we couldn’t afford a three-star Michelin place where you can’t get a table unless a friend of the chef vouches for you six months in advance.  We did, however, have an excellent mid-priced meal near the station.  However, nice sushi places kind of prefer you EAT the sushi when it is handed to you, rather than stopping to take pictures of each piece, so eat it we did.  It was excellent.

And from there, a train to our hotel!  The Tokyo train system is fiendishly complicated, but it’s well signposted, in both English and Japanese. So as long as you have data to allow Google Maps to handle the routing, and an IC card so you don’t have to worry about purchasing tickets on the correct network, it’s actually perfectly manageable. As long as you don’t try to ride inbound during morning rush hour.

But there’s no way we’d be dumb enough to try that, right?

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