Ginza/Nihonbashi

 
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Ginza lies on the eastern side of Tokyo and has a very upscale reputation as it holds the bigger department stores, international hotel chains, and the always popular fish market. Travelers shy away from this area due to the seemingly touristy description of it but as my husband and I discovered, you have to dig deep to find the gold. 

1. Yakitori Alley: Find it under the Yurakucho station. Just watch out for an alley filled with smoke, all Japanese menus, beer, and yuppies. The perfect first meal. 

2. Tsukiji Fish Market: Set out early if you want to see the hustle and bustle, the catch of the day before they become sushi. If not, just pick any sushi restaurant and go for an otoro platter. It's bound to be better than anything from your hometown. 

3. Ginza 4-chome: This station exit leads you to the center of Ginza. You'll see Wako, Japan's oldest department store, as well as Printemps, Matsuya Department Store, Tokyu Hands and Core. All the stores have a mix of Japanese and international designers and amazing basement food halls. For snacks, there's Kimuraya, famous for their melon pan, Ginza Akebono, and Manneken, a waffle shop which I visited thrice.

4. 12-storey Uniqlo: Amazing. So amazing that I only reached halfway through. 

5. Y&M Kisling Bar: In this bar, we met Abe, a 70-year old bartender who's been bartending since his early 20's. The servers told us he's like the Jackie Chan of drinks. We asked him to make us his specialty and he presented us with a Moscow Mule. It was the best I've ever had. He even showed us his secret: ginger powder.

6. Shabusen: A restaurant in Core that serves the most excellent shabu-shabu. 

7. Koshikawa-Korakuen: Claimed to be one of Tokyo's underrated parks which is especially beautiful during autumn. 

From Ginza, we also took a side trip to Nihonbashi where we found Ninyocho Imahan, the place to go to in Tokyo for sukiyaki (even the lowest grade of beef tasted like Heaven), and a tea stall selling the most memorable tea ice cream I had during the whole trip. I wish I caught the name of the place but we just found it on a side street. I guess that makes it even better.