View of Ueno, in Tokyo
We should have predicted that the sky would pour rain on us for three out of the four days we were in Tokyo because we arrived in the beginning of the rainy season. Despite the cloudy days, we enjoyed Tokyo's many indoor activities. Our favorites were:
Tuna, fish, and sushi at Tsujiki Fish Market
Tsujiki Fish Market. Tsujiki is the largest fish market in the world and we walked through aisle upon aisle of octopus, eels, tiny fish, and gigantic slabs of tuna. Because the fish is so fresh, the market surprisingly did not smell fishy but we recommend wearing sneakers because the floors are grungy from the ice being poured into the drains. At the end of the trip to the fish market, a nearby restaurant served Patrick the freshest sushi he has ever had and I slurped down a heaping bowl of ramen at the noodle shop next door. If you plan to go to the Tsujiki Fish Market, carefully check the times they allow tourists; recently, they changed their rules so only 140 tourists are permitted at the 4:00 a.m. tuna market and the wholesale market is open after 9:00 a.m. We didn’t brave the early morning and instead went to the wholesale market at 9:00.
Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum. This beautiful, spare museum details the history of Japan and its art from early Jamon period in 14,000 BC to the present day. Because the museum presents its collections on a rotating basis, the amount of art did not overwhelm us and we thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of Japan. The museum is located at the edge of Ueno Park so if you make it to the museum on a sunny day, follow up your visit with a stroll through the park to see the Shinto shrines near the lake.
Edo-Tokyo Museum. When I heard that this museum primarily uses models to show the history of Tokyo from the 16th century, when it was known as Edo, to modern day Tokyo, I inwardly groaned. Models are rarely done well and usually bore me to tears. But, these models are amazing, consisting of intricate handpainted details of everyday life from the rural village of Edo to the bustling city of Tokyo.
Model of bustling Edo in Edo-Tokyo museum
Shopping in Ginza. Ginza is the Fifth Avenue of Tokyo with gorgeous department stores and exclusive designer stores. Our favorite was Sony World, a playground for electronics junkies, where we tried out the brand-spanking new 3D television. We thought it was a neat gadget but, after a short while, watching the 3D television gave us a headache so it won’t be in our living room in the near future.
Indoor golf. Golf is a national pasttime here and every city has at least two to three golf courses or driving ranges straddling the rivers. We opted for indoor golf, a virtual reality version that costs about $15 for 30 minutes. We aren't certain that the machine is accurate ---- especially because I managed to putt better than Patrick, a feat I have never accomplished in real life --- but it makes a fun afternoon activity.
And, if you need something else to do on those rainy afternoons, we suggest eating! Tokyo is chockful of restaurants and great food always brightens up a gloomy day.