An easy and safe city to navigate and I jumped on and off the Metro as well as walking to find my way around. Asking anyone for directions was always a bit tricky as it appeared that most people did not speak English. Most of the road signs are in Japanese and Taxi drivers rely on you to tell them or in my case show them where to go and again do not speak English! Alasdair and I had arranged to meet at a restaurant one evening and took separate taxis to the same address. Thank goodness for mobile phones as we were dropped in totally different spots and used our phones to then co ordinate and find each other! Getting around is not difficulty but you just have to be very relaxed.
Not surprisingly there is an air of chaos and traffic in the more built up areas of the city and a sea of people wherever you go. The Ginza is one of the more famous shopping areas and the designer label status is proudly on display. There are also wonderful stationery shops and Japanese Department stores. The food halls in the department stores were really exceptional. Needless to say the Japanese packaging is outstanding as was th presentation of produce. Fruit is very expensive in Tokyo as much of it is imported and it is packaged and presented like works of art. The melons I saw in one department store were £20 each. In the patisserie departments the assistants are carefully measuring each slice with rulers before cutting the delicacies for display. Such immaculate care and attention to every detail.
Beautifully presented fruit and european vegetables were accompanied by a vast selection of Japanese ingredients and delicacies. There were flowers and petals and beautifully shaped leaves which are all used for consumption and the careful and stunning presentation of food.
Amidst my days of exploring this great city I usually stopped at a small quick stop restaurant often within the department stores or shopping areas that I visited. Usually I stopped where I saw a group of locals eating as I made the assumption that would mean genuine and good food. There were no menus in English so ordering was always interesting and the chefs were always very kind and would show me which sauces were for which dishes. As expected everything was beautifully presented and with an array of dips and often a small piece of fresh root horseradish to grate which I love.
On one occasion I was able to meet up with Alasdair for lunch so we deiced to visit the teppanyaki restaurant in The Mitsukoshi Department Store which was outstanding and I can highly recommend this if you are in the city. We had our own chef who looked after us and prepared our amazing lunch at our own pace and using every single part of whatever she cooked so not waste at all.