Archive for March, 2019

Tokyo Highlights.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2019 by brunyfire

It is November 2018 and a group of four elderly Sheila’s have just completed the Nakasendo Way, a seven day,  six night walking tour starting in Ena, near Nagoya, and finishing in Tokyo. Brunyfire and fellow Tassie mates Kay, Lucy and Di were feeling pretty pleased with themselves and were in party mode with three nights to explore Tokyo before returning home.


A gem of a place that we stumbled on right near our Airbnb. The master chef of the evening was Kurohima-San…….

…….who produced a range of sushi that specialises in the freshest fish and just kept coming!

Bird’s Eye Views:

Daylight views with Mount Fuji just visible on the far horizon from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings Observatories in Shinjuku – a favorite among the thrifty as scaling the towers to the 45th floor is free.

Late night cocktails accompanied by some soulful jazz at the the New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel – forever linked to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, ‘Lost in Translation’.

Heading into town from our Airbnb in Shinjuku to eat out……..

………Memory Lane, Shinjuku relates back to Japan’s post-war era. Sometimes refered to as ‘Piss Alley’ the name originally came from the alley’s 1940’s black market bars and lack of toilets! But in reality, now chocker block with tourists and locals alike eating and drinking from tiny bars and food stalls.

Then during the day, there’s the obligatory crossing at Shibuya Crossing, said to be the busiest intersection in the world – like a giant beating heart it sends people in all directions with every light change. At peak times upwards of 3000 people can cross at a time, coming from all directions at once.

Markets and Shopping.

Street food is prevalent everywhere, and these red bean paste filled Taiyaki (literally translated as ‘baked sea bream’) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. Taking the form of the Tai (Japanese red seabream) it is most commonly filled with a red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans or custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.

Tsukiji fish market, now refered to as Tsukiji Outer Market, is a district adjacent to the site of the former Tsukiji Wholesale Market. It consists of a few blocks of wholseale and retail shops, as well as restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. No longer selling wholesale fresh fish, the market specialises more in street eats.

And even when it’s not fresh, the imitation food of Japan is almost as well known! As Joanna Lumley illustrates during her Japan TV series during her trip down Kappabashi-dori………

…….also known as Kitchen Town.

Situated between Ueno and Asakusa, Tokyo it is almost entirely populated with shops supplying the restaurant trade.

But best of all for Brunyfire was the dizzying array of donabes and other clay cooking pots, some of which we had been using during our ryokan stays along the Nakesendo walk.

And whilst the girls went off op shopping…….

…….Brunyfire slipped away to check out some culture.


The Tokyo National Museum boasts the longest history of any museum in Japan originating back to 1872. The museum collects, conserves and exhibits artworks, archaeological artefacts and other cultural properties from Japan and other regions of Asia. It also conducts research and has educational activities to promote the understanding and appreciation of the cultural properties. Fine examples of textiles and ceramics.

A particularly special museum for Brunyfire was the Japan Folk Crafts Museum The Japan Folk Crafts Museum is a museum in Komaba, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan……..

……..that is dedicated to the hand-crafted art of ordinary people. The museum was established in 1936 by Yanagi Sōetsu, the founder of the mingei movement; Hamada Shōji succeeded him as its director.

Pots from the collection include, from top left: 17thc Edo bowl with cobalt underglaze: top right, 18thc Edo Jar for hair oil with peony overgraze decoration. Bottom left: 15thc Muromachi incense burner and 12thc Heian Jar with lotus petal motif and ash glaze.

Some absolute treasures were found and purchased in the museum’s craft shop……

………..which included a Clive Brown slip decorated dish (bottom right); a slip decorated stoneware dish with tobikanna (chatter or jumping iron markings) from the Kita Pottery in the Yomitan village in Okinawa, produced by Yoneshi Matsuda (middle right) and a beautiful little slip decorated egg poacher from the Yumachi pottery in Shimane Prefecture.

Pub Grub.

A suitable finale, the cab sav says it all – a local wine bar near our Shinjuku Airbnb for our last meal – a fabulous few weeks with some great dames – thankyou Kay, Lucy and Di – time for home…..

Sayōnara Japan – till next time