On the Sakura, Manga and Sushi Trail in Tokyo

Words & Photography: Priscilla Soh, travel 3Sixty° travelsmith

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a city that my soul longed to visit since I was in secondary school.  It’s where authentic tradition meets modernity, making Tokyo a vibrant city with colourful culture!

One day, my friend was looking for travelmate to Tokyo. Without a second thought, I immediately raised my hand and started planning for our trip to this city! Sakura, manga and sushi, here we come!

We touched down at Tokyo Haneda Airport at midnight, but we didn’t get much sleep. Our first destination was Tsujiki Market, the huge and busy local fish market where tuna fish bidding happens every day when dawn breaks the sky. The auction area is open on a first-come first-served basis to 120 visitors per day, divided into two groups, with each session lasting 25 minutes. The queue starts much earlier than the 5am registration time. We reached there around 4:30am and got into the second group.

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After the auction, we had a simple breakfast at a restaurant in the Tsujiki Market. It’s common for them to have rice as breakfast in the morning.

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Straight after the breakfast, we headed straight to the city area near to our hostel. Since it was not ready for check-in yet, we took a stroll around the nearby park. Here we found our sakura – the cherry blossoms! It was towards the end of sakura season in Tokyo, but we were lucky enough to have the last glimpse of the epic blooms! I never knew there were so many colours of sakura and even the mixed colours of sakura comes in a beautiful palette.

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Along our way to our hostel, look what I found: sewage covers with sakura! Japan is really a nation that puts thought into every detail in their urban city. Who else can imagine sewage covers with several designs? The passion and creativity is sure to catch your eye. I guess this is the spirit that makes Japan stand out on the international stage as a nation that values precision and perfection in the details.

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Food is of course part of the important agenda on the tour! Love love love the authentic Japanese food like sushi, sashimi, bento, and more! From proper meals to desserts to fruits, they are all just lovely.

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Two things that you must do in Tokyo: sushi conveyor and the ramen vending machine! We visited the sushi conveyor restaurant and realised the size of the sushi in Tokyo is bigger than those in Malaysia.

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The vending machine for ramen is how ramen is ordered at certain restaurants in Tokyo. Pick your favrourite on the vending machine, then pay accordingly.  A voucher will come out for you to collect your ramen.

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Oh ya, do spend some time in their convenience store, you’ll find sake packed in a box. Try drinking it with a straw!

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In Tokyo, you will find yourself living in the world of manga. The secondary school students dress exactly like those in Japanese comics! You will find dolls (in cosplay) walking on the street, too! The streets, the lifestyle, the culture—everything is so manga. I even found Doraemon comics from the 90s in the comic store!

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By coincidence, we attended the Earth Day celebration! It’s a festival for environment awareness with music performances, food, and booths about the environment.

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There are a lot of towers in Tokyo with free observation decks. Don’t miss the spectacular view of one of the biggest cities in the world – Tokyo !

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