Day 13: The “Usual” at Asakusa, and Tokyo Sky Tree
Day 13 would see us making our (now routine) visit to Asakusa, not for the temple but for the food, and later finishing the day by having a look at the newly completed Tokyo Sky Tree.
There are two places that we always look for in Asakusa: Maguro Bito and Testarossa Cafe. We came upon Maguro Bito 6 years ago when the hotel concierge recommended somewhere in Asakusa for good sushi, which we did not find, but instead saw a restaurant with a huge line in front of it. Being bloody Singaporeans, we naturally joined the queue and had the best sushi of that trip. The Asakusa branch of Testarossa Cafe only serves their famous silk pudding and features a variety of flavours.
As it was only 2 days after the new year, Asakusa was still packed to the brim with people visiting the temple for their hatsumode. We waded through the crowds and joined the queue in front of Maguro Bito. It wasn’t open yet so I volunteered to pop by Testarrossa Cafe and purchase some pudding for everyone. The same flavours were on display but with one addition: Premium Silk. I didn’t think it could get more premium than the original and was very tempted to get some at 500yen a bottle but decided to just buy the usual favourites for now and bring the rest along after sushi.
Returning to Maguro Bito, it turned out that the restaurant had opened minutes after I left so we were not able to be seated as they prioritised people who would start eating immediately. While we waited, the waiters and waitresses were gathered nearby, fervently discussing something. Maguro Bito had opened a branch just 3 minutes walk from the main store which had plenty of seats left and one of the seniors had instructed the younger staff to let us know and bring us there if we were willing to go. However, it was clear that we were gaijin and the staff were busy ‘electing’ someone to deal with us. Eventually, a cute (and probably teenaged) girl walked over with a “Why am I being forced to do this?!” look on her face which magically turned into a huge smile when she knelt down in front of me and started to speak in not-very-fluent English. Before long, we had made the short trek across to the other shop and were seated comfortably right in front of a boisterous sushi chef.
We had round after round of premium sushi, mine specifically being the otoro and ikura. The uni was of a different flavour compared to Daiwa (at Tsukiji) but it was still amazing in its own right. Once full up on sushi, we proceeded to pay at the cashier and to our surprise, despite eating more than double what we did at Daiwa, the totals of our individual shares was less. Maguro Bito is indeed the best for its price.
It was now time to partake in what we dubbed our “legendary pudding”. We returned to Testarossa Cafe to do so and to buy some more pudding to take back to the hotel. This particular branch was nothing more than a counter with several small tables set up on the road. Thankfully, there was no one else around at the time so we sat down and had our pudding. It was every bit as good as I remembered it, and we all ended up buying a bottle of premium silk before leaving heading to our next destination.
It was even more crowded than before now at Asakusa but the sea of people was not deep enough to block the spectacular sight of the Tokyo Sky Tree on this day.
Thanks to our familiarity with Asakusa, we were able to find the entrance to the train station without problems and off we were to Narihirabashi station where Tokyo Sky Tree was located.
The area around the tower was still under construction and all we were able to do was make a wide circuit around it, always a few hundred metres away and unable to enter. An enterprising man had set up a road mirror on his bike at just the right spot for people to take a photo of themselves and the tower together. Of course, this was not free so we refrained from staying too long.
We made our way back, stopping by at Shimbashi for katsudon (which was good stuff), before spending the rest of the night at the hotel.
Things learnt today:
- Maguro Bito and Testarossa Cafe are still awesome. Highly recommended.
- Tokyo Sky Tree is kinda boring when you can’t get in. It’s open now though so it’s still worth a visit. Don’t forget to book tickets in advance!