If Nakameguro is the Hampstead of Tokyo, then Shimokitazawa is the Shoreditch of Tokyo. If you’re not familiar with these areas of London (and Tokyo, respectively), then read my blog post about Nakameguro and I’ll try to describe Shimokitazawa: it’s trendy, full of vintage shops and cafes, lots of young and fashion conscious people, it has a laid back atmosphere and is really great to hang around in. I think, if I lived in Tokyo, I would probably try to get a flat near this area.
While there is a big wholesale fish market, there is also a consumer and tourist friendly fish market where you can sample all sorts of fish. It probably doesn’t get any fresher!
Getting up early is recommended, although I think that’s really more for the wholesale fish market, where the hustle and bustle happens before 8am. This part of the fish market is probably open throughout the morning.
Fish flakes! I really like them. When they are served on top of hot food they look like they’re dancing.
The wholesale fish market was definitely an amazing experience. It was super busy with people on little vehicles driving up and down, empty Styrofoam boxes being thrown around, water and melted ice everywhere. People chopping up fish and sweeping up fish remains and pouring buckets of water and ice into bigger buckets of water and ice… A dangerous place for a tourist who doesn’t want to get wet and smell of fish all day!
When I asked him if I could take a photo, he pulled this funny face.
Judging by the pool of blood on his work counter, you can guess what’s coming next…
A lot of the bigger fish vendors had these lovely ladies sitting in a little box office. While the people handling the fish were all men, the people in the boxes who counted the money were women. That’s how it should be!
I was a bit later than I probably should have been, so people were just finishing their cleaning and most of the fish was already sold.
There were so, so many of these vehicles whizzing around. It was really dangerous! They didn’t have any consideration for tourists…
This was a mini shop that was just outside the big wholesale market. I assume this is where the fishermen buy their newspapers and drinks after a hard morning’s work.
This guy was chopping off fish heads the whole time and then threw them into that blue basket in the foreground. You didn’t want to stand too close because there was a lot of splatter when the heads landed in the basket.
This guy is enjoying a cigarette and a rest after work.
All photos taken by me with my LC-A+ and LC-Wide on Kodak Portra 400 35mm film.
I have finally nailed down the route that I want to go on my two months travelling starting very soon!
After I had such a great time in Japan last year I knew that I definitely wanted to go back. And this time I’m giving myself a bit over three weeks in Japan, starting in Tokyo and then moving along the south coast of Honshu (the main island) to then explore the fourth biggest island Kyushu and ending in Osaka. Thank god for the JR rail pass which makes all this affordable.
Here are some shots from my Japan trip last year. I’m not a very stylish traveller as you can see but who cares when you can soak in hot springs and eat fish all day?
I’ll then be heading over to South Korea to spend five days in Seoul – just because it’s close, you know? Might as well while I’m over there and Seoul sounds like quite a cool place.
I’ll then fly over to Hanoi to meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll be travelling down the coast of Vietnam and across to Cambodia together. After these two weeks he’ll head back to London and I’ll be on my own again.
Next stop is Penang in Malaysia to eat lots of street food, look at some great architecture and hang out by the beach before ultimately flying to Hong Kong, my last stop on this trip where I’ll be visiting some lovely friends!
This is me in Hong Kong almost 10 years ago now, trying to throw a paper with a wish tied to an orange into the Lam Tsuen wishing tree. I remember that I just didn’t manage to make it stay on one of the branches, much to the entertainment of my friends.
Anyway, in total this means for me:
new countries: 4
countries that I know are great and I can’t wait to go back to: 2
Works for me!
Please leave a replyif you have any travel advice or tips for must see places for any of these parts of the world!
I absolutely loved Japan and I am desperate to go back. It was as amazing as I had imagined and better. Great food, cute cartoons, very polite people, great public transport, so clean!
Everyone told me that it would be very expensive but it wasn’t. I paid around £50 on average for the hotels and they were pretty good ones. Most of my lunches and dinners cost me between £4 and £6, as far as I remember. Sushi was more expensive but still cheaper than London. So it is not that expensive!
My friend convinced me to go to Fuji-Rock Festival. At first I was a bit hesitant. Why would I travel all the way to Japan and then go to a festival? There are tons in Europe! But it was the right decision to go. What an experience! It was different from European festivals. A lot better, actually. Extremely well organised and in a beautiful mountain setting. People were so civilised! I have to go back.
It took me almost a year to motivate myself to scan and sort through hundreds of photos. I shot all photos on film, either 35mm, 120 or Fuji Instax film.
The best photos of my best holiday are now published on my Flickr account.