I stayed a bit closer to Ginza today and headed to places I have never been before. Nihonbashi is home to the point where all distances in Japan are measured from. The current bridge is the 20th built in the same spot and the first to be built of stone, previous ones having been wooden bridges. The bridge now has a modern expressway built over the top of it which makes for interesting shots of the bridge and river.
It is also home to the big Department stores Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya. Yeah a girl can’t pass up a department store. Although I do skip the cosmetic and fashion floors and head straight for the homewares and kitchen wares.
Mitsukoshi Annexe
Then I spent time just wandering around getting a feel for the neighbourhoods of Nihonbashi and Ningyocho. I love a little bit of exploring. There were a few artisan shops around but I only found a knife shop, some nice ones too but my knife budget wasn’t ready to leave my purse.
On my way to the station I popped in to a shop selling sweets. I found a jelly sphere with goldfish shaped jelly set inside and an adzuki bean filled biscuit shaped like a fish. The jelly had a lemonade flavour and was not overly sweet. The biscuit was moist and delicious.
I then headed over to Hie Jinja to join in the festivities of Bon Odori. Had I done some due diligence before departing Australia I would have known that this festival started on the day I arrived. I would have seen the parade through the streets, people dancing and with the deities being paraded on floats to the Shrine precincts. Prior preparation really does matter.
I enjoyed some time wandering the grounds admiring the beautiful floats and watching some dancing.
Then it was time to eat as there were plenty of street food stands. My first pick to eat was Dango with a thick miso, soy and sesame sauce. YUM!! Sweet, salty and delicious.
I was able to enjoy the dancing while eating my Dango as the stand was right opposite the dance tent, which was full and dancers were continuing outside.  I might join the dancing next time (if I practice) as most of it is a short set of moves before being repeated. There are of course different dances for different songs. But they are all short sequences and repeat. Guess Aunty Google will help with that one.
Dancers, Hie Shrine
I then headed back to two ladies who were doing a roaring trade with their yakitori offerings. I just did a point and pick, you could have sauce or shio. At least Shio is one word I understand – salt. I chose sauce on my chicken skewers. Tasty, nice and moist. I followed that up with a pork belly skewer and a skewer with shishito chillies on it. Wow I wasn’t expecting the shishito not to have much spice to it. It was sweet like a capsicum and the grilling really intensified the fruity flavour it has. A drink like SLAT was a great choice, even though I could imagine a beer would be better. Do I really need to start drinking beer though?
To finish my culinary adventures I bypassed the grilled fish stand, the grilled squid stand, the fairy floss stand and headed to one selling toffee fruit. Not just apples but grapes, oranges and strawberries. Grapes were my choice and the crunch of the toffee as you bit in to the grape was fabulous. Now remember, grapes in Japan tend to be HUGE, so my 3 on a skewer was quite enough.
Back through the Shrine grounds, I headed to the station and back to the hotel. Must check festivals more thoroughly in future before leaving home.
Thanks for dropping by!! Stay tuned for the next post.