evoTrip | Day 6 – Leaving Hakuba, Monkeys and Tokyo
After the past couple days of epic skiing everyone is pretty well convinced that there is no topping those days…. So we decided to enjoy a lazy morning and start packing so we could hit the Monkey Hot Springs before rolling towards the bright lights and big city of Tokyo.
At this point I was really starting to really enjoy Hakuba and the people. We really didn’t get a chance to venture out much but I guess I was really starting to live vicariously through our lodge hosts Matt, Craig and Jen. Through their stories and insights I really can see why they decided to post up here, and why they keep coming back. It was almost sad leaving cause I feel like there was so much more to learn about this area and it was something pretty cool to find people half way across the world that truly shared the similar passions.
It was about a 2 or 3 hour venture from Hakuba to the Monkey Hot springs. The town where the springs are located was actually a hot spot during the 1998 Nagano Olympics, hosting the Snowboard Halfpipe venue amongst others.
The monkeys were about a 15 minute little hike from where we parked our bus. I really didn’t know what to expect, for all I knew they were going to be locked out behind a cage…. Haha, riiiiight. There wasn’t a single cage. Basically you walked right into their play area. They were running back and forth past you, chillin’ inches from you, chasing each other, procreating, you name it. It was the closest I’d been to a monkey and aside from an incredible wafting funk in the air, it was certainly worth the 3 hr detour on the way to Tokyo.
On the road Ichiro was kind enough to take many smoke breaks… which translates to lots of rest area stops, and Japanese junk food. These consisted of Shrimp Chips, Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nut, Curried Meat Pockets, Chocolate Mushrooms, Green Tea Ice Cream and much more…. I guess it was necessary to try the local treats to truly get that authentic experience that we were so obviously “hungry” for if you know what I mean?
We rolled in to Tokyo around 9pm I think. Seemed like your typical metropolitan through the section of city we meandered on our way to Shinjuku Washington Hotel. It wasn’t until we escaped the vapors (hot, muggy) of our 400 square foot, triple occupancy hotel rooms and hit the streets that we really began to feel like we were in the Tokyo that we all hear about.
The mission was, eat an incredible sushi dinner and get lost in the sea of radiant lights and beautiful Japanese women. Well, maybe not the second half, but I guess we expected it.
Once we were in deep in the Shinjuku district it hit us like a freight train coming 300 miles and hour. Towering marquees, people everywhere, and little old us. This place really makes New York City look like small potatoes in comparison. We only saw a small part of Tokyo but these crazy districts just go on forever. Its quite a sight and I can’t wait to come back one day and really take more of it.
So in the midst of our wandering amazement we finally come across this rad little spot tucked down a random street that was beckoning us to come enjoy the finest eats that Tokyo has to offer. I was definitely ready for some sushi… still hadn’t had any at this point. Once inside this place is as cool as it looked from the outside. We got our own little room, tucked our shoes in to our cubby holes and popped a squat. Once we got around to ordering we decided to just let the waitress (whom spoke great English) pick for us…. So Jason said something like, “we’d just like a bunch of different sushi, can you pick” and she replied something like, “no sushi here.” I couldn’t help but laugh. So we never got our sushi but that’s okay because everything was amazing. We enjoyed some tempura selections, fine Japanaese beers, some tasty paste of some sort, tofu, and a number of other random, not sushi items. By the end of dinner we had a somewhat quenched appetite and a good buzz going so we continued to meander. It was a good night.
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