Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Days 12-13 – Akihabara Craft Beer Festival and Our Goodbyes to Japan

Late night and we needed to be in Akihabara, Electric Town. So we caught a quick brunch at Tokyo Curry-ya Meitenkai. First a cup of miso soup.

Cup of Miso Soup, Akihabara. Image Credit: Ryan.
And then 5 types of Indian curry.

5 Curry Brunch. Image Credit: Ryan.

Perfect timing. We rearranged our itinerary around a craft beer festival in Akihabara to sample some of Japan’s finest.

Nippon Craft Beer Festival 2012. Image Credit: Ryan.
Imagine a packed Tokyo subway car, then multiply it by 100. Well, it was all in the name of good beer, so that justifies almost anything. Craft beer is still emerging in Japan. But what the industry lacks in experience, it certainly makes up for in enthusiasm.

Craft Beer Crowd. Image Credit: Ryan.
What we saw when we got in closer. Similar to craft beer festivals closer to home, they give you a certain amount of tickets for tasting.

Craft Beer Festival Up Close. Image Credit: Ryan.
A peaceful hanami-style break between lines.

Craft Beer Outdoors. Image Credit: Ryan.

Re-Fermenting Japan. Image Credit: Ryan.

Bad Beer is the Enemy. Image Credit: Random Stranger.

Behind the Scenes. Image Credit: Ryan.
Snack time at a random yakitori restaurant.

Yaki Sausage. Image Credit: Ryan.

Grilled Musubi and Yakitori. Image Credit: Ryan.
Then it was time to turn our attention to Akihabara, itself. Pretty much anything that plugs into a wall or runs on batteries can be found here. And, as you can see, on Sundays, they close Electric Town off to vehicles and it becomes a ‘Pedestrian Paradise.’

Pedestrian Paradise, Akihabara. Image Credit: Ryan.
There are also many video game centers, anime, manga, and other otaku-type (those with obsessive interests) stores here.

Video Game Center, Akihabara. Image Credit: Ryan.
Including a proliferation of maid cafes.

Maid Cafe, Akihabara. Image Credit: Ryan.
Escaping Akihabara, we find more cherry blossoms.

More Cherry Blossoms! Image Credit: Ryan.
We ended up at one of the McDonald’s of fugu restaurants, Torafugutei (I cut of the ‘To’ when taking the picture).

Torafugutei. Image Credit: Ryan.
And here they are: tiger puffer fish. Prepared incorrectly, the tetrodotoxin in the fish will kill you dead. But we are talking about the McD’s of fugu restaurants, so they can’t afford to kill you, can they?

Tora Fugu. Image Credit: Ryan.
Let’s find out. Raw fugu meat and skin starter.

Fugu Appetizer. Image Credit: Ryan.
Followed by fugu sashimi.

Fugu Sashimi. Image Credit: Ryan.
Followed by a nabe course. This particular fugu was dispatched so freshly that the muscles were still spasming as it came to the table.

Fugu Nabe Ingredients. Image Credit: Ryan.
Into the nabe pot.

Nabe Pot. Image Credit: Ryan.
Followed by the zosui course.

Fugu Zosui Course. Image Credit: Ryan.
After dinner, some random shopping. This is Muji, an Ikea-type store that sells household items, furniture, clothes, and even whole houses.

Muji. Image Credit: Ryan.
Random Hello Kitty Horror.

Hello Kitty Horror. Image Credit: Ryan.
T’s reaction to Giant Hello Kitty. And we’ll call it a night here.

Giant Hello Kitty. Image Credit: Ryan.
Morning. And here’s our first stop on our last day in Japan, Kanda Myojin (Shrine). Its proximity to Akihabara makes it the best place to buy amulets for protecting your electronic devices and avoiding identity theft.

Kanda Myojin. Image Credit: T.

Purification. Image Credit: T.

Pilgrimage to the Main Area. Image Credit: T.

Last Look around Japan. Image Credit: T.

Last Hit of Cherry Blossoms. Image Credit: Ryan.
After gathering our things, we caught the train to Narita Airport, checked our bags, and headed back out to Narita City for a meal at Kawatoyo (Tabelog Top 5000). And, in Narita City, and especially in Kawatoyo, you eat unagi.

Kawatoyo, Narita. Image Credit: Ryan.
Lunch: unagi-don.

Unagi-Don, Kawatoyo. Image Credit: Ryan.
One last temple, Naritasan.

Naritasan Temple. Image Credit: Ryan.
One last pagoda.

Naritasan Pagoda. Image Credit: Ryan.
And now we’re at Narita Airport on the wrong side of the glass. We hope to see you again, too, Japan.

Narita Airport. Image Credit: Ryan.
For Ryan and T’s Next Big Japan Adventure!

Ryan and T and Japan. Image Credit: Ryan.

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?