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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Kanda Matsuri Festival

NB. Photos and edits in purple added 11/06/07

We've mapped our itinerary around Japan to take in as many festivals as possible and were ecstatic to discover that we could coincide our visit with the famous Kanda Matsuri festival in Tokyo.

udon soba

But first, breakfast at a soba and udon bar -- our first for this trip. I had loved slurping on noodles at the little stand-up places you find at train stations on my last trip to Japan. It was always a cheap feed. Today's breakfast near Ikebukero station didn't disappoint: a huge bowl of soba in sweet stock that fuelled us for the day ahead. Mine was topped with a tempura patty of vegetables. With no English on the menus but plenty of pictures, we were grateful for their system of ordering by numbers.

ebi kaki soba
Ebi kaki (prawn tempura patty) soba 450 yen

three tastes soba
Three tastes soba 350 yen

gobooten soba
Gobooten (tempura vegetable patty) soba 360 yen

soba and chopsticks
Digging in

We then headed to the Kanda Matsuri at Kanda Myojin Shrine. Lots of fascinating food stalls around the temple (little fruits dipped in toffee, whole bananas on skewers coated in chocolate and sprinkles, okonomiyaki and more) and we admired the elaborate portable shrine and watched dances and drumming performances (Japanese drumming is wonderful and really makes you want to learn it and yell and beat in unison!).

Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba on a subway ad

View of Suidobashi from Hijiribashi Bridge, Ochanomizu

Kanda Festival
Spot the Kanda Festival participant

Kanda Festival
Rallying the troops

kanda myojin shrine
Kanda Myojin shrine

fruit toffee
Homemade toffees on a stick

strawberry toffee
Strawberry in toffee

roasting nuts
Roasting nuts over fire

Mikoshi portable shrine



pork skewers
Pork belly skewers

crepe eating
Crepe fan club


dog outfit
Final touches

dog outfit
Dog dressed up


BBQ corn cobs

chocolate bananas
Chocolate-coated banana treats for kids

I loved this idea!

vegetable skewers
Asparagus, bacon and enoki mushrooms

salted river fish
Salted bbq river fish

dog outfit
Doggie model

shaved ice stall
We were hot and thirsty. Shaved ice to the rescue!

lemonade ice
Blue lemonade shaved ice 300 yen


These girls could yell! I bet they could beat anyone into submission
(in rhythmic unison of course)


Mikoshi portable shrine procession

Sponge cakes 12 for 300 yen
(quite plain actually and a little chewy)

From there a trip to Tokyo Bay where we had a major distraction at the 100 yen shop in Tokyo Fashion Town (oh my goodness, the wonderful kitchen gadgets and crockery that can be had for 100 yen! And the amount of Hello Kitty stamped patty pans is quite staggering.

patty pans
Obento patty pans

 Hello Kitty patty pan
Hello Kitty patty pan large

 Hello Kitty patty pan
Hello Kitty patty pans small

100 yen shop basket
100 yen shop booty

We finished up at Palette Town in Odaiba which has a huge ferris wheel (there's a ferris wheel everywhere you look in Japan, it seems), video games and lots of car-related distractions at Mega Web. There's an electric car you can ride (200yen and a 40 minute wait when we were there), various VR racing games and you can test-drive different vehicles outside. There are also plenty of cars in the showcase. We made do with a Thelma and Louise-type re-enactment in the showroom Lexus convertible.

man bag
Man bag alert!

We loved that Japanese men embrace the man bag.

odaiba bay
Telecom Center at Odaiba

Toyota mega web
Car rides at the Toyota city showcase Mega Web

 Car catalogue vending machines
Car catalogue vending machines at Mega Web

fuji television
Fuji Television headquarters designed by Kenzo Tange

ferris wheel
Palette Town ferris wheel

We had a light dinner at another one of those chain places (we think it's Korean-inspired).

jumbo neon sign at shinjuku

vending machine
Our dinner waiter

pork and vegetables
Pork and vegetables fried combo meal 580 yen

We followed this er, light meal (well we hadn't eaten lunch at all) with a well-earned Sapporo beer and some snacks at an izakaya near Shinjuku station. It's a narrow smoky alley jostling with tiny bars and little grills out the front. In traditional fashion we supped on beers and snacked on sweet teriyaki skewers chosen from the selection available. We had beef and green onion; pork and green onion; tongue; and liver. The liver one was my favourite - sweet and soft and juicy.

A diner in the smoky alley of izakayas

Sapporo beer
Sapporo beer

Marinated tongue skewers

pork scallion skewers
Pork and scallion skewers

Beef and scallion skewers, liver skewers
15 skewers + 2 Sapporo beers = 3600 yen

Tomorrow we head to Takayama. It's a little break from the big cities for a few days. But there'll be no rest for our ever-curious stomachs!

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5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/12/2007 11:58:00 pm


  • At 5/13/2007 1:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And the amount of Hello Kitty stamped patty pans is quite staggering

    Oh, it gets much worse than that...

  • At 5/17/2007 9:15 am, Blogger Nora B. said…

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait to see the photos!

  • At 5/17/2007 2:58 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Hello Kitty Hell - lol. I would love to fly Hello Kitty Airlines!

    Hi Nora B - I am taking plenty of photos, don't you worry! Now there's just the task of editing and uploading them all when I get back!

  • At 6/13/2007 8:25 pm, Blogger Juji said…

    those little sponge cakes remind me so much of something similar i used to love when i was little.

    they were my treat after grocery shopping in china town. except they were freshly made and not bland or tough.



  • At 6/13/2007 9:56 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Juji - Our cakes were already cooked and sitting in a warmer. Maybe that's why they weren't so good :( I can imagine how they would taste hot and fresh. Mmm... yummmmmm


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