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Day 15: Homeward Bound with a Heavy Heart

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A long day on the shinkansens so we made an early line for the Starbucks to rejoice once more in the wonder of simple western breakfasts. We break up our journey back by stopping in Kyoto for a few more hours. We were amazed to see how quickly the cherry blossom had passed and a stark reminder of how lucky we have been to catch it in full bloom almost consistently throughout our travels.

Tokyo is a rude shock to the senses as the intensity of the city comes after such tranquility in the mountains. Our last night is in a futuristic but tiny ryokan and I am determined to have one last culinary adventure - tempanyaki.

This appears to be easier said than done but through the wonders of Google we find a little place out in the suburbs which gets some good reviews so we venture out into the Tokyo night for one last time. Predictably we get completely lost but do eventually find what turns out to be a fantastic place to spend our last evening.

We are lucky enough to have a seat beside the hot plate and watch in awe as the chef prepares tiny slivers of insanely expensive Kobe beef and all manner of other goodies. I treat myself to a very small portion and I can confirm that I will probably not taste any finer meat in my lifetime.

It seems like the perfect evening to a perfect trip. Within hours I am up again but before I make my way to the airport, there is one destination I am determined not to miss - Tsukiji fish market! It is a little after 6am by the time I get there but the place is still in full swing. The place is a riot of motorised carts speeding massive tuna carcasses and all manner of other fish from auction to auction.

It's an amazing sight and the perfect place to have my final piece of sushi - O-toro - the finest cut of fatty tuna. What a place, what a city, what a country, what a trip!


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