Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Friday, September 25, 2015
Headed straight to Shibuya in the morning to queue up at the restaurant that was recommended by Ching. Located on the 4th floor of the Mark City mall's East Wing, Midori sushi restaurant already had a queue forming even before the restaurant opened.
We arrived at about 10.45am (restaurant opened at 11am) and our queue number was 30. Joined the end of the line and waited as more people streamed in to get a ticket. As we were chatting, a guy suddenly comes up to us to ask if we were 2 pax, and gave us his ticket number 19! What a stroke of luck. Turns out his friend had already come earlier and gotten ticket number 3.
With our smaller queue number, we were able to be seated soon after the restaurant opened, and even managed to get a counter seat where we could see all the sushi being prepared. We ordered one ultimate sushi set and one tuna sushi set which cost 2000yen and 2800 yen respectively.
The sushi was super fresh and so good, and we ordered extra pieces of sea urchin, salmon roe and also inari sushi. Sosososo good.
Stomachs filled, we made our way to Roppongi Hills. From what I gather, Roppongi Hills was in a more atas part of Tokyo. There was a Belgium beer fest happening at one of the atriums, and there was a good crowd attending the event. I was surprised to see that each attendee was only issued with one plastic beer glass and some tokens, and that participants would have to wash their beer glasses at various rinsing points scattered around. What a brilliant way to minimise litter!
Lazed in one of the parks / open spaces and then made our way to Tokyo Midtown. There was a park next to Tokyo Midtown that had a chill vibe to it. Lots of people were sprawled across the grass, lying on picnic mats and reading books or chatting with friends. We bought our drinks from Starbucks and spent some time lazing around on the grass too.
It was such a beautiful day and we took a much slower pace compared to the few days before.
Ended the day by checking out the Tokyo Tower and heading back to the hotel area where we discovered a branch of that outlet that sold tempura and soba. Yay! Dinner was settled.
Wasn't as exhausted as previous days but was tired from all the walking nonetheless, so fell asleep pretty quickly after my shower. Time in Tokyo is passing so quickly!
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
I'm thankful for holidays with the husband. I think we make a good team traveling together and we always have such a good time exploring places together. What I like is how we don't have have a fixed plan, and we're flexible in where to go and what to do and always manage to have a great time.
Saw a sign that said "Shibuya - 3km, Harajuku - 5km" so we decided to walk instead of taking the subway.
Had breakfast at one of the few joints in the area that was open in the morning, Freshness Burger. I had a chicken teriyaki burger and +3 had a hotdog and spme croissant-puff with cream. A yummy breakfast to start the day.
Walked to what we thought was Shibuya, but turns out we were still in the Shinjuku area. Japan is big! Lol. Popped into Takashimaya Times Square cos they had a sign advertising Tokyu Hands and +3 wanted to see what it was. Turns out Tokyu Hands is just a brand of a department store that sells all kinds of stuff like stationery, toys, household stuff etc.
Bought some toys there (Star Wars for him, Pose Skeleton for me) and walked around the various levels. Bought some food from the basement food market (tuna sushi, chicken yakitori, plum rice balls and sweet potato - which were all ok only) and ate at the rooftop garden, a nice space we discovered that gave a gorgeous view of the city.
Took the subway to the Harajuku station (it's got another name) and walked along the Otomesando Avenue. From Harajuku we walked to Shibuya, stopping at Tower Records and a couple of other shops. I took a break while +3 explored the area and took some pictures of the public spaces.
If you're in the Otomesando Avenue area, take a walk along the back alleys. It has a lot of interesting shops and lots more character.
Saw the famous Shibuya Crossing (crazy So. Many. People.). Originally thought of looking for this sushi joint that was highly recommended but we were too tired and decided to head back to the hotel instead.
Took the wrong train to the outskirts, but discovered it soon enough and managed to find the right one after. Dinner was at the same Tamoya-like place. Heh.
On Monday, we went to Ueno and Asakusa. We headed to the Ueno Park which was crazy crowded (the Imperial Palace Park was waaaay nicer and less people). Also visited the National Museum of Western Art (admissions at 430yen each - according to +3, I didn't want to go in but he decided I needed some culture lol). This museum was designed by Le Corbusier, apparently the grand master of modern architecture.
Hilariously, +3 thought another building (the Symphony Orchestra building) was the one by designed Le Corbusier. (I guessed correctly hahahaha).
The collection used to be owned by a rich guy called Matsukata, who lost his paintings during the war, and then the Japanese governmnetasked the French government to give them back after the war as part of the peace treaty. Or something like that.
Bought some ice cream from an ice cream truck after, then walked around the area before heading to Asakusa.
Asakusa is like Old Tokyo, and we originally had plans to see the Senso-Ji temple but OMG there were So. Many. People. Decided to just have lunch at a nearby steakhouse (The Very Steak!) which was delicious, despite being a standing only place. We had 300gm of ribeye steak each. Yum. Popped over to Starbucks where I discovered that they had a short size drink (smaller than the small size, tall). Matcha tea latte = love.
Walked past a building designed by Philip Starck (not sure how to spell), which looked like a black square building with a golden turd (or carrot if you're polite) on the top. Lol. This guy also designed +3's lemon juicer. Hehehe. Sat by the river for a bit then headed back to the hotel.
Explored the area around our hotel in the evening. Booked the wrong Hotel Sunroute - instead of the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku that everyone was recommending, I booked the Hotel Sunroute Higashi Shinjuku instead. Thankfully it was also near a sunway station.
The hotel is located near Korea Town and also near the Square Enix building (some office building of some game company- +3 says he feels like he is having an umrah by visiting that building. Lololol). We were also within walking distance (about 8 min walk?) to the Don Quijote shop- the Japanese version of Mustafa. Dinner was at a local Tamoya-like joint opposite the hotel which is open 24 hours. We picked items off the shelf and paid for it before sitting down to eat.
It was a tiring day but fun exploring the city. Passed out when I got back to the hotel. Lol.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
We got in to Tokyo yesterday, after a pleasantly comfortable 7 hour flight on SQ. Knowing that Baby Chung is now using my bladdar as a kicking bag, +3 let me have the aisle seat so I could make my frequent trips to the toilet.
An uneventful flight, thankfully, the highlights being my multiple toilet runs and watching Unlucky Plaza on the in-flight entertainment system. Thumbs up for Unlucky Plaza.
There was some initial confusion upon arriving at Narita Airport on which train to take to get to our hotel, but I'm blessed with an amazing husband who managed to figure it out. We bought tickets for the Narita Express (about 3020 yen each) and waited for the train. We also bought Pasmo cards to use on the subway.
Got to Tokyo station, got out and explored a little while looking for the stations where we couldchange to another line. Again, I have to say how amazing +3 is. I don't know how I would have navigated this alone.
By the time we checked in to our hotel (Hotel Villa Fountaine Kudanshita), we were starving. Put our bags in our room and explored the neighbourhood. Found a little joint that said "Tendon Soba Udon" and went inside. I was wondering what "Vegetable Tendon" was, and turns out a tendon is a tempura rice bowl. Ahsohneh!
Ate first meal in Tokyo, then walked around for about an hour or so. The weather at night is nice and cool, and there were lots of small restaurants and minimarts (7-11, Lawson's etc) around. Not a bad place to be for our first two nights in Japan!
Today, we woke up and skipped the hotel breakfast (looked like toast and scrambled eggs) and decided to have breakfast at a cafe we spotted the night before that had charcoal roasted coffee. +3 had pancakes with azuki and a scoop of ice cream, and I had a sandwich (roasted chicken and egg mayo).
Walked down to the Nippon Budokan and then down the Imperial Palace Park and explored the Imperial Palace. The park had gorgeous open spaces and we spent some time lying on the grass, in the shade of the trees.
Had curry for lunch at some place called Hot Spoon near the subway station, and then took the train to Akihabara aka the place with all the electronics.
Went inside a book store that had 9 stories, 3 of which were dedicated to all things comic-related. Beware if the sign on the 9th floor says it is for "portfolio" cos what it really is are the pornos. Lol. Imagine being the only female on that floor.
Walked to another building and explored Muji and wow, the selection of stuff is so much larger than what we have in Singapore!
Was feeling tired so we stopped at a cafe, and I ended up dozing off for about 10-15 minutes. Finally woke up and headed to some mall (can't remember what it was called) where we spent the rest of the afternoon. 7 floors of stationery (we bought some pens) and electronics and household appliances and toys (bought some bandai too, +3 was a happy camper).
Made our way back and ate at the same place we had dinner last night. Tomorrow, we check out and head to our hotel in Shunjuku.