After the exhausting day at Tokyo Disneyland, we spent the next 2 and a half days visiting the popular places of interest in Tokyo. The Man had all the routes planned, and the only mode of transport we needed to take was the subway trains and walking from 1 station to the other.
Our first stop after breakfast was Sensoji Temple (Asakusa), with the famous Kaminarimon (eight-pillared gate) and Nakamise Street, with its beautiful but over-priced souvenirs.
I love these bunnies! And Japanese floral motifs. But practicality took over and pulled me away before I parted with my yen.
Ameya Yoko Cho, located between Ueno and Okachimachi, was our second stop. This street is not unlike a local wet market, except it’s much cleaner and the floor is dry and rubbish-free. There were also several mini marts / pharmacies, but curiously enough, every one of them would display, prominently at the shop front, sanitary napkins. Hmmm…
Our first non-Disney meal. Clockwise from right: Soba in hot soup, mini fried prawn in batter with rice, and udon with Japanese fish cake. Not quite the delicious stuff, but good enough for us to slurp the noodles like the locals and fill our hungry bellies.
And the meals came from these vending machines. Not the food, but the food coupons. Put the money in, choose the picture you like, press the button, and the coupon slips out. Hand the coupon to the counter staff, wait for the almost instant meal to be ready, and find a high stool to sit on, and you’re ready to tuck in. And the Japanese eat at an incredible speed! We saw severals customers come and go before we were done with our meal.
After-lunch fruits for us. While walking along the street of Ameya Yoko Cho, we chanced upon a stall selling thick wedges of honey dew (100 yen), rock melon (200 yen) and pineapple (100 yen) on a wooden disposable chopstick. We were soon squatting near the conveniently placed dustbin in front of the stall. We figured squatting allowed us to be nearer the ground so the juices dripping from the melons would land on the floor instead of on our clothes. Our squatting sent stares our way, but hey, rather stares than stains right? Our happy, greedy bites of the melons brought on a huge buying crowd for this stall almost immediately. The melons were so sweet I swear my teeth cried murder! But they were worth every yen.
The Metropolitan Government Building and the surrounding area. The view on the 44th floor of Building 1 was magnificent and daunting at the same time. Grey and gloomy tall buildings all around with no end (sea) in sight. Somehow I still preferred to see some ocean view like I’m used to back home. This was Matthew discovering a new way to walk down a long flight of stairs. He would walk down 1 step, sit down, stand up, walk down another step, repeat action x times. Where does he find all the energy?
Next morning, after a very late breakfast, we set off for Shibuya. The place for prettily made-up dolls to sell clothes, handbags and accessories to you. I couldn’t stop staring at these pretty dolls; they were so immaculately dressed and made up they didn’t look real to me at all. Nevertheless, the Man was busy feasting on eye candy, Matthew was busy collecting different coloured brochures of Shibuya 109, and I was busy sucking in my stomach, looking nonchalant, and trying hard not to feel hideously under-dressed and ugly at the same time. Skip.
The rest of the day was spent walking along the Shibuya area, then followed by Takashimaya Times Square. But it was not Takashimaya that excited me but Tokyu Hands, a chain store that sells quirky souvenirs alongside household and D.I.Y items (think a marriage between Action City and Daiso, but much bigger, more adorable and fun).
On our last morning in Tokyo, we walked a few kilometres from our hotel to arrive at Remy Shopping Centre, where we bought the above as snacks to last the walk back to the hotel. Of course, not forgetting the shopping spree I had.
Our last lunch in Tokyo. We went into this ramen shop by chance the day before and I was hooked! Sure, it was another vending-machine-coupon-under-the-subway shop that sells affordable (by Japanese standards) ramen, but I didn’t care. The high class restaurant could’t satisfy my taste buds as much as this shop could. Instead of the usual miso/shoyu/pork bone soup base, this was wholesome chicken soup. What better way to end our journey. Yummy!
Matthew enjoying his in-flight dinner of his favourite spagetti and broccoli. He must have been starving as he polished off the entire box! So long Tokyo, we hope to be back again!