Apologies to all, I had no chance to shop for quirky presents and meaningful gifts but all we could get was nicely packed cakes and Japanese snacks and small souvenirs to give – mostly bought from the airport and Asakusa because that was the only chance we had to ‘stock up’
As you will find out soon, our trip is much about food and Jap food is great! It is satisfying and quality assured everywhere we go. (Except for 1 meal, which I will elaborate further on) Contrary to comments from friends, food in Tokyo is actually relatively affordable. Portions as decent too and you can always savour the Japanese sincerity and pride in food preparation.
By the time we checked in to our room famished and weak from dragging luggage, the nearest and dearest place to eat was little shops opposite the main road from our hotel. Shinjuku is a very convenient place to stay, food is always within walking distance.
Those who are a fan of Red bean pancake will relish it lots here. It is freshly made and sold to you warm and full of fillings in every bite~ There is red bean (of course) and cream filling to choose from and both look much bigger compared to those sold here. The pastry is much thinner than local version so there is an explosion of flavour every time you sink you teeth in. *Bliss* This definitely settled Kel’s craving and im not sure if he would ever enjoy the fish pancake at Takashimaya basement marketplace anymore.
We have a full day of self planned itinerary so breakfast must be had. Italian Tomato café is seen around Shinjuku area with a few branches. This is probably the only place that is open early in the morning so we ordered ourselves hotdog and egg & smoked ham sandwich. Not sure if it is the atmosphere or because Jap bread tastes better, the meal was simple yet fulfilling.
Now we head off to Harajuku, it’s the Meiji-Jingu Shrine that we are visiting. Whilst there we could not curb our appetite, we ordered ramen and green tea. Now Im wondering how come there is only 1 piece of Cha Shu in my ramen? Somehow the ramen in Tokyo is not as salty as those we find here… Maybe less ajinomoto?
Next stop is Asakusa! This is a place locals come for their gift giving obligations. The entire street is endless supply of jap dolls, mobile phone trinkets, jap design pouches, touristy magnets, and traditional Japanese sweets such as mochi, rice cakes, ningyoyaki (small cakes with fillings) and rice crackers. The longest queue must be the best of all others right? We join the crowd to buy some for family and friends.
Nevermind, we know that there is a tempura restaurant around the corner and we set foot exploring. After a long walk (lost our way for a while), we sat down at the old-fashioned eatery and started a chicken-n-duck conversation to order our food. With my super limited single syllable Japanese and Kel’s blur look, we managed to have prawn tempura and a raw fish platter on our table.
This is the highlight – the fresh Tuna sashimi melts in the mouth even before you chew! OMG, I can’t describe this sensation. Usually I’m a raw salmon fan but I think they don’t serve salmon. However, no regrets! It is delicious and no fishy smell whatsoever! I don’t think I can ever settle with sakae sushi anymore. Bah!
Today we are going to Mt Fuji and Hakone day tour. Breakfast today is croquette sandwich and teriyaki chicken sandwich from a cottage style bakery. Special mention on instant coffee – the sachet is made in such a way you can hang the open ended paper sieve on the side of your mug, pour hot water in to brew, then add creamer and sugar to taste! So creative and interesting! Both of us were in awe and so amazed we bought some back to impressed others :p
Finally we have our lunch coming up. Our day tour comes with so-called Japanese Style Lunch but guess what, we were brought to a restaurant in a theme park hotel that says ‘Chinese Restaurant’. I should have known; how good can tour meals be?
We got back to town from countryside in no time by Shinkansen (bullet train). Again, we were looking around for our last dinner in Tokyo and wanted to eat to our hearts’ content, then comes sushi train!
To finish off the day, we had Crepe-in-a-Cone for dessert.
Today, we woke up reluctantly. We don’t wanna go back yet – we still want to see Tsukiji fish market, Roppongi, Shibuya, Ginza… To ease our mood, we indulge in Mister Donuts at the corner of our hotel street. Sitting by the window enjoying coffee and donuts on a quiet morning, it is the best way to end our trip.
Now Kel & I are back in reality and mourning the holiday over is quite a dampener. Nevertheless, with a plane ticket we can still go wherever we want to so that’s for future planning.