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I still can’t believe that I just came back from Tokyo 東京. One of the top cities in the world that I would love to set my foot onto. However, there’s just too much to see, to do & to visits! Would definitely come back again to a different prefecture with Papa C again! Paging Papa C!!!
Here’s our expenses for this recent Spring Trip to Tokyo. Price listed is PER PAX.
What is it about Tokyo that can make visitors feel as if the city belongs not in another country, but on another planet? It’s not often you find the perfect mix of traditional aesthetics and bold innovation, but in Japan, such a fusion is the norm. Tokyo leads the visual charge, offering travellers an incredible wealth of exceptionally designed spaces. The tree-lined Omotesando giving way to the pinball frenzy of Shibuya, Tomorrowland Shinjunku meeting the timeless Meiji shrine & literally the metro are is home to the sleepless Tokyo citizens. From sky-high hotels, towers to intimate homes in quaint residential neighbourhoods, the most beautiful restaurants (including both Michelin-starred establishments and bohemian cafés), bars (serving everything from cocktails to sake), and shops (ranging from haute couture boutiques to quirky street markets) to round out your trip to the capital city. You name it, they got it.
Since there are so much to do, so much to see, and most importantly, so much to eat. We actually focused more on the eating part as we have a list of food to try. And thus less shopping. Good thing for Papa C eh? However we spent quite a lot on our food and snacks to be brought home! LOL.
Tokyo has it all, from hole in the wall gyoza places to high-end Michelin sushi bars. If you’re planning on going to Tokyo, plan on eating, because eating is half the fun! Trust me!
And another mission of our spring trip: To discover the Spring culture of Japan!
Springtime in Japan is nothing less than magical. The country’s iconic SAKURA (cherry blossoms) indeed captured the attentions of visitors from near and far as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the city in soft, colourful splendour. We were quite confident looking at the forecast that it will be of full bloom during our stay but the full bloom period was dragged a few days later! However, we were lucky to catch the beautiful scenery between the first bloom and peak bloom dates. Like a dream come true!
Shoutout to my “Travel buddy, must-have & essential”
Samurai Wifi by Visondata – providing a quality Wi-Fi rental service at the lowest rates.
And as for Japan, they offer RM20 per day for UNLIMITED data!
Please visit http://visondata.com.my/ to know more! There are many other countries that they cover too!.
TOKYO: TO-DOS, TO-EAT & TO-VISIT
Day 1: The Arrival – How to get to Shinjuku via Airport Bus
We arrived in Tokyo pretty late (about 10pm) and lucky us the Airport Bus is still available and we wouldn’t wanna lugged our big luggages to the train station, climbing up & down the stairs – in which we thought would be a nightmare. Haha.
First thing we do right after we checked out from the custom is to visit this Tourist Information Centre to get our TOKYO SUBWAY TICKETS (applicable to all Tokyo Metro & Toel Subway lines). You can opt to choose from 24hrs (800 yen), 48hrs (1200 yen) & 72hrs pass (1500 yen).
And right opposite would be the Airport Bus Ticket Counter.
Bought the ticket directly to Shinjuku Station at 1230 yen per pax.
Right after we reached Shinjuku Station about 30 minutes later (that’s pretty fast right!), AiWei brought us for supper! On our way back to the hotel, we spotted this Yatai. A yatai (屋台) is a small, mobile food stall in Japan typically selling ramen or other food. The name literally means “shop stand”. And they have my favourite Oden! Eating out on the street on this chilly weather. Best!
Braised Pork Ramen – 900 yen
Oden – 100 yen per piece
Must order Daikon of course! Japanese juicy white radish, our all time favourite.
Stay: Hotel Sun Members Tokyo Shinjuku
An 8-minute walk from the nearest metro station, this relaxed high-rise hotel with a warm vibe is 7 km from both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Imperial Palace.
Area information here: https://goo.gl/dI1L9r
Day 2: Tsukiji Fish Market | Asakusa | Harajuku | Ometesando | Kabukicho, Shinjuku
Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場)
This busy market holds a special place within Japan’s food culture. This world’s most famous fish market, is the must-go for first time visitors to Tokyo Japan, like me! This popular wholesale market is where you will experience the real-life seafood auction with some of the biggest and freshest fishes.
5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
Directions: 5 min walk from Tsukijishijo Station (Oedo line)
We can have strawberries here EVERYDAY!
Look at the queue! Everyone queuing for Sushis, especially the famous Sushi Dai!
Bentomi Sushi @ Tsukiji
We settled for Bentomi instead as the queue is less crazy and it was very good too!!
Sensō-ji @ Asakusa
Everybody knows Tokyo doesn’t really have landmark. But if it did, it would have to be Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo station, (20 from Shinjuku, 30 from Shibuya or just 5 from Akihabara). In a city full of temples, Sensoji is the eldest, boasting almost one and a half millennium of history, Tokyo’s biggest souvenir market and perhaps the gaudiest rendezvous point: its Kaminarimon Gate with the huge red chochin lantern.
Suzukien x Nanaya Gelato Shop
We challenged ourselves and had their Level 7 Matcha Gelato! So good and not so bitter as we thought!
Their Sakura with green pea ice cream was just so-so.
Inside Suzukien Asakusa, 3-4-3 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Opening hours: 10am-5pm / closed 3rd Wed of every month (Thu if Wed is a holiday)
Directions: 3 min walk from Sensō-ji Temple OR 9 min walk from Asakusa Station (Ginza, Asakusa, Tobu Skytree lines)
Calbee Plus @ Harajuku
Snack food maker Calbee serves the freshest potato crisps you’ll ever taste at this Harajuku outpost, which opened on Takeshita-dori in December 2011. Calbee Plus sells limited-edition regional crisps from around the country, along with a variety of branded paraphernalia, but it’s the agetate no potato chips – crisps served straight from the fryer, complete with toppings including cheese, sour cream and chocolate – that cause the queues to snake out the door at the weekend.
Address: 1-16-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 9.30am-8.30pm
Directions: 5 min walk from Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), 6 min walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)
The busy Takeshita street @ Harajuku
Bill’s @ Omotesando
Famous for their best pancake in the world!
Omotesando Harajuku 7F
Tel: + 81 3-5772-1133 (Enquire)
Tel: + 81 50-3188-5033 (Book)
Directions: 2 min walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)
Pablo @ Omotesando
1-14-21 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Opening hours: 10am-9pm (last orders 8pm)
Directions: Harajuku Station (Yamanote line); Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)
Negishi @ Shinjuku
Ox tongue that taste like Kobe beef? Take my money please!!
Many other available outlets here: https://goo.gl/2rkPQS
Shinjuku night View
Day 3: Mount Takao (高尾山, Takaosan)| Asagaya
Breakfast at 7-Eleven!
Love their Ippudo Ramen, Dumplings an of course my favourite Meiji Milk & Onsen Egg Onigiri!
Mount Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo, offering beautiful scenery, an interesting temple and attractive hiking opportunities (yes a lot of walking). Although outside the city center, the mountain is still located within metropolitan Tokyo and takes only about 50 minutes to reach from Shinjuku.
We took the Keio Railways, as they offer the cheapest and fastest connections to Takaosan. Our ticket was 1380 yen which include a return ticket of Shinjuku-Takaosan, Cable car ride & Chair lift up to the mountains.
Direct semi-limited express trains, which take about 50 minutes, leave the underground Keio Shinjuku station every 20 minutes. It will reach the Takaosanguchi Station, the train’s terminal station, that is located at the foot of the mountain.
From here we took the Chair Lift up as we thought it is more thrilling and a step closer to nature.
Lunch @ Juichichomechaya
It snowed in Spring!
Must eat Dango at Mount Takao!
Too cold so we drank Sake to keep us warm. Best!
Some local good we bought as souvenirs from Takaosan
Hello from the TOP!
Takaosan Cheese Tart!
Took the cable car down instead as we wanna experience both & it was raining.
Sakura everywhere! Took this at the foot of Mount Takao before heading back to Shinjuku.
Yakitori Dinner @ Torikizoku
They have the best strawberry shortcakes & Mille Crepes we heard!
So must line up! Hehe.
HARBS @ LUMINE EST SHINJUKU
B2F, Lumine Est Shinjuku 3-38-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Weekday: OPEN 11am / CLOSE 10pm (Last Order 9.30pm)
Weekend and Holiday: OPEN 10.30am / CLOSE 9.30pm (Last Order 9pm)
Window Shopping @ ISETAN
It always feels great to look at their groceries, desserts and fruits!
Hotel Route Inn Tokyo Asagaya
Buffet Breakfast provided
Hotel Route Inn Tokyo Asagaya
5 Chome-35-14 Naritahigashi, Suginami, Tokyo 166-0015, Japan
Tel: +81 3-3220-5711
Directions: 3 min from Minami-asagaya Station
Day 4: Hakone (箱根)
There are a few ways to get to Hakone from Tokyo and we chose to go by the Odakyu Railway. Odakyu Railway operates between Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station and Hakone-Yumoto Station. The one way journey by the “Romance Car” limited express takes about 1.5 hours (the one we took). By slower express trains (kyuko), the journey takes about 2 hours, requires one transfer at Odawara Station, but costs about half cheaper. Bought these tickets from the Shinjuku Station.
Odakyu also offers the Hakone Free Pass (5140 yen for 2 days), which includes the round trip from Tokyo to Hakone and unlimited use of selected trains, cable cars, ropeways, cruise and buses in the Hakone area. Quite a steal!
Took the Ropeway up to Owakudani. What a view!
For a tranquil and scenic getaway, travel south to Hakone. There, you’ll experience extraordinary Mt. Fuji views, the famous Hakone Jinja Shinto shrine, and the natural hot springs of Owakudani Valley. The town is also located within the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Owakudani Valley checked!
The black eggs, or commonly called “Kuro-Tamago” by the locals are perfectly safe, although they may smell like sulfur. In fact they are believed to add 7 years to your life span! I ate 1.5! Haha.
Delicacies at Owakudani after the Black Egg
Cruising on Lake Ashi
The obligatory picture at the Torii Gate!
Here I am! Touching the famous Baby Wishing Tree at the Hakone-Jinja Shrine!
I told Papa C not to worry as I didn’t touch with 2 hands (that’s wishing for a twin by the way! LOL)
Mount View Hotel (Ryokan)
This is the ryokan we chose to spend a night in Hakone. They offer indoor and outdoor Nigori-yu hot spring baths, Japanese-style rooms and Japanese cuisine. The rooms feature a tatami (woven-straw) floor, on which traditional futon bedding is spread to sleep in.
Japanese meals featuring local and seasonal ingredients are served for breakfast and dinner, at the dining room. Love this experience!
After onsen effect!
I always look forward to Ryokan Breakfasts. So pretty looking!
Hotel Mount View
Japan, 〒250-0631 Kanagawa Prefecture,
Ashigarashimo District, 箱根町Sengokuhara, 885
Feeling hungry? There’s a Lawson Convenient Store just down the street!
Day 5: Hakone | Gotemba
Yunessun Hot Spring & Spa Resort
More water park than hot spring, this resort is split into two areas: “Yunessun” with themed pools and water attractions (bathing suits required), and “Mori No Yu” with traditional hot spring baths (no bathing suits). We had fun dipping in the onsen themed pools like Coffee, Green Tea & Sake!
Yunessun Hot Spring & Spa Resort
Japan, 〒250-0407 Kanagawa Prefecture,
Ashigarashimo District, 箱根町二ノ平１２９７
Phone: +81 460-82-4126
Konbini Lunch @ Family Mart
My fave Oden
Gotemba Premium Outlets
The Gotemba Premium Outlets are Japan’s most popular outlet mall, located in Gotemba City at the base of Mount Fuji, not far from Hakone. Thus, it’s always a good idea to visit this outlet for a shopping session from Hakone. Hehe.
The mall features over 200 stores along with a number of restaurants, and a food court filled with Japanese food selections too.
When coming from Hakone-Yumoto, it is covered by the Hakone Free Pass too. We came direct from YUnessun so there’s a direct bus.
I just turned into a devil at Gotemba! Hehe.
Sutameshi DonDon Ramen @ Shinjuku
Day 6: Shinjuku Gyoen | Azabu-juban | Shibuya
For Sakura Viewing & Hanami!
This place features more than one thousand cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including numerous early and late blooming trees. There are spacious lawn areas, and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. Admission fee is 200 yen per pax & alcoholic drinks are prohibited.
So many pretty pink details! Too beautiful! It’s like a dream come true with Sakura. Major love!
My little Hanami experience!
Spring date with our fellow blogger friends! Thank you CK & Kenny for showing us around, and also for the sweet treat!!
Afuri @ Azabu-juban
Must try Afuri in Tokyo! Their specialty is Yuzu (citrus) style ramen. Combined with your choice of Shio (salt) based broth, the Yuzu balances the richness and flavors of the soup, and lifts, lightens and brightens for the perfect ramen.
1F Azabujuban TS Bld., 1-8-10 Azabujuban,
Opening hours: 11:00am – 5:00am (Open 7 days a week)
Other outlets at: Ebisu, Harajuku, Nakameguro, Roppongi Hills, Sagenjaya, Yokohama, Shunjuku & Portland
4 min walk from Azabu-Juban Station (Namboku, Oedo lines)
Found the NEW STARBUCKS GREEN TEA PUDDING! World’s first yo!
Hachiko Statue @ Shibuya
Hachiko & Hello Kitty – Shibuya’s Limited Edition!
Dominique Ansel Bakery @ Omotesando
The must-have Frozen S’mores. It is indeed a must have item when you visit Dominique Ansel Bakery. The texture was very delightful, a perfect combination between hot melty freshly torched marshmallow with creamy cold ice cream and chocolate inside we just could’t get enough of it.
Add: JINGUMAE, SHIBUYA-KU, TOKYO 5-7-14
Opening hours: 10:00am – 7pm daily
5 minutes walk (450 meters) from Omotesando Station
Loving Tokyo so far, but the sights, sounds, and tastes of bustling this city can more than make up for a tedious travel experience. And for vacationers who want to get the absolute most out of their sojourn east like us, we recommend venturing outside of the capital city for a day, or two.
Spring fever merchandises. We see PINK everywhere!
Savouring last min Japanese treats of green tea & Onigiri at the airport. There’s even real Sakura trees at their airport!!
Memorable Spring Trip with my BFF on www.ivyaiwei.com
Thanks to her for planning almost everything and read her detailed version on her blog!
And my mommy dearest for being such a sport!