Hello965 Friends: Tokyo طوكيو

Tokyo by @Almallaks

 

Why we chose this city: I think this one is self-explanatory really. It’s TOKYO! This city is HUGE. Seriously enormous. The best way to describe it is that it’s a city made up of a smaller cities. There’s so much to see and do in each area, it’s ridiculous.

 

Duration: We stayed 4 nights at the start of the trip plus another 4 nights at the end of the trip. Totally worth it and would say that’s a good time to stay in Tokyo.

 

Where we stayed VS. where we think you should stay:We ended up staying at the E Hotel Higashi Shinjuku in the area of “Shinjuku.” More details on the area later. The hotel wasn’t that bad, but it was very small. What was nice was that there was a café downstairs (International) where we could have breakfast and coffee before heading out for the day. It was a 15min walk to the main area of Shinjuku which wasn’t bad but you can get hotels much closer to the “action.”

We recommend that you stay in the area of “Shibuya” though. We just loved that area. It’s very nice and has many hotels, plus loads of shopping, activities and cafes. From what we saw, there were a few hotel options close to the main Japan Rail Station, including: Cerulean Tower Hotel, Shibuya Excel Hotel, and Shibuya Tokyu Inn.(PS. We used booking.com for all our hotel bookings).

Let’s start with the details of each area in TOKYO:

Shibuya

  • Things to do/see in Shibuya:
    • Shibuya Crossing: This is a 6-way traffic light crossing. Yes. 6 ways and it’s the busiest you’ll ever see. It. Is. Amazing.
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    • Tsutaya: This is a shopping complex across from the main Japan Rail Station. There is a Starbucks there. Grab a coffee and go to the first floor. You’ll get an amazing outsider view of the crossing. So crazy to watch from above.
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    • Hachiko Dog Statue:right in front of the Japan Rail Station; smaller than you’d imagine, but the story is very cute: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachikō
    • If you like cats, there’s a cat café, yes seriously. We went. So quiet you get to play with the cats for 30 mins and they give you cookies and a cup of coffee. So if you like cats, it’s a nice place for a coffee break! http://wandertokyo.com/cat-cafe-hapineko/

       

    • Go check out the Pachinko slot area, crazy. We walked in and out. It was so loud and everyone was so into it. Like a casino.
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  • Shopping in Shibuya:
    • PARCO1: Japanese brands
    • Maraque 109: Japanese’s highstreet styles – top floor has a café with recommended bubble jasmine tea. If you like bubble tea, go try it.
    • Don Quixotos: There are lots of branches of this place around Tokyo, it’s kind of a cheap, fun gifts place. Girls, they sell black liquid eye liner there, so amazing. I got two of them with me and wish I got more.
    • Tokyu Hands: Best stationary and house stuff etc. It’s like the Japanese Ikea. There are branches in almost all areas, ask your hotel. You can and may want to spend a lot of time there.
  • Food in Shibuya:
    • Food was really a bit difficult for us in general while in Japan. We always tried to go to places with an English menu because we don’t eat a lot of seafood. Always ask your hotel for recommendations if you are the same. If you are more adventurous, then you have nothing to worry about!
    • For the adventurous: a place recommended to us(but we didn’t end up going) was a typical Japanese seafood place: http://www.uoshins.com/i/shibuya.html Ask for the chef mix.

Daikonyama

  • Things to see/do in Daikonyama:
    • This is a great residential area walking distance from Shibuya, it was one of our favorite places. So quiet and so so pretty.
    • Crossfitters: The only Crossfit box in Tokyo is in this area! We actually went for a few sessions there.

       

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  • Shopping in Daikonyama:
    • The area is filled with stores on every street and every corner. Really nice boutiques with cool stuff. Ladies will definitely enjoy.
  • Food in Daikonyama:
    • Hacienda: If you need a change from Japanese food, this is a great Mexican restaurant with a killer view.

Harajuku

  • Things to see/do in Harajuku:
    • This is the place where you’ll see the crazy anime dressed people. So fun. Don’t be shy to ask them for pictures, they don’t mind at all!
    • Meiji Jingu Shrine is a must.
    • Yoyogi Park: Beautiful park. We watched the cherry blossoms there. It was sublime. One of the best experiences of our lives. If you go around the same time and get lucky, this is where you should go to spend an afternoon. You get your food and drinks and there are plastics mats already set up on the floor. People go there and spend the day just hanging out.IMG_0615
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  • Shopping in Harajuku:
    • The area has many nice shops. The busiest street in Harajuku is called takeshita-doriand it is lined with cafes and stores and is VERY busy. There is a store that we liked called “Monki” and it is a Japanese version of Breshka/H&M.
    • They have a Nike store and a Hello Kitty store. Ask for directions.
    • Recommended to us (but we didn’t go): Condomania, Kiddieland, Laforet and the main walking street are all shopping musts.20140322_112011
  • Food in Harajuku:
    • Recommended to us: Uoshin.web for Okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes!) for the adventurous and the not so adventurous eaters because you can choose what your toppings are J We didn’t try this place in particular, but we tried these pancakes in Osaka. Really special and highly recommended!

Shinjuku

  • Things to see/do in Shinjuku:
    • You’ll really enjoy this place at night. It’s kind of like Times Square with the lights and action on the streets.

       

    • Kareoke! They have many karaoke places, ask your hotel for a good one and book a session. They take it very seriously over there.
  • Shopping in Shinjuku:
    • There are random stores as well as department stores. Walk around and explore. Especially the area in and around the Japan Rail Station. (Yes the JR Station has shopping too! More than one floor even.)
  • Food in Shinjuku:
    • Robot Restaurant: ask your hotel to make a reservation. SO MUCH FUN. This is a must! DO NOT GOOGLE THIS. Just book, go and be surprised!
    • Rokassen: All you can eat for 90 minutes! You grill your own food, very fun and delicious. http://www.rokkasen.co.jp/map.html tel: 0120-666-528 Building name: O-Gard building. Ask for directions.
       

       

    • Check out the stuff they have at their 7-Elevens. Very interesting. We liked the Sakura flavored Hagen Daz ice cream and Kit Kat. Their Green Tea Kit Kat is famous as well!
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 Asakusa

  • Things to see/do in Shinjuku:
    • This is just for a quick trip so you can see the Asakusa Shrine.
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  • Shopping in Asakusa:
    • Make sure to ask your hotel if the market around the shrine is open. And only go when the market is open. It is super! BUY ALL YOUR SOUVENIRS AND GIFTS THERE!
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Next stop: OSAKA. [JR Train:  (Tokyo to Osaka) – 3h 14m – 1 transfer]

Coming up, stay tuned 😉

@Almallaks

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