Summer in Japan: Tokyo

by - 17:55

Oh my its been almost half a year since my trip and I have yet to finish the last part of it. I've been so busy with school and work but now that it's the study break, let continue this last post before the year ends.

Ending of from my last post, Summer in Japan: Sapporo and Otaru, we had an afternoon flight from New Chitose Airport to Haneda Airport so we had lunch at the airport right before our flight. 

Once we landed, we checked in to Shinagawa Prince Hotel, which I do not recommend purely because of the location. Although the station is right across the road, it's always PACKED in the morning and evening as its an interchange and most people use it to commute to and from work. There's nothing much to explore in the area as well, other than a few expensive departmental stores and supermarket, think of it as our CBD area. I enjoyed staying at Akihabara much more when I came here last year, where there's not one but two convenience stores just below my apartment, quite a number of eateries along the streets and the station located a few streets away.

Moving on, we had dinner at a yakiton restaurant at Shinjuku, along the alley near Yodobashi West Main Store. They specialise in grilled pork skewers, although they have other items on the menu. The food was amazing for the price, around 100~200¥ per stick. They also provide a stick of grilled beef for each diner as an appetizer on the house for the tax that the diner has to pay at the end of the meal. We had almost every single part of the pig, the innards were super fresh with no foul smell and grilled just right where they were tender. Paired with ice cold beer, it was a perfect dinner after a long day of travelling. I don't have the name of the place, but I do have the address: 

1 Chome-15-10 Nishishinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0023

The next day, we spent the afternoon at Asakusa as my dad wanted to go to the temples, but before that let's have breakfast!


Can you imagine that I've been to Japan three times but this is the FIRST time that I'm having Ichiran?! Hand's down one of the BEST ramen I ever had and mind you, I had a lot of ramen in my 21 years of existence. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.


We headed over to the temple after and it was crowded so I couldn't get a nice shot in front the temple. We spent some time wandering around the streets by the temple and bought quite a few things such as a drawstring bag and a pair of earrings to match my yukata, and I saw a dango shop and bought a mandatory dango. Here's a random shot along the street and a taiyaki cause my mouth got itchy. The weather in Tokyo is so much HOTTER than Hokkaido in June, the stockings were not a great idea and I was SWEATING.


For lunch, we had fugu at one of the shops along the street. There was a chinese waitress on shift so it was easy to communicate and get recommendations! We got the steamboat option with some sashimi, fugu karage and grilled shirako. I wasn't hungry to begin with, so having a light meal like this was just nice for me. 

The rest of the day was spent lazing around Shinagawa while my dad goes halfway across Japan to purchase a watch and comes back to have dinner with us at a Gyu-Kaku nearby. The one we went to was one of the premium ones and it was much better than the ones in Singapore. The regular Gyu-Kaku in Japan are considered fast-food and the quality isn't that great so you can give them a miss.

The next day we spent our morning to hunt for this fruit stall that my dad goes to with his friends, only to find out that they were having renovations and moved to Yurakucho station for the time being. We only found out after a few hours, where we chilled at a Starbucks for a while. I swear, the milk they use in their coffee is different from ours, IT'S SO MUCH CREAMIER WHY. 


Lunch was unagi don at a place we found walking along the streets 43179745 times. I got the small portion as I was still full from breakfast + Starbucks. 


We found the fruit shop and while my dad was stuffing the luggage to the bream with fruits, I was amused with huge avocados. The place is right by the station, below the train track. Their fruits are expensive but you do get what you pay for. They also have some freshly cut fruits that they sell for 100¥ each, so I got a pineapple that tasted like candy. 


I'm gonna sidetrack a little here, focusing on this powder that I bought at the drugstore while shopping for some pads. Ever since I reached Tokyo, I've seen ads on the train for these powders. I was hunting for a translucent powder during the trip so I went to see if the drugstore I'm in carries it. They do and after asking if the powder is translucent powder, can it be used for oily skin, blah blah blah, I'm like okay I'll take one. The sales lady was SO HAPPY which was odd but I was too oblivious to it. I went to make payment with my mom and saw the register went from 299¥ to 8,000¥. It took me a while to convert the amount in my head by my mom already paid, BUT I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT I SPENT SGD$91 ON A POWDER NO WONDER THE LADY WAS HAPPY. This is some serious tourist bimbo moment and my mom asked if I asked the lady how much was it and I sheepishly went no :')

The powder works amazingly btw, which does not help the situation. I hate the fact that I love this powder.

Okay, time for dinner. The place that we wanted to go was fully booked so after chatting with the person at the hotel concierge, we headed to a place that provided, dare I say, one of the BEST meals of my life. This place should be a bucket list item if you love beef, amiyakisukiyaki, or food in general. Be warned, it is EXTREMELY pricey. 

The place has two floors, one for teppanyaki and the other for amiyaki and sukiyaki. It's a traditional restaurant where you have to take your shoes off and sit on the floor. We were greeted by our server and brought to a room where they explained the menu to us. They only offer sets, where each person will have to order at least one and you can choose to order additional beef ala carte if you wish to. We ordered 4 sets of amiyaki and a serving of beef to be done sukiyaki style. 


We started off with a cold mushroom side dish and grilled eel with edamame soup. 


After the appetizers came the main star of the show. They brought in a charcoal grill right at the door of the room where the server will be grilling our beef for us, piece by piece. Condiments were provided to pair with the beef, but let me tell you the beef was perfect all by itself. It was grilled to PERFECTION. The room got smoky and we smelled of barbeque after that but it was all worth it. The quality of the beef was simply amazing, having someone doing the grilling for you in front of you (so that we don't burn it), and serving it to you piece by piece. This is some next level dining experience. 


Although the place is known for amiyaki, I much prefer sukiyaki. The beef used for sukiyaki and sliced thinner and cooked in a mixture of dashi, soy sauce and sugar. The server cooks this at the table, where you can see her do her magic, pouring in the soy, sprinkling the sugar and pouring in some dashi when it get's too hot. The seasonings were done just right, just sweet enough to be savoury. The shirataki noodles were added towards the end where it soaked up all the sauce and juices from the beef, it was also charred a little similar to the wok-hei we get from fried rice or noodles. 

We ended our meal with Miyazaki mangoes that were in season, the most fragrant mango I ever had. After our meal, the servers sent us to the lift and sent us off with a bow. 

This was hands down the best meal I had on this trip to Japan and one that I won't be coming back for a long time. It was an unforgettable experience that I would want to have again but the price is one that is difficult to justify. Hopefully, if I'm lucky enough I could come back here one day. If you're considering this place, do make a reservation in advance just in case!

岡半 本店
〒104-0061 東京都中央区Ginza
7 Chome−6, 銀座7−6−16 銀座金田中ビル7・8F

The last day of the trip was spent at Akihabara to reminisce the time I spent there with my friends and to get some shopping done. We headed to Shibuya for during the afternoon and ended our trip with Ippudo at Ebisu. 

That's it for my trip to Japan in Summer 2017. I didn't cover as much for the Tokyo part of the trip as we didn't get to explore as much, and we have been to Tokyo before so we kind of know what to expect. Nevertheless, Japan never fails to surprise me and make me feel so at home. I probably won't be heading back anytime soon but I'm already excited for the next time I visit!

Now that this is done, time to go back to studying for my upcoming exams. WIsh me luck! 

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