June 8, 2015

Japan Trip: Tokyo in Motion

Seriously missing Japan and all the food there as I am typing this. It was only 3 months back when we booked the tickets and now we've visited Japan and are back in Singapore already! The last time Jason and I went on a holiday (via plane) was 3 years ago before I started Elska. This trip was Jason's grad trip and I hope the next one won't be too long later!

After arriving at Haneda Airport, we went to Terminal 1 post office to collect our pocket wifi. Ordering a pocket wifi from Japan is more affordable than getting one in Singapore. We got ours from Japan-Wifi, the staff was very responsive and they made it very convenient for you to mail it back to them as they will provide the materials and all you need to do is to deposit the package at the post office in airport before checking in.

Our first stay was at Oakwood Apartments Ariake. Our compact room had a washing machine, cooking area, fridge, iron, microwave and a balcony with a great view. It's located about 7 mins away from the subway station.

On the way to Tokyo Tower, we visited Zōjō-ji temple, the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism in the Kanto Region.

A main reason of us visiting Japan was for One Piece Tokyo Tower as my dearest Jason is such a bigggg fan of One Piece hahaha.

We had desserts at Cafe Mugiwara and buffet at Sanji No Oresama Restaurant.

There's a wide variety of choices at Sanji Restaurant but we felt that the food could have been much better. This was our first meal at Japan and the only disappointing one throughout our trip.

The desserts at Cafe Mugiwara were pretty good though.

Went over to the theme park after lunch. Initially we planned to stay for 3 hours and head to the observatory for sunset but we hung around till 8pm cos there was so much to see and play.

Here's Sogeking fanboy trying his luck at the games and winning the prize at the end!

We were supposed to visit Roppongi after One Piece but as it was getting too late, we had dinner at a nearby Yoshinoya. I must say the beef rice was a lot more tasty than the ones in Singapore!

We went to DisneySea on our second day. Supposed to have breakfast at DisneySea but we got tempted to buy these delicious bread near our place!

There was no express ticket for purchase at DisneySea but they have a Fastpass system that minimizes the amount of time waiting in line at attractions. They assign you a specific time to enter an attraction. You just need to head to the Fastpass ticketing machines out the attractions you want to ride, flash your ticket under the reader to receive the Fastpass ticket and return to the attraction during the time period printed on the fast pass ticket. However there's a limit for the Fastpass system. Only 1 Fastpass ticket can be issued for an attraction. You can obtain another Fastpass ticket by checking the the given time printed on the current Fastpass ticket. We got our hands on the Space Mountain Fastpass and luckily we did because it went into maintenance and only reopened at 9pm. As it was too late, only the Fastpass holders were allowed to enter.

DisneySea was hugeee and so beautiful. It's as if we were transported to many countries as we trotted around DisneySea.

One of my favorite places would be the Mermaid Lagoon. The whole place was so beautifully decorated, it really made us feel like we were underwater. What I liked most about DisneySea was their intricate decorations, fluid and realistic animated figures. Disney songs were played in the park and the familiar melodies evoked moments of childhood nostalgia. Even the washrooms were built accordingly to their section themes.

We managed to complete most of the exciting rides. The rides were quite mild but enjoyable. DisneySea isn't really suitable for thrill seekers as they don't have insane roller coasters. But if you're looking for a place to relax, you have to go there. Plus, the Disney vibe was so good.

We had yummy curry rice at the Arabian Coast. We also went around to buy flavored popcorns - White chocolate and milk tea. The milk tea flavor is a must try, it was so freaking delicious. We tried 3 more DisneySea snacks - Ukiwah Bun, Pork Gyoza Dog and Chandu Tail as many people were queuing up for them. But I must tell you, they tasted exactly like the 肉包 you can find in Singapore.

To be honest, I have never seen this bear in my life before so we were very surprised to see everyone holding at least one of its merchandise, yes everyone. Duffy the Disney bear is a stuffed bear that Minnie made for Mickey Mouse when he was going out to sea near Cape Cod.

These ducks loveeed popcorns and they even attacked and bit me when I refused to give them more. They are not allowed to be fed on the premises. They're pretty cute though!

It was freezing cold by nightfall and we escaped into Zambini Brothers' Ristorante for dinner. After that we headed to the souvenir stores and went over to Disneyland for a quick look before the park closed.

The place that we stayed was on a man-made island beside Tokyo Bay. If you're a Gundam Fan, head to Divercity Tokyo Plaza to see a 'moving' 'life-sized' Gundam statue. We didn't have time to go there but I've seen a video of it before - my brother sent me when he was there and it was pretty cool.

On our 3rd day, we spent hours queuing at Tsukiji Fish Market in the morning. The sushi queues were so insane and as Jason and I were more prawn > sashimi fans, we decided to go for Tempura Don.

It was seriously good and totally worth the wait.

Try their ginormous scallops when you're there, they're very juicy and tasty.

We bought so many things from the market we almost wanted to kill ourselves cos it was a long day after and we had to carry everything as we went hahaha. We got a huge packet of Katsuobushi for my cats - the dried bonito flakes on takoyaki balls, dried flavored scallops, dried figs, in shell almonds and anchovies.

Took a short walk to reach Hama Rikyu Garden. Here's a teahouse on the island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery. There's a huge pine tree with a long history at the entrance. Unfortunately, there were not many flowers around as it's not the right season.

We took the Tokyo water bus from Hama Rikyu to Asakusa - the trip was about 40 minutes. The best part of this ride was that we got to see many Tokyo bridges and interesting landmarks.

Upon reaching Asakusa, we visited Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa, there is a long shopping street, Nakamise that leads to the temple. There are many Japanese souvenirs such as folding fans, yukata sets, cat goods and many traditional local snacks. We bought Agemanju - deep fried soft cake filled with red bean paste and Ningyo yaki - molded cakes which were also filled with red bean paste.

We went to Yoroiya for ramen. This restaurant is known as the best ramen stall in Asakusa and is nominated in the Hall of Fame by the ramen king, Ishigami in his book. The soup was rich in flavor and they have the best eggs I've ever tasted in my life. The double egg yolks were velvety smooth and they literally melt-in-your-mouth. I will never be satisfied with normal eggs again. :( It is currently closed for renovation.

We went up to the observation deck at Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Centre for a good view of the Nakamise shopping street.

We went for a stroll at Odaiba Beach which was a lovely place at night and enjoyed the view of Tokyo's iconic Rainbow Bridge. It was pretty chilly when we were there and we were all huddled up. It was also really nice to see kids running around, playing and building sandcastles. We will definitely visit this place again the next time.

I'll be writing about our Osaka trip in my next Japan post, covering places such as Universal Studios Japan, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Dotonbori. And not to forget, our wonderful kimono experience at Kyoto and deer feeding at Nara too! x

Till next time!

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