It has been a few years since my last visit to Tokyo and the city hasn’t changed much and is actually expanding here and there. However, certain fashion senses, such as those uniquely fun and quirky styles that can be seen in Harajuku (原宿) and Akihabara (秋葉原), are now harder and harder to be found.
My Tokyo Airbnb booking got cancelled and removed a month before my travel date due to the newly implemented strict regulations in 2018, and have to forced ourselves to get a hotel type accommodations. At that time, it made the total cost of my accommodation shot up to at least 40% higher than originally intended. Today, I find that the listings as well as the prices of Airbnb in Tokyo has recovered to a reasonable state.
It may be sad to see those little special things that makes Japan - truly Japan gotten away over time and that it could also now be more expensive to travel there than before, still, let’s hope there is better things to come.
Japanese Yen (¥)
Start the day off, early in the morning by getting to Asakusa. Especially if you would like to avoid the crowd, do come here as early as you possibly can. This place is crowded any day of the week, particularly during the daytime.
I've been here a couple of time, and I'm still in awe. If this is your first time, you will definitely want to take a good look at the magnificent red huge laterns, god statues, the pagoda and the surrounding buildings.
You will stop by Asakusa Station if you are coming here by train, like myself, and look for Exit 1. Use Google Map to locate the Hōzōmon Gate (宝蔵門) or Sensō-ji (浅草寺) Temple. If you have the extra time to spare, aim for Kaminarimon Gate (雷門) from Exit 1 and move your way into the temple via Nakamise Shopping Street (仲見世商店街).
You will definitely see a lot of shops selling gifts, snacks and all kinds of food along and around this street. Try a few if you have the time and stomach space to spare because you may not find it somewhere else.
Use Google Map to navigate when you're in Japan.
From Asakusa Station looking across Sumida River (隅田川) you will see three things.
If you love beer like I do - that shiny gold tower you see is where you and I are heading!
So walk across the bridge and make your way to Asahi Beer Headquarter Building (アサヒグループ 本社ビル) just across the river. You'll reach the entrance in about 15 minutes walk.
Take the lift up to the 22nd floor. And all you are require to pay here is to buy one drink per person, and enjoy the view from the tower.
Nothing cools you down like an ice-cold beer, am I right?
Who's up for some food after all the beer? Me!
So before taking the train to another spot from Asakusa Station we hopped into Ichiran Ramen (一蘭). Yep, the famous Tonkotsu ramen shop in Japan!
And yes, the hype is true. There is a longggg queue - full with tourists as well as the locals. And no one seems to mind queuing up for a bowl.
Similar to most ramen shops in Japan, you will need to place your order on the ticket machine and we did that while queuing. And we were asked to be seated at their signature, private, anti-social, single seats after waiting for at least 35 mins.
I have had plenty of ramen in Japan prior to this, and my answer is - you can try but it is nothing to shout about, except for its anti-social seat experience.
And not surprisingly, a lot of tourists will purchase and take home boxes after boxes of their instant ramen.
You will be spoiled for choices here in Omotesando (表参道) and Harajuku (原宿) area.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of interesting shops and restaurants for us to explore. Surely there is something for everyone to kill some time.
While for us, ater all the window shopping, it is time for a dessert stop. Hahaha!
We tried their Frozen S'more - chilled vanilla ice cream, coated with chocolate, covered in marshmallow, shape like a cuboid, poked with a thick wooden stick, and burnt using a cooking torch. It was pretty good for a quick bite.
Unfortunately they are now closed and no longer operating in Japan.
On the bright side, I saw this dessert now selling from street food vendors in South Korea and probably available in many other places around the world ;)
I’d say next time, skip the half & half and just go with the lobster. After all, lobster is what you came for.
Now we're talking, am I right?
This is the reason why we actually came here - Luke’s Lobster!
The line here is pretty insane, but the service is quick so it didn’t take too long to reach our turn to place an order.
We had one half crab and half lobster, and the other one filled with lobster.
Note: Our order were in US size, not the 'regular' serving.
I’ve been here once, early in the morning. But the tower only came to life in the evening with all the lights turn on.
If you too are interested in getting the staircase photo, look no further. I've marked the coordinate on my location info.
It is basically a parking lot, right behind a BMW dealer shop. You should be able to see several BMWs parking inside this parking lot.
Walk inside and you shall see the staircase at the end with a standing banner showing you where you can take the shot.
Tokyo Tower looks nice during the day, but nothing can compare when it lights up at night.
Next off, we took a train to Shibuya and hunt down this popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant inside Seibu Shibuya (西武渋谷店).
Took us some time to find this restaurant and the queue was crazy!
Ready for another long queue for food? Maybe not you, but we sure did.
If you haven't already know, this is what Japan is especially known for. Queuing up for almost anything and everything.
And you know what.. We waited for almost one and a half hour at this place.
Was it worth the wait? Absolutely! I’d say go for it if you have the time to spare!
For the price and the quality of the food. Dare I say I'd even go for a second and third time!
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