Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Takeshita Dori in Harajuku, Meiji Shrine and Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo

Take the Ginza Line G19 Asakusa to G2 Omote-Sando. Transfer to Chiyoda Line C04 to C03, just one station away to Meiji-jingumae Harajuku station. 

 Travel time is approx 37 minutes and involves 1 train transfer

The beautiful Harujuku JR Train Station. The station itself is a tourist attraction in its own right. Just a few leisurely steps away is the famous Takeshita Dori. Here you can find the most extreme teenage culture that Japan is famous for.

It's a massive shopping street of everything trendy yet affordable! You can channel your inner cutesy lolita or adorbs cosplay or kawaii overload. There's 100 yen Daiso stores, cheap and fun jewellery, wardrobe, shoes, bags, callbee and crepe stores.. oh I can just go on and on.. shop after shop...

A tick off my bucketlist to dress up as an animei in Harujuku! Shakugan-No-Shana school girl dark green version. 

What's nice about Tokyo, in every nook and corner there is something historical and interesting. After shopping in Takeshita Street, walk towards the nearby Meiji Shrine. 

Tranquility in Tokyo. There's a certain serene and calming effect it brings to one's senses. Awed by the fact that Japanese people really respect the Shrine. I can hear a pin drop! No loud chit chats whatsoever. And it was incredibly clean (despite the fact that there are no trashcans whatsoever! ) no candy wrappers, no soiled plastic food containers, no beverage cans. Nada! 
The famous sake barrels. After the traditional bows and claps at the shrine, I wanted to see Yoyogi Park eager to catch a glimpse of the plum blossoms. I thought it was just nearby, but we just could'nt seem to find it. Decided to call it a day and headed back to Asakusa.

It was impossible to wake up as early as 0300H to catch the tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Trains are still closed and we would probably be freezing in the cold while waiting. So we skipped the auction and visited the outer market instead.

Keep in mind that most of the stores close as early as 1pm. So do your shopping early. Shopping + breakfast rolled into one.

White strawberries! I heard they tastes like pineapples but I'm not spending my precious 4,000 yen for a bunch. Looks really plump and delicious, though. 

Mochi covered strawberries

Every imaginable seafood you can think of!

Lining up for a Tamago, rolled egg omelette

A sashimi and sushi breakfast is a MUST at Tsukiji. Can you spell F-R-E-S-H? Top notch catch. 

All fish and dried fish variety

An exhilarating experience to be here! Don't forget to include this on your itinerary!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Japan

If you availed the 72 hrs unlimited metro train pass on my previous post, then the ride to Shibuya Station G01 on the Ginza line is free. 

Alight on the the famous Hachiko Exit number 8. Prior to the exit, the connected underground mall greets you with a large window view of the Shibuya Crossing scramble. 

A dog's tale of loyalty with Hachiko bronze statue

OOTD on a chilly 5-degree night!

Made a mad dash towards the Shibuya Crossing scramble. It makes you feel that for a moment, you are part of something big. Lots of vids and photos taken, that we had to cross the street numerous times! (Tee-hee)

The glitz and glamour of the Shibuya Shopping Street. I can stay here all night long and ogle at young Tokyoites love for fashion. Everyone is wearing sassy and trendy coats! Ladies are all clad in sky rocket high-heeled boots.

Packed with shopping, dining, gaming and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that come to the district everyday. Notable is Shibuya 109, a trend setting fashion complex for young women with more than one hundred boutiques on ten floors. 

Was seriously considering entering a Maid Cafe for the fun of it, but we wouldn't trade the super delicious hot bowl of Ichiran ramen for anything else. Our first bowl was in Osaka and was daydreaming about it since then.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Best Budget Hotel in Tokyo Japan: Hotel 3000 Jyuraku in Asakusa

Was supposed to traverse the snowy Shirakawa-go in Nagoya, but due to heavy snowstorm forecast in the region, opted to divert the winter trip to Tokyo, Haneda instead. I had to pay my previous Nagoya Airbnb cancellation charges, so I cannot splurge on a Tokyo hotel accommodation anymore. 

After nights of researching budget hotel reviews, I chanced upon Hotel 3000 Jyuraku in Asakusa. I have high praises for this hotel! First, an airport limousine bus stop is just 3-5 minutes away. Second, it is easily accessible to everywhere in Central Tokyo within minutes on the Ginza subway line.

After arriving at Haneda International Passenger Terminal 2F, line up for the Visitor Information Center to buy a 72-hour Tokyo Subway Ticket. Price is JPY 1500. This includes unlimited ride to all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. 

Download the Tokyo Subway Navigation App on your phone for easy peasy directions without the need for wifi. posted below is the Tokyo Subway Map.

Buy a Keikyu Train Ticket direct from the airport to Asakusa Line A18/G19 ( JPY 620 ) No transfers. Fuss-free. However, this train is not included in the unlimited metro 72-hour pass. It may seem scary at first because unlike the Tokyo metro, this type of train doesn't have english lighted buttons on the overhead panels which tells you in which station you are. Just look at the signs at each subway station stop. Alight at Asakusa A18/G19 transfer to Ginza line 1 station away to Tamaramachi. 

Find exit 3. The hotel is a 5-7 minutes leisure walk. You will pass by Yoshinoya, Mr Donut, a Saray Kebab kiosk and a grocery mart will be on your left. When you see Denny's and 7-11 on your right, turn left to the alleyway. 

I originally booked for a triple room with ensuite bathroom. Price is approx P3,900/night. To our surprise, the hotel keeper generously upgraded us to a quad room with 4 bunk beds, giving us ample space to move around. Arigato gozaimasu! Wifi connection is superb. We had to turn off the aircon because it was a chilly 2-3 degree celcius scenario. 

We were given towels and slippers. An ensuite bath tub for calm, peaceful warm soaks. Best deal rather than sharing bathrooms in capsule hotels.

There is a shared lounge space and front desk available 24 hours. Surprisingly, there is free hot and cold beverage dispenser. There is laundromat and dryer for a minimal fee. There is a vendo machine and free use of bicycles.

Nearby on foot, is the famous Sensoji temple in Asakusa. Ladies clad in Kimonos are usual in the area since there are lots of rentals in the vicinity.

This special matcha soft serve ice cream is to die for!

I think I just died and went straight to green tea heaven upon entering this yummy Japanese Maccha Sweets store!

Another nearby attraction from the hotel, is Don Quixote! A 4- storey building of nothing but pure bliss! All the souvenirs you can think of! Snacks, chocolates, groceries, toiletries, makeup, skincare, mens clothing, cosplay costumes. kiddie stuffs, gadgets, electronics, bicycle stuffs and even high-end designer bags and watches. 

An aisle of Matcha goodies to with me back home!

We got hold of 4 boxes of  Nissin Seafood Cup Noodles. Each box contains 20pcs and costs JPY2500++ (roughly P1,250) or P63 each. What a steal!

Don Quixote is famous to tourists because they offer tax free shopping. Just proceed to 2nd floor cashier to avail this service. Bring your passport, of course. They will give your refunds in an instant!

Within the neighborhood is the sumptuous Yoshinoya for beef and salmon bowls as well as the tasty unagi meal. 

The equally delicious Tenya Tempura Tendon is also a walking distance. Have your fill of delicious Tempura. Prices starts at JPY500.

I couldn't have chosen a better hotel than this. We instantly fell in love with this very affordable hotel right smack at Asakusa with all the tourist attractions and almost everything else we could ever need. Staff's are sooo friendly and polite and would bow and bid us good day or good night every time we step in. Hope to come back soon. Will definitely recommend to friends!