We are off to a great vacation in Tokyo. We love the immaculately clean city, the kind people who stop and offer to help every time we take out our map, the yummy food, and the ease of getting around by the Tokyo Metro.
We left Wednesday but landed here in Tokyo on Thursday around 2 pm. The flight was long but not too bad. We would highly recommend upgrading to economy plus if you take the trip. It was well worth the money. We were served lunch right after we took off, a snack, and then brunch right before we landed. They came by multiple times with drinks which was nice, we were impressed with the United staff (for once). One thing that was kind of cool about our flight was that it never got dark while we were flying. We left the US at 11 am and followed the daylight to Narita landing before 2 pm. If you are doing a flight like this, I highly recommend getting a prescription for sleeping pills from your doctor!
We took the Skyliner train from Narita to our hotel in Asakusa. We have been staying at the Richmond hotel, which we have really liked, for the past two nights. The room isn’t huge, but it’s big enough for the two of us. The toilet is like a space age toilet complete with a heated seat and a bidet haha. Who knew a heated toilet seat would be so nice after a long day of exploring!? I also really like that they give you full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. It is nice to not have to conserve the little tiny ones that hotels typically give. The bed is very comfortable and the staff has been very helpful.
The first night we got here we got tickets to go see the Yomiuri Giants play the Tigers. Dan told me the Giants are like the Yankees and the Tigers like the Red Sox. We had so much fun, but I was a little bit of a dud because I was so tired. At one point I was falling asleep in my seat during the game from the time change. It is 13 hours ahead of our EST. We each were hungry at different times, so I had a burger from The Burger Tokyo outside the stadium (we found this recommended on a blog)…it was delicious with my Asahi beer and Dan had a sushi from this place where you typed your order in on a computer to have it delivered to you by the sushi train. You could also pull sushi off a conveyor belt as it circulated in front of you. We enjoyed the excitement of the Giants/Tigers game. They cheered the entire game, and these weren’t just little chants-they were all out. It felt like a PSU football game for me. Unfortunately we only made it to the 5th inning. I was almost completely asleep in my seat and my knees were killing me. It was a fun time, but I wish we could have done it a different night from when we landed. We thought it would be nice and relaxing after the long flight, but it was honestly a little hard to sit and enjoy it after sitting for 14 hours on the plane.
Our first night we fell asleep around 8:30 pm local time and woke up at 1 am. We decided to take some sleeping pills so we could sleep a little longer and not crash like the night before. We slept till about 6 and then headed to the Tsujiki Fish Market. We didn’t try to go to the tuna auction which many tourists try to attend. Instead we just walked around the market and enjoyed tasting fried fish on a stick, clams which were blowtorched on a grill in their shell to cook them (Dan posted a video on his FB), a variety of sushi, eel, scallops grilled on a skewer and some matcha dessert. It was all so yummy and fun to try the different things. We loved watching them cook the fish right in front of us, the whole experience was awesome. We took a cab from our hotel since it was early in the morning and we weren’t totally sure about the subway at that time. It was around 2500 yen or 25 USD. We converted all of our money, as they all prefer you pay in yen.
After the fish market we took the subway up to Shinjuku. I think it was like 20 mins on the subway. It was much cheaper to take the subway. I think it was about $4.40 USD for both of our tickets. We walked around Shinjuku a little and then went to then Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. It was so beautiful and peaceful. It was $2 each to get in to the garden. It was so worth it. Lots of beautiful cherry blossoms, lakes, flowers, and bridges. We had a lot of fun walking around and using our selfie stick haha. Everyone here has selfie sticks…it’s totally normal.
We then walked from the garden to Harajuku. We kind of winged it with our walking but always ended up where we wanted to be. We may not have taken the quickest route but it took us about 35 mins to walk there. On the way we stopped and shared an insanely good mini ice cream sandwich (I’m definitely not losing weight on this trip). The place was called Cookie Time. Here is the Yelp page: https://m.yelp.com/biz/クッキータイム-渋谷区-2
Harajuku street was visually insane, but awesome. So many bright colors and people all around. The shops were fun to look in with so many unique and eclectic items for sale. I would highly recommend going there.
After Harajuku we walked over to Omotesando which is a shopping area comparable to 5th Avenue in NYC. They had Harry Winston, Burberry, Bottega, Celine, Coach, and other nice stores. We bought something from every store, just kidding 😉
We ended up eating lunch over there at a place similar to Gyu Kaku in Manhattan. Your order your meat raw and then cook it on a grill built into your table. It was really fun and very yummy. We had steak and short ribs which were really really delicious.
We took the subway back to our hotel which was pretty easy. We had one transfer which was very easy to navigate and all together it probably took us about 30 minutes.
We both took naps when we got back to our hotel and then went out exploring the local markets in Asakusa. There are so many street markets. They are really fun to walk through. We had a later, small dinner at a place close to our hotel. There are several restaurants right outside our hotel and then we came back and called it a night.
We are excited to meet up with one of my Alpha Phi sorority sisters, Michelle, tonight for dinner and drinks. She lives here so we can’t wait to catch up with her and hear about her life here in Tokyo! We are also going to visit the temple that is right near our hotel, the Senso-ji temple and check into the Ryokan we are staying in for our last night in Tokyo. Tomorrow we are off to Yokohama!
Thanks for reading and have a fun day 🙂
Here are a few pictures from our Thursday/Friday adventures (sorry they are a little out of order)…