The last time when I was in Tokyo, it was back in 2007. Yes, almost a decade ago. How time flies. Since there is an upcoming public holiday, I decided to spend my short staycation in Tokyo itself.
For this trip, I have decided to focus on visiting Mount Fuji, have a great day shopping at Gotemba Premium Outlet, catch a show at the Robot Restaurant, visit to Ameyoko Shopping Street and Tsukiji Market.
Finally, the long awaited day arrives. I flew to Haneda International Airport via Singapore Airlines. Using my Krisflyer miles, I manage to redeem for a return Premium Economy ticket.
Konichiwa, greetings from the Land of the Rising Sun. Arrived safely at Haneda International Airport after an uneventful flight as expected.
The most economical method was to travel via JR Rail from Haneda International Airport to JR Shinjuku Station. The train ride takes about half an hour.
It would be convenient to have either the ICOCA or the SUICA card when travelling via JR Rail. You get to enjoy fare discount and importantly it is hassle free, you just tap and go at the gate entry.
As I will be staying in Tokyo city for this trip, I chose to stay at Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo, fits my budget, comes with a comfortable room size of 18 sqm and importantly it is about 8 minutes walk from the JR Shinjuku Station. Best part, this hotel is just right in the heart of Shinjuku area where food outlets and shopping belts are located.
Immediately, upon checking in, I proceeded to explore the surrounding area near the hotel for familarization.
While strolling, I saw this restaurant selling Kushikatsu. I had it when I was in Osaka 3 months ago. It was so good that I had to walk in the shop to start my first food trail.
If you can still remember on the rules of enjoying Kushikatsu in my earlier blog on Osaka Trip, the cabbage and the dipping sauce is served as usual upon ordering.
Here comes the respective “actors” of the meals, namely; asparagus, sausage, shitake mushroom, lotus root, pork, beef, shrimp and onion.
Accompanying the “actors” are the Fried Chicken Wings and the Saiboshi (Smoked Horse Meat).
After a satisfying meal, I continued exploring the Shinjuku area before retiring for the night.
While on my way back to the hotel, I passed by a corner shop selling ramens. Thought of trying out their Kobe Beef Ramen but unfortunately, it was sold out.
Obviously, the next best alternative will be to try out their proclaimed recommended #1 Abura-soba “oil noodles”. Anyway, I have never tried out any form of soupless ramen and thought it might be good for a change.
Though it looks plain, but looks are deceiving and it leaves me totally speechless after the first mouthful. Now I know why it is proclaimed as their recommended #1 ramen. 真的不是浪得虚名哦。
Adding on a small portion of the roasted pork rice bowl with the ramen together with a tomago egg and 2 cubes of braised pork belly.
The boiled shrimp dumpling is another champion side dish to go along as well.
It was indeed a great way to end my first night. Couldn’t have been any better.
Day 2 – This is the day for my local tour to Mount Fuji & Hakone. I had a prior reservation made for this tour way in advance using this website, japanican.com. It is advisable to pre-book in advance to avoid disappointment as this is one of their popular tours.
I had to make my own way to the Sunrise Tour office at Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal (located near JR Hamamatsucho Station) for the meet up at 9am.
Due to the morning rush hour, I had to settle for a quick bite at the station Doutor Cafe.
My all time favorite breakfast place whenever I am in Japan.
The coach journey takes about 2 hours to reach to the 5th station of the Mount Fuji.
Look at the beautiful scenery of the Mount Fuji back drop along the journey up the mountain.
There are a total of 10 stations in Mount Fuji and cars are only allowed up to the 5th station. The 5th station is about 2,305m or 7,546 ft above sea-level.
Mount Fuji, located on Honshu Island, is an active volcano and lies about 100km southwest of Tokyo. Commonly called “Fuji-san or 富士山”, it is the country’s tallest peak at 3,776m (12,388 ft). Mount Fuji has been added to the World Cultural Heritage List as a Cultural Site on 22 Jun 2013. Per UNESCO, Mount Fuji has “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”.
The magnificent view of the Mount Fuji as seen from the 5th station.
After having fond memories of Mount Fuji, time to descend to a Ninja Village for lunch which is at the foot of Mount Fuji.
This is the lunch place organized by the local tour.
It was a catered semi-buffet lunch for the group. Food was great with no complains.
Another great background view of Mount Fuji from the restaurant place.
After a hearty lunch, we proceeded to Hakone for the Lake Ashi Cruise. Lake Ashi, also referred to as Hakone Lake or Ashinoko Lake, is a scenic lake in the Hakone area of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshu, Japan.
Boarded the ferry at the Hakone Kojiri Terminal for a 15 min cruise ride on Lake Ashi.
Enjoying the gorgeous view on board the ferry ride before reaching Hakone Komagatake Ropeway.
It takes about 7 mins to reach the summit of Mount Komagatake with the ropeway.
Beautiful view from the summit of Mount Komagatake.
Unfortunately, due to the shy nature of Mount Fuji, I was not able to capture a clear view of Mount Fuji from the summit of Mount Komagatake.
Well, all good things will have to come to an end. Time really flies when you are having fun. It is time to bid farewell to Mount Fuji & Hakone and to head back to Tokyo city.
Overall, it has been a great and enriching day.
Nothing beats a satisfying sushi meal to end off the day. Thanks to Google that I manage to locate my favourite sushi outlet, Sushi Zanmai. The outlet, coincidentally is within 10 mins of walking distance from my hotel.
Day 3 – A day of retail therapy at the Gotemba Premium Outlet. It is advisable to take a bus to the outlet mall instead of self-drive. You may book for your bus ticket one month in advance via this website, kosokubus.com.
In order to avoid the morning rush hour, I decided to leave the hotel earlier to beat the morning train traffic. I had to travel to Tokyo Station Bus Terminal at Yaesu South Exit to catch the JR bus which I pre-booked earlier through the above URL link.
As I was early, I have the luxury to spend my time at my favourite cafe chain, Doutor Cafe at the Tokyo Station.
Enjoying my all time favourite breakfast before proceeding to the #5 bus stop for boarding at 9am.
Arrived at Gotemba Premium Outlet (flagship centre), one of the largest centre in Japan after more than 1.5 hours of journey ride.
Thankfully, weather was nice and cool without much heat.
There are 2 big zones in the outlet, namely West & East Zones with about 210 outlet stores. Literally, you can shop till you drop. It is recommended to cater a day to cover most of the stores in the outlet.
Lunch was at one of the Italian restaurant, Mangia Mangia Pasta & Pizza.
The salad starter provides a great warm up before the arrival of the fried chicken fingers (one of the best tender chicken fingers I have had) and the chicken & mushroom fettuccine with cream sauce. The entire meal was so perfect coupled with a slice of New York Cheesecake as the grand finale.
Thereafter, the retail therapy continues. Shop, shop & shop……
Just before calling it a day, passed by Haagen Dazs and saw their Japanese limited edition ice cream.
Without hesitation, did a quick pit stop to try out one of their limited adition flavour, Lavender & Blueberry. It was creamery good.
I had a fruitful but tiring day with bags and bags of shopping loots to end another fulfilling day.
Sayonara Gotemba Premium Outlet. Time to head back to Shinjuku. I boarded the JR bus bound for Shinjuku at 6pm. Took a power nap on the 1.5 hours journey ride back.
As I have decided to have a light meal, happened to chance upon this restaurant, Uoki located on the 9th floor along the main road of Shinjuku which suits what I needed.
I am able to have a taste of everything I needed from BBQ Japanese Beef to Tempura to Yakitori. This pretty much sums up Day 3.
Started Day 4 with a wet morning with gloomy skies. I took a subway from Shinjuku Station on Oedo Line (E27) to Tsukijishijo Station (E18) to visit Tsujiki Fish Market.
Upon arrival at the station, need to look for Exit A1 to reach the entrance of the Tsukiji Fish Market.
From Exit A1, turn left and you will see the entrance to Tsukiji Fish Market.
The Tsukiji Market is the biggest wholesale fish & seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. The market is located in Tsukiji in Central Tokyo, between the Sumida River and the upmarket Ginza shopping district. While the inner wholesale market has restricted access to visitors, the outer retail market, restaurants and associated restaurant supply stores remain a major tourist attraction for both domestic and overseas visitors.
This is the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.
After rounding up the market, time to refuel for the morning round.
The inner market food street was packed with people. Everyone seems to be queuing up for the sushi, chirashi and sashimi. As this is one of those tourist attraction, price of food there is touristy priced too 😱.
Caught hold of this small restaurant and it had just what I wanted for this morning, udon with katsu don set and soba with chicken.
Food was awesomely delicious. Oishi!
After a satisfactory breakfast, I headed off to Asakusa and took a walk at the Kaminarimon Street in view of the wet morning.
While at the street, saw this shop making fresh Japanese rice crackers. I love these rice crackers and they are pretty expensive in my place.
These are what I bought to fix my cravings. After spending some time exploring the place, I have to head back to Shinjuku to catch my pre-booked Robot Show @ 4pm at the Robot Restaurant.
I was highly recommended to catch this show if I happen to be in Tokyo. The Robot Restaurant is a themed restaurant/bar featuring a raucous pop-culture show with robotic monsters, dancers and lasers. You are strongly recommended to pre-book your show in advance to enjoy discounted price and importantly reserve your seats on the day you want.
You may do so at this website, govoyagin.com.
You need to arrive 40 mins before showtime for registration.
Relaxing at the waiting area before the show.
Be entertained by the performers at the waiting area.
Just before 15 mins to the start of the show, you will be ushered to the show area.
Whacky Robot Performance. Hope you guys have fun watching it. This is probably one of those show that you would go once in the lifetime thingy for the experience. 😃
After the show, continue the rest of the evening snacking at the Isetan supermarket before calling it a day.
Day 5 – Last day in Tokyo before catching my flight back at 5pm. Recharge at my favourite Doutor Cafe at Shinjuku before heading to Ameyoko Shopping Street in Ueno.
One for the road breakfast.
Arrived JR Ueno Station after about 25 mins train ride.
To go to Ameyoko Shopping Street, you need to look out for Central Exit. Thereafter, walk straight, cross the road and turn right until the end of the junction where you will be led to a left turn. Immediately, you will see the start of the street.
Ameyoko is a busy market street along the Yamanote Line between Okachimachi and Ueno Stations. The name “Ameyoko” is a short form for “Ameya Yokocho” (candy store alley) as candies were traditionally sold there.
Today, various products such as clothes, bags, cosmetics, fresh seafood, dried foods, shoes, spices, eateries shops and many more others which you can think of. The shopping street operating hours are usually from 10am to 8pm.
As I was walking past one of the inner lanes, this particular eatery shop just caught my attention as though the beef is calling out my name. Seems like this eatery is extremely popular in Osaka.
They even took pains to explain to diners on how to enjoy Takeru Steak with the various spices.
Upon ordering, you will be served with a cup of beef soup followed by a small bowl of salad.
The pork cutlet is the thickest cut type that I ever had.
The Takeru Sauce for the steak is served just before its arrival.
The medium rare rump steak is so tenderly loving good. Overall, value for money. I will definitely be back again if I were to be in Tokyo.
Bought this box of big and sweet strawberries to hand carry back home from a fresh produce store while on my way to the JR Ueno Station to head back to Haneda International Airport for my flight home.
It was indeed a great 5 days of getaways in Tokyo city. I really love this place and hope to be back soon.
Enjoying my bowl of Kitsune Udon at the ANA Lounge before boarding.
Sayonara Tokyo. I will be counting down to my next trip to Hokkaido in 3 week’s time.
Till then. Bye and take care.