So, after the first night in Haneda, we were very excited to start our trip in Japan! I even woke up in the middle of the night, brushed my hair and teeth and started packing to leave the airport, until Mr Chubby told me it's still 3 AM -__- I even rushing him to quickly brush his teeth because it's 9 AM (in my head...). Well anyway, in the (real) morning, we finally leave the airport. But first thing first, drop luggage! :)
The ride wasn't too long, maybe around 30 minutes or so, and it's still 7:30 AM when we reached Asakusa. Do remember, the shops and restaurant open around 8 AM (except for 24 hour place), so there's not much that we can do. On our way to the hostel, we passed by Sensoji temple, some of the areas were under renovation I think. I'm glad we took this photo first, because later on that morning, there's so many people visiting the temple.
After dropping baggage, we want to pay a visit to the temple. It was a cold morning and a little rainy. And I saw the signage. Soba. Without any hesitation, we enter the shop. The shop was small, there's only 1 person in charge for cooking, taking order, and greeting us. He explained to us how to order using the vending machine, took the ticket and start cooking our meals. After we took our meals from his workstation and finished it, we brought back the plates to his station. Water and chopsticks has their own station and it's self service. No fuss, just simple and efficient SOP.
Mr Chubby went for soba with raw egg, served with rice. We let the raw egg cooked a bit in the broth, to enjoy the full tastiness :)
As for me, I chose soba with seaweed and tamago, with a side of inari sushi. Drinking the hot soup on a cold day, it's heaven for me :) And each of our order only costs 300 yen! Super happy :)
After the fulfilling breakfast, we start wandering around Sensoji temple. Outside the temple is Nakamise dori, it's filled with many souvenir shops. It's a bit cheaper than other places. Do get your senbei craving fixed here, because they have so many variations!
Found this BEAUTIFUL orange trees outside the gate. At first I thought it was artificial trees, because it's too pretty, but it is a real tree! As a girl growing up in city, seeing tree as big as this bloomed with beautiful fruits, awesome! Until I saw this.
Sakura! woohoo! I never thought we were going to found sakura, because it wasn't the time. Fyi, sakura blooming time is around third or fourth week of March. Now that is super awesome!
Before praying you have to "cleanse" yourself with the water provided.
|Left : people catching the smoke (it brings good luck for them perhaps?) Right : praying to the Buddha|
We also found prayer light a candle in this case. Anyone know what this means?
|You can also get your fortune read for 100 yen|
After Asakusa, we went to Shinjuku area to visit Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. I've been wanting to visit this place because of their observation decks on 46th floor of the building. If you visit the information center, they even provide you with tour from the volunteers. And even better, all of these is free! We took the Oedo Line to Kuramae Station, the building is just behind you after the exit.
|The view with the information panel showing what building that you see (the green on the right is Meiji Shrine area)|
The view itself was cool, you can see many green areas in Tokyo, unlike in Jakarta. I think you would love this place if you like architecture, as some of the building here is very unique!
|image from here|
Actually we want to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen garden, but they were closed on Monday hiks T^T so we make our way to Omotesando, where many cool shops reside! We wandering around western tokyo using this direction. The highlight must be the kiddy land ^^
|action figure is (relatively) cheap in japan!|
|Hello Kitty + Kiss = ??|
|Bought this ultra detail action figure for only 1000 yen! wow!|
|Another ultra detail action figure but will "old" doraemon style|
|Also bought this cute tissue case just because it's cuteness :P only 1000 yen wooowww|
From Omotesando-dori, Harajuku is just around the corner. We found super big H & M store here (didn't enter because Mr Chubby worried we won't get out from that store :P), andddd one of the most memorable meal we had in our entire trip. After wandering around thrift store at Harajuku-dori, it was past lunch time and we're famished. We were about to enter a restaurant (I think it's kebab store) but a sweet smell just across the street calling us. The sweet smell of pork. Ahhh~ it's one of the moment when you don't need to speak with your partner in crime, you two just went to grab it.
May I present you, Chikara Meshi. Literally translated to "Power Food", this place is a fast food joint (japanese style, mind you). It will reminds you with Yoshinoya, but trust me it's wayyy better. The sweet and beautiful pork slices are still glistening when it's arrived on our table. If you visit Japan, order this and you'll understand the food coma I'm experiencing.
|Pork bowl set 330 yen + extra raw egg 140 yen woowww!|
|Curry Pork set 670 yen|
|Baked Curry Rice set 430 yen|
The curry pork set;even though the pork is not glistening and as smoky as the pork bowl, is also worth to try! We even visited this place 3 times during our trip since the pork is always calling me every time we passed by their outlet (which is almost everywhere! T^T) Super recommended!
Most of the restaurant in Japan is using vending machine for ordering your food. Just put your money (coin / paper) in, pick your food (if it doesn't have any picture, just pick the first one, it's usually the recommended dish hehe), voila ticket is issued! Just pass the ticket to the waitress and wait for your meal. Water, cutlery, and condiments are usually placed around you, and it's self service. All of the places we visit always provide free water, so it could help you traveling-on-budget :)
|the busy takeshita-dori|
After the satisfying lunch, we continue our journey to Takeshita-dori. I think it's the main attraction in harajuku area, this is the place where you can find people showcase cosplay or their fashion style. Japanese is very stylish I must say, everyone doesn't mind to show their own fashion style and everyone seem shopped everyday, every time. Since it's monday, we didn't found any cosplay that day but some of them has interesting fashion taste, if I have to say :)
|beautiful bouquet from Aoyama flower market|
And I saw this place. Crepes! Been wanting to try this place since saw it on the internet!
|Banana custard crepe 350 yen|
The queue was long but it doesn't take us long to had our crepe. Kudos for the service, everything seems so efficient and quick in this country. The custard was superrrr yummy! I know I used word "super" a lot in this post, but it is super good! The banana was perfectly ripped and paired with the not-so-sweet-yet-creamy custard. *drool* I tried to find the same custard in Jakarta, it never be the same. The closest version to this maybe only from Rati Rati. But still, I miss this custard T^T
|cooking the takoyaki|
We also found the Gindaco outlet at the end of takeshita-dori. I think it's one of the biggest takoyaki brand in Japan. They have several options, from katsuboshi, spring onion, seaweed, mayo, etc. We opted for mayo + takoyaki sauce + spring onion combo. It'a a bit expensive if you compared with our lunch (almost twice the price of our lunch), but you got 8 (quite big) balls of takoyaki with generous tako (octopus) inside. To be honest, I don't quite like takoyaki in Japan. It's weird since I love takoyaki in Jakarta, especially Takoichi. I found the sauce was too sour, and the ball is too crispy to my like. Maybe I'm just too attached with Indonesian version of takoyaki which is fluffier and served with chili sauce to balance the takoyaki sauce hehe..Or maybe I wasn't lucky. Either way, it's a filling snack so share it with your friends seem like a good idea!
|Takoyaki 8 pcs 600 yen|
With full belly, we continue our journey to Meiji Shrine. It's just located behind the harajuku station. My feet already hurt this time, maybe because of too much walking T^T the shrine complex is hugeeee (more like a forest) and beautiful. Love the torii (gate) on the front!
|the big gate|
|thristy? don't worry vending machine will rescue you everywhere!|
The road to the shrine is wide, and we're watching the last ray of sunshine before it sets. Beautiful.
|wine barrels (gift to the shrine)|
The shrine itself is beautiful, it's like movie set. I imagined the emperor visit the shrine with his horse or a bunch of monk doing their chores in this area.
|you can put your prayer to e-ma|
|a bunch of e-ma|
I think if you only can pay a short visit in Tokyo, do visit this place although it might looks boring (for some people), but you'll be looking at a historic place with its own beauty.
Managed to walk back to omotesando-dori (just to visit the kiddy land again ^^) we ended the day with a bowl of hot ramen from a stall around the hostel and a nice bath.