Thursday, May 2, 2013

Japan Honeymoon Trip Report - Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

Honeymoon trip report! We covered three major cities in Japan this time round - Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. In the third and final part of this mini travel report series we'll write a little about our itinerary in Tokyo and hopefully it'll help you if you're planning a future trip too :)

Previous Post in this series: Two Days in Kyoto

Day One: We took the Nozomi Shinkansen from JR Kyoto station to JR Tokyo station - ¥13,500 by reserved seat. The trains themselves aren't that fast by today's bullet train standards, but what's amazing is the sheer efficiency of the system. We counted about 7 or 8 trains departing at the 9am-10am time slot, and you could literally buy a ticket and be seated on the next train 5-10 minutes after reaching the station.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

Anyways, three hours or so later we're depositing our bags at our Tokyo hotel - Hotel MyStays Asakusabashi. It's pretty well located - a couple minutes walk from the JR Asakusabashi station, and at ¥8,700 per night is pretty good value, too.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

We immediately head over to Sensoji temple to get some food into our bellies - a bowl of Ramen and Zaru Ramen (cold dipping noodles). Definitely not up to par with the more famous ramen chains, but still delicious all the same.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary
Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

After lunch we window shop around Nakamise Shopping street for a bit before heading to Kagetsudo right next to Sensoji for their uber famous and uber delicious Melonpan. It's a little hard to describe just how much better this melonpan is compared to pretty much every other melonpan in the country. Yes, it is that good. Don't turn up too early though as they only start selling at around 2.30 in the afternoon.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

We then head to the nearby Tokyo Sky Tree complex. As it's peak tourist season there's a bit of a queue; we arrive at 3.30pm and are given queue tickets for a 5:30pm entry, so we go to the Tokyo Skytree Town for some more shopping. If you're looking for Tokyo-specific omiyage (souvenirs), here's a great place to shop.

Going up to the Sky Tree itself was a pretty fun experience, too. There are two levels - the main Tembo Deck at 350m and the Tembo Galleria higher up ta 450m. Honestly speaking you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between both heights, so saving a bit of cash and staying at 350m could be a wise option.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

Day Two: In our previous trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market we missed the Tuna Auction by over an hour, so this time we're determined to turn up early. We get the hotel to call us a taxi - about ¥4,500 - and reach Tsukiji at 4.15am. It seems that we're just in time, too, as the allocated spaces for the day were fully taken up about 10 minutes later.

Was the taxi fare and early morning alarm clock worth it? Well ... it was eye-opening seeing the sheer size of some of the Tuna - and the sheer number of Tuna on sale. Was also a lot of fun watching the auctioneer at work, even if we couldn't quite figure out what the hand signals were or how the bidding worked.

Tsukiji Tuna

We finish our 2nd auction viewing and head over to join the queue at Sushi Dai. we visited once before in August 2011, and the queue was about one and a half hours. Today, though, we had to wait for a frankly ridiculous four hours (!!) The only explanation we have for the difference is that with April being peak tourist season, most of the diners were tourists and hence take a much longer time to eat. You know, taking photos and all. So be warned - Sushi Dai is OK for a 2 hour or less wait, but anything more than that and you're just wasting too much time.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

Having only 3 hours sleep the previous night, we headed back to the hotel for a siesta before heading to Takashimaya Nihonbashi to ogle at the awesome Depachika - literally "department store basement," which is a huge food, sweets, and other groceries hall.

Day Three: Shinjuku Gyoen. For being smack in the middle of Tokyo, this beautiful park is hugely impressive - we'll just let the next few photos do the talking for us.

Shinjuku Gyoen in April
Shinjuku Gyoen in April
Shinjuku Gyoen in April

We then adjourn to the nearby Move Cafe for some lunch and cute latte art :) Word of warning though, when we turned up none of the staff could speak any English, so communicating with them could be ... difficult.

Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary

In the evening we head over to Odaiba, primarily to see the life-sized Gundam in front of Tokyo Diver City. Even though we didn't do any proper research before hand, we were lucky enough to be there right as the uh ... Gundam show came on. It's perhaps not that impressive - there's music, some lights, some steam, and the Gundam's head moves, but not much else.


In any case, other than the airport, Tokyo Diver City has by far one of the most impressive array of omiyage (souvenirs) we've come across, so it could be worth a short detour here to stock up. In the evening we take yet another depachika tour - this time to Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi. Do note that unlike department stores in Singapore or KL, Japan's department stores typically close earlier - around 8pm - so do plan your time accordingly!

Day Four: We take the train to Narita airport for our flight back to Singapore.

So that concludes our three days in Tokyo, and our itinerary for the 8 days in Japan. If you've read this far we hope that these short write-ups have given you at least an idea as to what you could do in Japan. If you've got any questions do leave us a comment below!

3 comments:

  1. nice shots of the market and the park :D

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  2. Gosh I miss Tokyo. We stayed in the main area of the city together with my friends. We booked from the Cheapest Hotels in Tokyo list using the website ibooknow.com.

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  3. I love your photo of Shinjuku Gyoen with those very vibrant (and huge) cherry blossom blooms! Were these photos taken during the second half of April? I visited Shinjuku Gyoen during first week of April this year and was very impressed with the cherry blossoms. During that time, I think I saw a different variant of blooms with flowers in a lighter pink shade. :)

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