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TokyoTravel-DayOne
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
11:59 PM

TokyoTravel-DayOne

On Wednesday, January 25, we were traveling from Singapore (Changi Airport, Terminal 1) to Japan (Narita Airport, Terminal 1 North Wing). Delta Air Lines took us to Japan safely, efficiently and most importantly, smoothly. The duration of our flight was approximately 7 hours, 6:00am (SGT) ~ 2:00pm (JST). Breakfast is included on our morning flight.

{In the plane + In a late morning sky}

We arrived at Narita Airport at 2:00pm Wednesday (JST). At the arrival level on the first floor, we headed to the bus ticket counter to obtain our limousine bus tickets (¥3000 per ticket) from Narita Airport to Shibuya, alighting point at Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel. The duration of the bus ride is about 75 ~ 105 mins...


Fortunately! My friend woke me up in the middle of my nap and I managed to take a glimpse of the Tokyo Tower, a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo. It is the second tallest artificial structure in Japan. The first being, Tokyo Sky Tree. A broadcasting and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo.

{Tokyo Tower against a clear blue sky}

Upon reaching Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, we hired a mini van taxi to bring us to Shibuya Tobu Hotel, where we stayed for 7 nights. At approximately 4:00pm (JST), we checked into the hotel located in the heart of Shibuya, a fantastic location. It is 5 ~ 10 mins walk from Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo's busiest railway stations. Using the JR Yamonate Line, we can easily travel around Tokyo. The rooms are simple and clean, but small as to be expected. It is still a good value for the price we paid. Overall, it is a pleasant stay with the friendly staff.

{Shibuya Tobu Hotel}

{Bedroom - Semi Double Bed}

{Bathroom - Bathtub + Shower}

Right outside the hotel's doorstep. Cross the street and shops await. From large shopping malls to small, charming shops at every corners. It's a really convenient location to everywhere by just walking...


A 15 min walk from the hotel, took us to a pedestrian street that is at the south side of Kyu-Shibuyagawa Promenade. Commonly known as Cat Street in Harajuku, it is dedicated to the Japanese fashion in all its glory. A winding street that traces the old Shibuya River, is now filled with shops with very specific looks and feels. One of my favorite places to shop in Tokyo.

{Pedestrian street that leads to Cat Street}

{A popular place for people watching}


Down the Cat Street...

{Bringing out the best of unfinished wooden flooring strips}

{Simple, chic and modern hanging light bulbs}

{Utilizing a small space - Organization}

{Balance old and new with a mix of simple lines, neutrals, warmth}

{Large variety of shoes with different design styles}

{Lighting to highlight products on display}

{Beautifully designed luggages made from quality materials}

{Adorable graffiti wall mural + Attention-grabbing glass stickers}

A walk through Cat Street brought us to Harajuku Gyōza Rō, Jingumae (原宿餃子楼、神宮前). Hidden away in a back alley behind the busy street, this dining place is recommended for its gyōza, a Chinese dumping stuffed with garlic chives.

{Exterior and Interior of Gyōza Rō}

{Japan travel mates - Lisa, Serena, Dionne}

The pan-fried dumplings with a rich meat filling were tasty and cheap (¥290 for 6 pcs). Aside from that, I also enjoyed the stir-fried bean sprouts with minced pork (¥180 per bowl). Too yummy~

{Our first meal in Japan - Rice, gyōza, bean sprouts, soup}

{Empty bowls and plates - Finish your dinner!}

I was taught that everything on my plate should be eaten. It is regarded as an insult to the chef if I don't finish the food. However, some say we have to leave a little food on our plate when we have finished eating as an empty plate signals a desire for more food. So I'm confused and thus would appreciate if anyone can enlighten me on Japanese dining etiquette.


After dinner, we walked around Shibuya area...

The first thing I noticed was vending machines are everywhere and anywhere. The machines are stocked with drinks, snacks, cigarettes, etc. Vending machines are also commonly used in casual restaurants to sell meal tickets. Very amazed~

{Drink vending machines - Canned ¥120, Bottled ¥150}

{Cigarette vending machines - A pack of cigarette ¥390 ~ ¥440}

At WEGO 原宿本店, there is a variety of new and used items such as t-shirts, jeans, shirts, shorts, hats, coats, shoes, etc. You name it, they have it. These garments are less expensive, mass-produced clothing, that are much more affordable if one is on budget spending.

{WEGO HARAJUKU}

{WEGO LADY'S}

{WEGO MEN'S}

Walking along Jingumae, Meiji-dori Street... the unique independent shops have a welcoming atmosphere that attract us. I would say, in Tokyo, the shopkeepers and shop employees were keen on giving us their best services and as their customer we were happy to seek their help.

{RUGGED FACTORY - Vintage Americana rags and work wears}

{ROYAL FLASH - Imported cool branded products}

The last store we visited was Tokyu Hands and that is where we spent hours looking around, seeing all the amazing things. We were reminded beforehand to control our spending. Lisa said, no impulsive buying please. Now, I actually knew what she meant.


Tokyu Hands; when you visit, you find what you want. This place is awesome beyond words. If you're a fan of Art Friend, you will surely love (x infinity) Tokyu Hands! It has basic products we use in our everyday lives to products that provide pleasure and enrichment. It carries a wide variety of merchandise that meets diversified customer demands.

{Kitchen supplies - Confectionary-making supplies, etc}

{Interior & Storage Accessories - Ready-to-assemble furniture, etc}

{Games / Party & Variety Goods - Costumes, Games, etc}

Tokyu Hands is definitely one of the best places to look for souvenirs of Japan. Besides, you MUST visit LOFT! In my opinion, depending on your needs/wants, this store is as good as (or even better than) Tokyu Hands. Don't miss these stores in Japan!




End of Day One. Stay tuned for TokyoTravel-DayTwo...

{Some photos credited: Lisa}

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