Welcome to the last report of my Japan trip! It feels pretty bittersweet writing this post but all good things must come to an end. If you missed any of the previous ones you can catch up here as there are some good’uns!
For our last two days we were in Tokyo and got our tourist fix on! To start we went north to the Ikebukuro district. It’s a very heavy commercial/entertainment area with tons of billboards, people and shops. We grabbed some food from Tenka Sushi aka a bargain basement conveyor belt sushi place. It seats around ten people and everything was prepared fresh right in front of you. Any food that spins round on a belt appeals to me haha so I really enjoyed it here. Everything was super cheap but absolutely delicious and you could order a ton of different sushi from a menu if it wasn’t popping round on the belt.
It was here that we got our crazy cat lady fix on. We went to Nekorobi Cat Cafe which is awkwardly located in an apartment building. The ‘cafe’ is really a room with tables, a vending machine and lots of cats. Upon entering you’re given a lanyard with your time of entrance and then you’re charged depending on how long you stay. Many people were on their laptops there doing work or playing video games so I guess it is in strict competition with Starbucks haha. The cats themselves were adorable and some were more playful than others. I think they’re just so used to the routine now that they totally played everyone in there. My favourite was Kiyomori with his squished face and stick-out tongue. It was a very bizarre experience but something you of course have to try if you’re in Japan.
From there we headed to Mori Tower to get a view of the city at night. There are a lot of observation decks in Tokyo including the Skytree and Tokyo Tower but we opted for the Mori Tower. Our reasoning? So we could see the other two in our photos! The view was spectacular and Tokyo seems endless as the lights just cascade forever. I’d recommend Mori Tower as a) it’s cheaper and b) you get the others in your shot. It’s just like going to NYC and climbing up Rockefeller so you can see the Empire State. On our way there we also hit up the Pokemon Centre so I snapped a few pics. It’s basically like M&Ms World, anything you desire from toys to crockery but Pokemon themed.
We stayed in Shinjuku which is a very commercial, touristy area. There are lots of shops, restaurants and bars, so it’s very popular and manic. Our hotel was the Gracery aka the one with the giant Godzilla poking out of it haha. Be warned that at night Shinjuku turns into the ‘brothel’ of the city and many pimps stopped us in the street to offer us happy endings. I was surprised just how forward they were with their conversing but I guess each to their own.
That evening we decided to go all out and went to the Robot Restaurant. If you haven’t heard of it you’re in for a shock! It’s basically a crazy, stereotypical ‘what you think of kooky Japan’ show (and you can also get dinner if you want). It’s split into different acts which feature singing, dancing, robots, animatronics, film and more. The whole decor is bright, garish and in your face. Everyone in there was a tourist and it’s clearly a trap but one I didn’t mind getting stuck in. I loved it and if you go in with an open mind, a few drinks and the knowledge that things are about to get weird then you’ll have a whale of a time!
Our last day was spent doing lots of shopping and errands. We only had a few hours before our flight so we decided to go to Yoyogi Park. It’s similar in size to Ueno but less of an attraction as it houses the Meiji Shrine. The weather was absolutely perfect and everything shined. This shrine is dedicated to the former Emperor and is surrounded by hundreds of gorgeous trees.
From the park we went to Harajuku for lunch (we ate at Gyoza Lou which was incredible) and spied on some of the kooky fashion. It reminded me of Camden Market so I was a little disappointed but maybe for fashionista people it would appeal more. We then kept going south and ended in Shibuya. There we did some more shopping and of course checked out the famous Shibuya Crossing. I’ll admit it wasn’t as crazy as I expected but maybe we weren’t there at peak madness.
That brings me to the end of this Japan chapter. I’ll close with a photo of Mount Fuji I snapped from our shinkansen heading back to Tokyo. When booking your seat reservations ask to be on the ‘Fuji side’ and if it’s a clear day you’ll get to see this bad boy. As always feel free to sign up to the newsletter or check out instagram and I’ll see you in a few days!