21092016 / Tokyo Day 1

I am finally getting started with my Tokyo travelogue blog entry. Sister and I took a midnight flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport into Haneda Airport with All Nippon Airways (ANA). It was a tiring trip and I should not have done that. I persuaded Sister to take the overnight flight in the first place as the fare was half price cheaper.

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Notice what’s so special about this picture? Both of us were in stripes. I wore a stripe top while Sister wore a stripe bottom. LOL! Siamese twins we joked when we realized what we wore to the airport.

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Selfie while waiting for the check-in counters to start operation. ANA has a different procedure as compared to other airlines at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Before they started serving passengers, all staffs will stand in a straight row in front of the check-in counters and take a bow.

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We collected the WiFi modem which we had pre-booked online after we were done with check-in. We rented this modem for ¥8 per day provided that you booked it online but a mandatory authorization hold of ¥500 on your credit card was required per gadget. Internet speed was quick for normal usage of Whatsapp, Dayre, Facebook and Instagram.

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I was knackered by the time we reached Tokyo as I did not get any sleep while on board. I thought I will be able to catch some sleep on board but it turned out that I could not. It was nearly 6AM in the morning when we cleared both immigration and custom. Both immigration and custom efficiency in Japan are top notch. They even did customer survey with passengers to improve their efficiency.

We took our time to rest for a while in the arrival waiting hall before we get moving with our tickets’ purchase. All the Japanese staffs at Haneda Airport speak good English and some even have an American accent. So, you do not have to worry that they cannot understand you.

We purchased individual one-day and three-day travel passes in Tokyo and return ticket for Keikyu line in which the train will bring us from Haneda Airport International Terminal directly to Higashi-Ginza Station. There are three stations located nearby our hotel but this is the train line which we did not have to transit in between.

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Inside the Keikyu train heading into the city. I liked that everyone is doing their own things and you won’t be hearing talking voices unlike the ones in China whereby you will have passengers talking loudly beside or behind you.

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Mandatory wefie inside the train to mark the start of our Tokyo holiday. The train was jam packed as it was nearing the city and we were worried that we might not be able to alight the train at the desired station. It turned out that it was not as bad as we thought it might be. We got off the train just fine as quarter of the passengers alighted two stations before Higashi-Ginza Station.

Upon arriving at Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza, we opened up our luggage and refreshed ourselves before heading off for our caffeine fix and breakfast. Left our luggage at the reception as check-in was not available until 2PM. We went to Lawson to stock up on breakfast and headed to Starbucks Coffee for our caffeine fix.

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Chai Tea Latte & Fruit Pie

Loved their Chai Tea Latte as it was spiced to my liking. It was however rather sweet for my liking though. And what’s special about Japanese Starbucks Coffee is that they have four sizes instead of the standard three sizes.

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Tuna Mayo Onigiri from Lawson. My first Onigiri in Tokyo and it was good. Now I understand why some people claimed that you can basically live with Japanese combini stores while in Japan. I laughed off when Sister told me that we can just get our meal fixes at Japanese combini stores and it turned out she was right as I went to Lawson on every single day while in Tokyo.

One of Sister’s friends – May came to meet us at Starbucks Coffee and she brought us around for the day. We headed to Tsukiji Market as it is located nearby from where we were at the time. Tsukiji Market was approximately 15 minutes walk from Starbucks Coffee.

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This is a stall selling various kind of Tamago. We did not try any of those. But according to May, it was pretty well known. Tamago in Japan were rather too sweet for my liking but I liked the texture. They were smooth.

While on the way to the restaurant serving Yakitori, we dropped by Namiyoke Inari Shrine. “Namiyoke” literally means protection from waves in Japanese. After the Tsukiji Fish Market was established in its present location after the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake, the Namiyoke Inari Shrine became an unofficial guardian shrine for the marketplace and its traders.

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The Yakitori restaurant which May intended to bring us to was not open until a later time. So, we returned to Tsukiji Market and headed to Sushi Zanmai for an early lunch. The place was pretty crowded but queue time was as short as five minutes before we were seated. We were being assigned at bar counter on the top floor.

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Sushi Botan served with Miso Soup | 1500円

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Sea Urchin Roe | 398円

After our lunch at Sushi Zanmai, the three of us took the metro and headed to Asakusa for Sensoji and Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street. Before reaching Sensoji, May brought us to a building whereby you can have a view of the area nearby. I cannot remember the name of the building but all I remembered was that it was located just across Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street.

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Kittens to play with outside a combini store nearby Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street. We saw a couple of teenage girls playing with the kittens.

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After we were done with strolling along the shopping street, we headed towards Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon Temple). It was pretty crowded with mostly tourists but it was still bearable. We prayed and left when we were pretty much done.

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There was free tea sampling somewhere outside the temple and May asked if we would like to try a Matcha gelato shop which is within walking distance from Sensoji. We agreed as we needed some refreshment to keep us going and May brought us to Suzuki-en. Suzuki-en sells Matcha flavored gelato with different levels of intensity.

SUZUKI-EN
3-4-3, Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan

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Matcha Gelato Level 7 | 280円

Sister being brave opted for the highest premium Level 7. I loved this but Sister found it too rich and intense for her liking. She preferred the Adzuki Gelato which May had. If you are a die-hard Matcha fan, I am pretty sure that this will suit your taste bud just fine.

After walking around nearby, May brought us to Tokyo Solamachi which is also in within walking distance from Sensoji. There was nothing much which caught our fancy in Tokyo Solamachi so we decided to have an early dinner at Rokurinsha. Rokurinsha is famous for their Tsukemen Ramen but we had their ordinary ramen instead.

ROKURINSHA 六厘
Level 6, Tokyo Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan

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Majority restaurants in Japan use machines to take orders and you pay at the machine too. You do not have to worry about not understanding Japanese as they have picture illustrations of how the food looked like. After ordering, pass your ticket coupons to the staff, be seated and they will proceed with your order.

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I am not sure what this was and how much it was. This was good apart from rather too salty for my liking. The broth was thick and flavorful. Having stayed in Tokyo for like 4 days, I came to realize that Japanese has stronger taste buds. The noodle was nice and it has a springy texture.

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Hello Kitty in a kimono costume outside a Sanrio store in Tokyo Solamachi. Sister loved it and wanted to buy one. It was not Hello Kitty which she loves but Hello Kitty in a Japanese costume. LOL! After dinner, May brought us to BIC Camera and some local drugstores for some shopping before she headed home for the day. Sister and I did not stay long either as I was feeling all knackered from the walking.

So, this pretty much summed up my Day 1 in Tokyo. I will update my Day 2 shortly but it will be a brief one as we only covered Meiji Shrine and a little bit of Harajuku Takeshita Street. So, do stay tune if you are interested.

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