My first 2 days were in Osaka, and now, we are finally taking the Shinkansen to Tokyo, the capital of Japan! The morning was a mad rush because our train to Tokyo leaves at 8.30am, and we had to figure out how to get a train to shin-osaka from Osaka station, even though it was just one stop away!
This was the first picture I took when we reached the platform, only to realize that there were no trains here, and we had to board it on another platform. So, I had to lug the luggages up and down to find the right platform, and I was actually perspiring in the 7 degree morning. We were finally at the right place and shin Osaka is a station to both the normal trains, as well as the Shinkansen (bullet trains) to head to different areas in Japan! We had problems trying to get through the gantry to the Shinkansen station because we had to put in two tickets, instead of one! Well.. That’s a first!
They have a couple of places selling ekiben (railway boxed meals), some were really cute, but it was just too early in the morning for me to eat. Not a ton of rice, as well. We got a coffee from Doutor because the queue at Starbucks was crazy, and I got myself a wagyu beef sandwich for $6. We still had BAKE cheese tarts for the 3 hour train ride!
Here’s how the shinkansen platform looks like. They had plenty of kiosks on the platform as well! Ah, it’s so nice to be able to eat on the train!Our train was the NOZOMI 114! Taking the train was much easier now after the initial scare at Osaka station.
This was our ticket, and because I see Chinese words and zone out, we stood at the wrong car number. And obviously entered the wrong carriage. Later, we had to spring out of our seats because I realized that we were in the wrong one. Genius. I was also busy snapchatting the place and the train suddenly zoomed towards us, and I didn’t manage to catch a good shot of it. I regret till this day. Stupid snapchat. The interior of the train looks like this! Really comfy seats and a comfortable temperature. They even have smoking cabins, as well as a smoking corner for those who want to smoke in the non-smoking cabins!
The train ride was pretty uneventful, of course. Except for the time where we heard people snapping away on their phones, and we looked out from the windows on the other side of the train and realized that OMG IT IS MT FUJI. Wow, that mountain is really majestic. I wish we were sitting on the other side of the train so that I could take some pictures, but at least I got to see it!
We reached Shinagawa (a station in Tokyo) in less than 3 hours, and had to take another subway to go to where our hotel was!
We were finally at the station and it was time to navigate the way to the hotel! That was easy, as long as I didn’t have to deal with the railway map. There were so many shops in the area, but none of which we could shop at when we return at night for the rest of our stay here because they were all selling food! This was the taiyaki store located just outside my hotel. They also sold mochi and soft serves! I didn’t get a chance to eat these amazing looking taiyaki because they only open at 12pm, and closes before 9pm during the weekends!
This was our hotel, which I thought was situated at a pretty prime location. A 3 minute walk away from Shinbashi station. It has a MOS burger cafe concept opposite, a family mart just beside it, and the world renowned shopping district in Japan – Ginza, is just round the corner, literally.
So, we left our bags at the lobby and off we go to explore the streets of Ginza!
Ginza Shopping Belt
Guess what we found right at the start of the stretch of Ginza? Hakuhinkan Toy Park! A 4-storey high toy shop. OMG.
Look at these. Look at the gudetama collectibles. I bought each box for $10 in Singapore, and it’s only $6 here! Okay lah, it is still not THAT cheap, but.. But… GUDETAMA. Of course, I bought a lot of it from here, and I’ve got really cute toys from it! Just that I don’t know where I’ve chucked them in my room now. Yeah… It happens.. TOTORO HEAVEN! I have no idea what totoro is, but I know everyone’s crazy over it, except me. Hence the picture. It’s a snowy totoro! I think.. SO after spending like half an hour in there, we started exploring the streets of Ginza! You can find almost any brands here like 8 storeys high Uniqlo, 5 storeys high H&M, 5 storeys high Hermes, and so on. It’s crazy. They even have cafes in the boutique shops like an Hermes cafe, or Shiseido cafe! We didn’t manage to go to any one of them though because we decided to save our stomach space for lunch! You can really find ANY brands here. International labels EVERYWHERE, in every corner, and unlike Singapore, where these shops occupy a single unit on just one level, most of the shops there span across a couple of levels, some even have an elevator within the store!
Our first stop for lunch was Center the Bakery! I’ve seen so much of their breads online, and I don’t know why I was so excited about being able to toast my own breads in the cafe. So, we navigated our way there and oh my.
Look at that queue. Gosh. Apparently the longer queues are for the take out only breads, BUT the queue for the cafe was not exactly any shorter. This was our expression. We were really lucky because we stood in line for just half an hour before we were ushered into the cafe! I’ll post a full review of this place in a separate post!
We chose the toast set with butter and jam and also a Croque Madame!
Yay, we could choose our own toasters! But the instructions were all in Japanese, and I just thought like how different can toasters be. Just toast bread only right? HAHA! So I just took a random one.
Here’s my mum posing
Here’s the jam and butter set. Uhh.. I liked the chocolate spread best though. Hahaha!
We also ordered a croque madame. This was SUPER GOOD and CHEESY! We loved it, especially after a bland first course toast set. Haha!
We spent close to a whooping S$50 just for these 2 sets and a coffee. We didn’t understand why there was such a long queue for the breads because.. It wasn’t really THAT good. Hmm.
After our super carby lunch, we headed back to the shopping belt to do more shopping, however my mum wasn’t able to get anything because they were all out of stock. So, I had to plan for an impromptu trip to the nearest SOGO.
Nihombashi – SOGO
We arrived at Nihombashi – I don’t even know where. Haha! But they had a HUGE SOGO departmental store so.. There we went. Upon reaching, this woman wanted coffee, so we had to search the entire place for a cafe. While the basement of all departmental stores is a food haven, the downside to it is that most of them are just take out stores, and you don’t really have space to simply sit down and chill!
We found a cafe on the second level – the words were so cursive, I couldn’t even figure out the name of it. But we found it on Instagram, it’s called Chocolat Bar Pascal Caffet.
We got a coffee and a salted caramel ice cream, and this was hands down the best salted caramel ice cream I’ve ever had! Pretty crazy!
Then… We continued shopping for the next 4 hours.. It was boring for me. Cause I can’t afford anything.
Look at her, so extremely gleeful after getting her loots. We were actually leaving after she got her Goyard, but as we were leaving, we went into Hermes, and she accidentally bought a pair of heels, which cost more than her Goyard. NO WAY.
Since I’ve planned to visit Tokyo Station on our first night in Tokyo, because of the CHARACTER STREET! The entire level is filled with character specialty shops, like Rilakkuma, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Tamagotchi etc etc. It sounds like HEAVEN to me. I googled and found out that Tokyo station was just a 10 minute walk away from where we were!
And we were finally here at Tokyo station! It was quite dark at night and my mind was only focused on Character street that I forgot to pay Tokyo Skytree a visit. Genius.
We didn’t really know where was character street but while searching for a place to eat, we realized that the entire basement place was THE street. All kinds of anime and cartoon characters had their own shop. It was crazy! The crowd was crazy too!
OMG. Guess what! This isn’t a permanent store there though, it’s a pop-up that lasted till the end of December!
Lucky, lucky us. I forgot all about my hunger and started going crazy there.
Sorry it’s blurred cause I cropped away all the mess in the foreground HAHA! But I got this gudetamago for just S$19. It is actually retailing at $40!!!! in Singapore. FOR A TINY ONE. RIP OFF!
MORE PICTURES OF GUDETAMA.. Please bear with me. HAHA!
Okay after going crazy, we decided to look for a place to eat, and found Standing Sushi Bar!
Wow, unlike that of Singapore, this one is really STANDING sushi bar. You had to stand to eat your sushis as you order off the menu.
I’ve got my uni of course. It was so SWEET AND YUMMY!
These sushis are prepared upon order, so you could see our plates getting filled as time goes by.
This was my first time having sushi in Japan. Although it was REALLY good, I don’t understand why people would say omg I’ll never be able to eat sushi in Singapore again. Like.. Huh got so godlike meh? HAHA!
I mean, yes the seafood to rice ratio was really different from that of what we have here. This was mainly seafood, and it was fresh and good; the rice was also slightly sweeter and palatable. And most of all, it’s SO AFFORDABLE. We ordered all these (got UNI leh) and a miso soup, it only cost us $20. It was great, but I think I still can appreciate the sushi we have at Japanese restaurants here in Singapore! HAHA!
We explored the place a bit, and then decided to have Calbee + for dessert because that was the first thing I was bugging my mum to have when we reached Tokyo Station! YAY!! It’s like a dream come true because I’ve been seeing this SO MANY TIMES ONLINE, and I wondered when I could try it! YAY!
Calbee chips with royce chocolate sauce and a vanilla soft serve! Actually.. Nothing much to shout about lah. Just a satisfying snack, even though I wish it came with more chocolate sauce!
That was about the end of our day. Oh we still chilled at Starbucks for a good hour or two before heading back actually. A super long day for us and by then I was already sick of looking at luxury goods and gudetamas (OR.. MAYBE NOT). HAHA!
Look at the bag we got from the gudetama store!
Stay tuned for Day 4 in Japan, when we cover the streets of Harajuku, Shibuya and Aoyama!