I have always wanted to blog on my travels and then keep forgetting to do it. I havent even finished writing on Jordan (that was 2 years ago!). And have I even written about Marrakech (December 2017)?
Anyway, so I think I should write differently because writing in chronological order was taking way too long – even though that made the most sense to me. I’ll just write my recommendations and top tips… and ‘meh’ experiences.
Places to go in Tokyo
First up: How can anyone fit in Tokyo with TWO kids in 4 days? Actually, it was more like three days for us as we went on a day trip out to Hakone.
So choose what your preferences are and be aware that there will be lots and lots of walking. Even walking inside a station itself takes 10-15 minutes – basar nyamu stations nya ani.
Limit to 2-3 areas per day. In fact for maximal enjoyment, make it to 2 places and then somewhere else for dinner/night time.
1. Samurai museum at Shinjuku
This was a good museum actually, interesting history of the Samurais. It’s not that big and takes about an hour ish. We took the guided tour and the collections made more sense with the guide’s explanation. The kids’ attention span did deteriorate by the end of it and we ended up taking photos with the nearby maekshift studio.
Fun fact: Boys who came from the samurai family were trained from the age of 3-4 years old. Hmm, need to get started on the kids. Also, girls were trained to be samurais too. Especially if they didnt have any boys in the samurai family, so the girls have to be the ‘assistant’ to the fighter… but also means they are involved in the fighting.
Takashimaya Square, Shinjuku
We went here on our last day. There are a lot of shopping malls here, a lot of it is American/Western top end brands. We went here to go to the prayer room actually before going to nearby park. We ended up spending almost 2 hours at Tokyu Hands! It has six floors and is a bit like a department store but mostly specialises on cute/pretty/quirky items. I can spend a long long time there but had to keep an eye on the clock. Wished I bought some more things there now.
2. Went shopping at Shibuya
So if you’re really into shopping, you can spend a few hours here. We went to Shibuya 109 which had some ridiculous number of floors (8 floors I think) of women’s clothing. However we had a lump to carry around (sleeping Ayman) and boys hate going shopping. So I quickly zoomed around but really I can spend ages there. We went to Uniqlo and I got my trousers fix (I have 5 trousers that I usually wear and 4 of them are from Uniqlo). By then we all got tired and cranky and we just couldnt wait for the evening’s sight of Shibuya crossing.
I expected teenagers in wild outfits and though I did see some ‘less conservative’ outfits, I was didappointed that the Harajuku crowd didnt appear in full force when we went. We actually went to Harajuku twice. The first was to check out the place – as soon as you come out of the station and cross the street, there is a street that is so full of people. We exited after a few minutes and the second time round (to kill time), we browsed around with less of a crowd in the evening. There were some interesting fashion shops but not my style really. Although tempted to buy the sweatshirt with the bunny hoodie and a lil bob tail to go with it, I held back and decided I couldnt get away with it.
Hedeghog cafe, Harajuku
The first time, we went to the Hedgehog cafe. There was a bit of a queue (as are a lot of places in Japan it seems!) but didnt have to wait more than 10-15 minutes. It did cost a lot to my stingy disbelief but we were there already, so off we went for some hedgehog experience. Now let me tell you, I hate touching any four legged animals. Actually I hate touching any animals but even more so four legged ones. Gali rasanya and also I have a bit of phobia (I say a bit but its a lot actually). That was the reason why we didnt go to cat cafe. I’ll probably cry in a corner and hyperventilate at the same time.
So hedgehog seems to be a safer bet… they’re not gonna run around me at least. However, Zayan was also scared of touching so I had to be brave and fight all my senses to throw the hedgehog away. After awhile, I realise it wasnt so bad. #achievementunlocked
PPS You get a free drink from vending machine but its not really a cafe! The place do have a nice ambience to it.
Yoyogi Park, Shibuya-ku
Actually the maps said this was in Shibuya-ku but we went out of station to find ourselves at Harajuku close to Hedgehog cafe. Hmm. Anyway. HUGE HUGE park. We didnt get to see any greenery area, came across another shrine/temple (sorry ah cant tell which is which at this point) and then the park was closing. So erm, no place for our picnic! There probably is but we couldnt find it despite half an hour of walking. It is pretty cool to have this forest-like park in the middle of city and be completely surrounded by nature, only minutes after escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. However, there are nicer parks to go to IMHO – says the sakura obsessed.
I enjoyed this place the most. It was more authentic and even though still jam-packed with tourists, it had a nice feel to it. We went to the Meiji Shrine, checked out the little alleyway shops and found this shop selling really pretty Japanese cloths. Pictures later perhaps on IG because I cant be bothered to find them now. Kids got restless at the shrine and was finally happy when we got them icecream.
5. Ueno Park
Another HUGE park. Lovely area for cherry blossom sightings. Lots of people picnicking – seriously jam packed with rows of people having a picnic under the Sakura tree.
We went to Ueno Zoo, which the kids love. When you have kids, you will end up going to multipe zoos and aquariums. So this zoo is not the most amazing zoo in the world but it did it make up to the kids, for all those walking and boring shrine-picture taking they have to endure. Plenty of space to run around in and also the animals didnt look sad (I feel sad for the animals who looks trapped or sad or live in small areas). The tiger did look like it needs some fattening up though.
6. Tsukiji Fish Market
We didnt go early to see the tuna auction. Or THAT early to get breakfast. We arrived at 10 am and bee-lined to this tempura place. Read through the tripadvisor forums who advised to ditch the sushi places and instead go for the less busy places. Actually this popular sushi place (Sushi Dai – I did my research) didnt have a queue when we arrived but within 10 minutes, the queue did pile up. Anyway, we went to Tempura Tenfusa, which only have 12 seats! So we had to wait probably for 15-20 minutes. It only has 3 items in the menu and one (tuna sashimi) was sold out by 10 am. They only have seafood in it. Nevertheless the tempura was SO good. Crispy batter, not greasy at all, that was a real yums breakfast/brunch.
The actual fish market
Because we got there a bit late, there was less of a crowd but still plenty to see. Zayan eyed the fresh sushi and sashimi and pestered to eat it. And now that he can read, he saw the sign saying ‘You can buy here and eat at the third floor’ and kept going on about it! Eseh aku ah, actually nya mau jua. The sashimi was SO fresh. It was so fresh and tender I just want to cry (eh labih jua).
There were also food stalls at the outer fish market but we got so full it was time to ciao.
Now this is probably one of the nicer, posher places to go to. Quite a few shopping areas and science museum, so actually worth going if you’re into those things.
We went only for this thing only…
It also had a nice picnic area, so it was pretty nice to just chillax and not have crowds and crowds of people invading your space (can you tell I like my space?).
My sakura obsession continues as we went sakura sighting at night. It was so so so pretty. The kids though… kept hitting each other, went hyper (hmm it was either the fanta or the sweet bread we fed them). Sikit lagi hilang mood, baik jua teluan lawa nada mood kan marah banar.
Can you spot the moon in the last picture below? (Hey its a full moon, maybe thats why they went all cray).
Ok that’s all from me. Next post: foor for the tummy, prayers for the soul.