Here we have the first post of our Japan travel diary!! Those who follow this blog from the beginning may know that we actually started in this blogging world sharing our honeymoon to Japan, so you could probably feel in my words (and hopefully also see in our pics) our (loving) excitement to be able to talk again about such a special place for us. In case you haven’t seen it before, and are curious about our first time in Japan, jump to the Travel section and check it out.
Whomever decided that “second parts were never good” definitely wasn’t thinking to include us travelling to Japan in this blunt affirmation, ha! I have to admit that my first reaction when we checked our savings and were sure we could travel again to Tokyo was: ohmyohmyohmy! followed by my constant worry that something could go wrong in between, which was, during the last days, converted into a: will it be up to my high expectations? Well, short answer: it was up and more! We can now say that Japan is our happy place, no matter colds, weather, or any other eventuality. Just a simple irasshaimase puts a smile in our face.
In the following weeks we will share a lot about our travel, each stop and some helpful tips for those in the lucky stage of planning their own adventure to Japan. Hope you like all we have in store, be assured that we will put our hearts in all the posts of this new series called Japan 2.0
Off we go! Our first stop “Tokyo, the greatest”.
Shibuya + Tokyo Ramen Street
Shibuya is like our Japanese home away from home, and being able to be back again and recognize the streets and alleys gave us instantly that comfy feeling of being in a good place. The day we arrived was the night before Halloween and the word crazy fails short to describe what we found there: crowds and crowds of fully costume dressed people in the streets having fun and giving candy to the kids. Yes, in Japan you can take candy from a complete stranger and feel safe! As we already knew day 0 was going to be rather a difficult one due to our jet lag and lack of sleep during flights, we planned a slow one just some shopping at Shibuya and a lunch/dinner/whatever at Tokyo Ramen Street.
Love, love, love. You can hardly tell in the picture at this size, but all the corners and streets are completely packed with people.
Tip! We went to the Disney store to buy the tickets for the park. We learnt about this at the Nerd Burger Tokyo videos and was very helpful! You avoid lines at the park but still have your cute ticket printed and in a tiny envelope. For paper-addicted as me that is perfect, I couldn’t go to Disney and don’t have the ticket as a keepsake.
I requested this picture with the gang of Hogwarts alumni. They were happily surprised and insisted that I should carry one of their wands for the picture ♥
We tried a few times our luck at the crane machines, although Dani got quite the hold of it (I’m terrible!) we still didn’t get anything, oops!
We ended the day at Tokyo Ramen Street, a place inside Tokyo station where the most famous Ramen shops in Japan have a branch. Ramen is usually bought beforehand at a vending machine and then you take the ticket with you inside to show it to the waiter.
We were specially interested in the Rokurisnha Tsukemen place, that we had read was a unique experience. We can’t praise it enough: the broth was rich, the handmade noodles thick yet with the perfect texture and the egg was the best one I’ll ever have.
Shinjuku + Harajuku
Shinjuku is a popular neighborhood for anyone visiting Tokyo because you can get views of the city (for free), there are some popular eating and shopping options and, at the same time, it has a very beautiful garden to step away from the crowds. The park is specially lovely during the autumn season, so this was what actually triggered our decision.
After Shinjuku we walked to Harajuku, exploring off-the-route residential streets and watching some kiddos inside a school in the middle of a kendo class (special moment – but sorry, no pics!). Harajuku is one of our favorite places in Tokyo for shopping so I couldn’t resist to succumb to its enchantment.
Starting the morning in Shibuya, rainy Shibuya crossing is a fave!
On top of the Metropolitan Government Building you can get pretty amazing views. The image of the Mount Fuji at the end of the never-ending city is something I will not forget.
I found fewer stamps this time (sad face) than in our first trip. However, I have this impressive one of the Metropolitan Government Building, so it’s not that bad after all!
Hot drinks from the vending machine were such a treat, my sore throat was happy to have a hot yuzu with ginger everywhere.
From the variety of options in Shinjuku we were curious about what the private booths from Ramen Ichiran would be like. Their tonkatsu Ramen is also praised.
That’s the only thing you saw from waiters, their hands while giving you the Ramen or setting up clean tables. I couldn’t resist to give a little peek from under the curtain and was answered with a sweet smile from him, however this is something you are not supposed to do, be warned! :)
The fading light at Shinjuku Gyoen was such a delight. They close quite soon, so we recommend to plan it in the morning instead. We were lucky to have enough time to explore 3/4 parts of it, but still couldn’t walk every corner.
Afternoon tea at a super trendy café in Harajuku.
It’s difficult to read, but the second floor is a “Dental office” LOL, love them so much!
Forgive my silly face, I was too excited by the colors, and asking myself: why don’t we have a bigger budget for shopping? ha!
This one I got! I’ve been looking for a beret for a while, and watching many girls rocking it in Japan sold it to me.
Kiddyland a.k.a heaven on earth, ha!
I like the loving stare Dani stole from me in this candid shot.
And here is the owner of my heart! hahahah, such a grumpy face does ring a bell to me ;)
At dinner we had the cheapest meal we had at a restaurant during our travel. And as you would imagine from Japan, it was delish!
We were seated at the counter where the waiter pointed to my sweater and told me he loved the cross stitching (cute!). A minute later he came with this drawing of it, ha! He also, later on, draw me a super sweet totoro in a heart-shaped paper. Not only we recommend Gyoza Lou for their pan-fried gyoza but also for the sweetness of the staff.
Thanks for those who have reached this point and joined us re-visiting Tokyo! Our next stop will be Disney. Full speed ahead, travel buddies!