Alone in Tokyo

Alone in Tokyo

We had bought tickets to go to TeamLab Borderless exhibition today. Check out the link for more information. Too difficult to explain. Sadly Steve woke up not feeling so great today, and decided that he should probably stay in, in the warmth of our accommodation. Not wanting to totally waste the money we spent on the tickets, Blainie decided to go on her own.

It’s a bit of a trek to TeamLab which is located in Odaiba. First a trip on the Hibiya subway line, then a change on to the Asakusa subway line which takes you to Shimbashi. By the this stage it was already 11am, so lunch was in order. Yes, it was a bit early, but who wants to get stuck inside an exhibition being hungry? After a brief look around Shimbashi station, Blainie spotted her favourite ramen – Kitakata ramen.

Oishikatta!!!!!

After lunch it was on to The monorail bound for Odaiba.

TeamLab was surprisingly unbusy and there was no one hour queue as we had been lead to believe. After some brief explanations and warnings about the darkness, in we all went.

Bit of a sensory overload. You just wander in and out of rooms and around everywhere and there’s different things and they change and stuff. Pretty cool.

In the “Athletic Forest” you got to colour in a picture, which then gets scanned and it shows up on the ground or the wall. Sadly, I did a butterfly and not a mere 10 seconds after it appeared, it got eaten by a lizard.

Then there were other rooms with things like this and bouncy floors and climbing trees.

I also got to colour a seahorse and have it show up in the sea of munted sea creatures. Very cool.

Spent around 2-3 hours in there. After a while it got a bit much, but it was really cool. I needed to see some daylight, so I walked over to Diver City and checked out the big Gundam statue. It’s almost the same as the big Gundam statue we saw a few years ago – except it’s not. It’s a new statue.

Here’s the Hello Kitty version.

Matcha latte break at Nana’s Green Tea

Looked at some shops then went over to the other side of Odaiba – to Decks shopping mall. Saw the Statue of Liberty statue.

And managed to take some selfies with some LEGO figures.

Then went to the awesome retro shopping arcade in Decks. It’s so cool. It’s got old video games and shops selling cool things. Love it.

It was staring to get late by now. So after a brief look at the Tokyo skyline and illuminations and I got back on the monorail.

Back at Shiodome station I tried to find some illuminations which were proving very difficult to find. When I did find them they were a little disappointing.

So back on to the Yamanote train bound for Ueno where I had an excellent dinner in the basement of Oi Oi. Ikura and Uni – oishikatta!!

And I brought Steve a bento home for his dinner.

Soba so good

Soba so good

This morning we went to Sakura Onsen in Komagome warm up in their baths. It’s very nice there. We visited last time we were here too. No photos though, because, well, we can’t take photos in a public bath. That would just be plain weird.

We did however see this – ten points for anyone that can figure out what this bike and the weird contraption on the back is all about. We learnt about these watching NHK a while ago, so was pretty cool to see in real life.

Anyway, by the time we’d finished there it was lunch time so we jumped on the subway and headed for a soba noodle place that we were keen to visit. Look, we won’t lie, we found out about this place when Anthony Bourdain visited it on an episode of Parts Unknown (or was it No Reservations? Who can remember these things) but when we looked it up on the inter webs it sounded great. So a visit was a must. Sarashina Horii Soba has been open for over 200 years. 200 hundred years! Making soba! As soon as we walked in we knew it was going to be awesome. We ordered a basic bowl of hot soba each and some side dishes – tamagoyaki, buta kakuni (stewed Pork) and Yuba (tofu skin). It was all really, really, really good. Like the.best.ever. I guess you can’t really stay in business that long if you’re not any good. Delicious.

We might have to make a return visit.

After lunch we got back on the subway ( we have a 3 day subway pass which is an absolute bargain so have been using the subway a lot more than the Yamanote line this trip) and headed to Shibuya. A trip to Tokyo isn’t a trip to Tokyo without a visit to Shibuya. It was raining when we got to Shibuya, so we decide to go to Hoshino Coffee for a coffee and their famous soufflé pancakes. Because we really neeeded more food.

We managed to get a table with a view out on to Shibuya crossing.

Blainie ordered the chocolate soufflé pancake. Just one, because two would be ridiculous. Do we have to mention that it was delicious?

We chilled there for a bit then went up to the top floor of Shibuya 109 Magnet where there is a viewing platform.

Shibuya is so cool.

On the way back down the building Blainie found some Hello Kitty things.

Incidentally the character images in the photo above only showed up when the photo was taken with a flash. Pretty weird.

We had a quick wander around Shibuya and made the obligatory visit to the Disney Store.

Steve was starting to feel a bit unwell. Seems he’s managed to pick up the dreaded Tokyo cold in record time, so headed back to Ueno. Steve went back to the hotel to chill but Blainie stayed in Ueno for a bit to do some shopping. She succeeded didn’t buy everything. Although was very tempted.

Bento dinner back at Andon. Another day in Tokyo is over.

Like a mini Kyoto by the sea

Like a mini Kyoto by the sea

It was a beautiful clear sunny day today (although still freezing) so we decided to take a day trip to Enoshima Island. This is our 7th (!!!) trip to Tokyo, and we only just recently heard about Enoshima. We didn’t really know what to expect, except that there was a cool hanging monorail that takes you there. The plan was to go check it out, then catch the train on to Kamakura and have a look around there too.

After breakfast at Andon, we headed out into the world. First stop was Ofuna, where For morning tea we had Nikuman (steamed pork buns). So good.

Ofuna is where you catch the monorail to Enoshima. We bought our tickets and got on.

It was a really cool trip on the monorail. It goes through some windy streets and up and down mountains. Mount Fuji even poked its head out from the clouds along the way. The station at the end of the monorail track is Shonan Enoshima. There was a special viewing platform to see Mount Fuji.

We followed the crowds to a long, narrow shopping street and slowly started wandering up it. There were lots of cafes and restaurants and cute shops selling things that were difficult not to buy.

At the end of this street was an underpass that’s takes you up on to the bridge that crosses the water to take you to Enoshima Island.

Once on Enoshima Island, another cute street full of cute things awaits. It reminded us of the winding streets in Higashi-Yama, Kyoto near Kiyomizudera. Again, it was hard not to by all the things.

Then we found a Hello Kitty shop, restaurant and icecream stand. Blainie was very excited.

After a look in the shop (and surprisingly not buying anything) we decided not to go to the restaurant, but that icecream and matcha were in order. Blainie had a “strong matcha” soft serve and Steve had a matcha latte. They were good. Real good. And came with extra Hello Kitty cuteness.

Being so close to the ocean, seafood is abundant around here. We had grilled mackerel and baby sardines with rice and stuff for lunch. Delicious.

After lunch we caught a series of escalators up a mountain to some temples and the famous Enoshima Island Sea Candle.

It’s pretty awesome around, with great views. We went up to the viewing platform on the sea candle.

Then we discovered another walking path, so followed that and went down some steps and then we found the ocean and some rocks and stuff and it was really lovely.

Then we walked back across the bridge.

And caught the train to Kamakura. It was already getting late by now. We ended up spending the day in Enoshima because it was so lovely. By the time we got to Kamakura it was cold and dark.

We had a quick look around before getting back on the train to Ueno.

Curry Udon for dinner in Ueno Station.

A very big day for us. But Enoshima was really awesome. We hope to visit again.

Ohisashiburi Tokyo

We left Perth on Saturday afternoon around 530pm. Flight from Perth to Singapore was fine, but seems they put the rickety planes on this route. But, we made it to Singapore where we were gifted some fancy tea for having to have had to catch such a rickety plane. Which was nice. Then with only an hour before our connecting flight to Tokyo, it was a mad dash through the airport to our departure terminal. Singapore airport is very large. It was a good way to loosen up our muscles after being on a plane for 5 hours. Anyway, we made onto our flight – and this plane was the exact opposite of the last. Brand new and super fancy. Also we had the emergency exit row seats so bonus legroom! Yes! Very nice plane. Good flight. Managed to sleep for all of about 20 minutes before being served a delicious Japaneseque breakfast. It really was very tasty.

We knew we were headed in the right direction when we spotted Mt Fuji off in the distance out of the plane window. See it there? Amongst all the clouds.

Arrived at Narita airport and realised it was freaking freezing.

Had our traditional Onigiri snack.

After getting in to Tokyo and checking in to our accommodation for the next few nights – the wonderful Andon Ryokan where we have been staying since 2005 – we had a well needed sleep.

In the afternoon we walked down to Asakusa and had lunch at a very cute place called Misojyu. We had Onigiri and Tonjiru soup and the most delicious edamame tofu. It truly was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. Will be very hard to beat on this trip.

The Tonjiru had some of the largest pieces of daikon radish that we had ever seen.

Great place. We may just make a return visit.

Then we had a wander around Asakusa. Checked out Sensoji (it was being refurbished last time we were here) and breathed in some healing incense to cure us of our many health woes. It was really busy, but so calm at the same time. Also, freezing.

Then we headed back to Andon. It was only about 5:30pm but it felt like about 10pm. We got dinner from our favourite supermarket Olympic and ate it under a heated kotatsu. It’s good to be back.

Breakfast at the Hello Kitty Cafe

We decided not to have overpriced buffet breakfast at our hotel and instead go to the Hello Kitty Cafe we spotted at the airport the previous day. Yes, it was also overpriced, but at least it had cuteness, something the hotel buffet couldn’t offer.

We both had the so called “big breakfast”. Obviously whoever named this breakfast, had never been to Europe, as it was actually one of the smallest breakfasts we had ever seen. But again, cute. And it was actually pretty tasty.

Hello Kitty coffees and cookie.

Everything was very well themed, and did we mention, cute? Also, there were no other customers there, which is always a bit of a worry. But what can you do. When you spot a Hello Kitty Cafe, you need to visit it.

They also had cute cakes, but we’d already blown the budget on breakfast, so alas, we could not try one.

After breakfast we checked out the Japan Rail Cafe at the Tajong Pagor Centre. Blainie pretended to ride the Pokémon train.

Then, lunch at Din Tai Fung. Dumplings! Yes!

It rained a lot in the early afternoon. That’s Singapore for you.

Afternoon Vietnamese coffees.

And then it was time to get ourselves to the airport for our flight home.

Thanks for watching, see you for our next adventure!

There might not be mountains but at least we can eat icecream

Last breakfast in Germany.

Then a short drive to Munich airport to drop off our car. We will miss this car.

11-ish hours later, we landed in Singapore. After a few hours sleep we headed to our standard – Nam Nam noodle bar for Banh Mi and Vietnamese coffee. Life saving.

A quick wander along Orchard Road. There were cute Disney illuminations set up, but we didn’t get to see them lit up.

Baby shark re-enactment

And dinner in China Town.

After dinner we went to the Marina and looked at the buildings and ate icecream. So lovely and warm here.

The end is nigh

Time to leave Füssen. Not before a delicious breakfast though.

We were heading to our last destination today – Erding. Erding is just out of Munich, closer to the airport, thus more convenient. Plus, it looked like a cute little town. We headed off, and found ourselves over the border back in Austria for a while. Firstly we lake Lake Plansee, which looked stunning with beautiful crystal clear green water. You could see right to the bottom of the lake.

There was a cool looking single cloud above the mountains.

Then we drove through some golden Autumn foliage to Linderhof castle where we had a quick look around.

Nice little castle and grounds. We didn’t go inside though as we didn’t really have time. We headed off and after a quick stop at a dairy for a yogurt (we couldn’t really buy any cheese unfortunately but it looked so good)

We soon found ourselves on the German Autobahn. We didn’t drive over 130km (which is actually what the speed limit is) but man, so cars sped past us in the fast lane going at about 250+. Pretty crazy, but still everyone is really courteous and driving on Perth roads is actually worse. Also the trucks have to stay in the slow lane. We made it to a small town called Wolfratshausen and decided to stop for lunch. We found a cute little cafe where we had homemade Zucchini cream soup and a coffee. Delish!

A bit more Autobahn driving…

Before arriving in Erding. We had the afternoon and evening to explore the town. And get icecream.

Cute little town.

For dinner we went to a traditional Bavarian restaurant and had schnitzel and zweiblrostbraten. Very friendly owners here.