The Japan Journal - Day 8

T O K Y O Districts covered: Harajuku, Ueno, Asakusa, Shinjuku 19/12/15 It is hard to believe that it had been over a week since...


Districts covered: Harajuku, Ueno, Asakusa, Shinjuku


It is hard to believe that it had been over a week since we left arrived in Tokyo. Today marks our last full day in this hectic, bustling, congested, yet charming city. We had covered majority of the places we wanted to visit in Tokyo, leaving some of the iconic landmarks out so that we could unravel its beauty when the whole family was together. My oldest brother arrived last night, so we had a full day planned ahead to make the most out of the our last day in Tokyo. We started of the day with a hearty breakfast buffet at the hotel's restaurant, located somewhere up in the clouds. We were greeted with spectacular views of the skyscrapers that towered the city, and a view of Mt Fuji in the distance. 

My tummy was filled to the brim, but it was content and satisfied so I had no shame in rolling myself out of the restaurant. We took advantage of the perfect weather and headed out to Harajuku because I felt some last minute shopping was necessary. 

These were about nine cats in a trolley like stroller that were being pushed around by a man, but these little fur balls had no intention to socialise. They weren't too happy when we disturbed their deep slumber. Our time at Harajuku was limited as the men of the Tan clan weren't too keen on this dominantly female shopping street. However, I did manage to stumble upon a pretty incredible Nike store that took pride in their aesthetics, especially in their trippy stairs. There was a whole floor dedicated to Nike ID - where you could customise your shoe.

This would've marked the last day of shopping in Tokyo, but I was ready to move on to the natural aesthetics of the great outdoors. We've been saving the iconic Meiji Shrine till the whole family was together. I felt that our expectations were situated quite high as we had the mentality of "saving the best for last". I wouldn't say I was disappointed, but the scenes were quite ordinary. 

Meiji Shrine shares the same grounds as Yoyogi Park, interconnected by trees towering over the skies boasting their autumn-like hues. What excited us the most (mainly my dad) was a traditional Japanese wedding that we were lucky enough to witness in the park. Everything was conducted in a slow paced manner, and the newly weds looked as though they were royalty. 

As we were leaving the shrine, we stumbled upon the cutest little samurai. I just needed to take a photo with cheeky fella. 


Once we had our fair share of strolling and absorbing some vitamin D, we walked back to Harajuku station to take the subway to Ueno. The main reason in going back to Ueno was to let my oldest brother have an opportunity to roam around Ameyoko Shopping Street a.k.a my favourite shopping destination in Tokyo. This shopping street is home to numerous restaurants, and of course, ones that specialised in ramen. There are generally two distinct types of ramen broth - one is a white based broth, and the other has a red broth. Tonkotsu ramen is the white based soup, which is a boiled pork bone borth resulting in a milky colour.  

The reddish coloured broth is the spicy miso ramen, and has a more distinct taste as its broth is a fermented bean paste.  

I didn't feel like having a heavy meal and wasn't in the mood for ramen, so I ordered a small rice dish that had BBQ pork and egg. 

We didn't plan to get dessert but were intrigued by the way these little treats were made. They go through an assembly line and are 'manufactured' for us to see behind a glass panel. There was honestly nothing special about these little guys, but they were freshly made and therefore warm and toasty which reminded me of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. 

Our next stop would take us back to Asakusa, the quaint town we went in day 3. But this visit would be more special of course, since the whole family is together now. We visited the Sensoji temple, Tokyo's oldest and probably most brightly coloured temple. 

Tan clan back at it again

To be honest, I was drawn more towards the temple grounds as opposed to its interior. There were numerous decorative pieces embellished on the temple's exterior, and a charming and traditional garden with a large pond home to a colourful array of koi fish. 

And before we knew it, the sun started retreating, the wind chill factor steadily increased, and the lamp-lit streets was a gentle reminder that it was time for dinner. 

Dad refused to tell us the location of where dinner was because apparently, it was a surprise. He loves to leave us in suspense when he knows we would be impressed with the outcome. We ended up in the heart of Shinjuku at Park Hyatt hotel. Entering the sky bar with shopping bags in one hand and my DSLR in the other, I immediately felt out of place as everything about the interior screamed A grade. 

We were escorted to the 52nd floor where the restaurant, New York Grill, is located. New York Grill is home to Tokyo's most spectacular venue for quality food, live music and entertainment, and of course, breathtaking views of the city's skyline in which the floor to ceiling windows ensure you do not miss out. We had a set dinner menu and ordered some a la carte dishes. However, I only managed to take photos of two dishes as the dimly lit environment meant that I had to annoy nearby diners with the blinding flash from my camera. 

So here, appreciate these two dishes as I compromised my dignity for your viewing pleasure. 

[check out yesterday's itinerary:

You Might Also Like