Days in Tokyo – Some more local food before bidding goodbye to Japan

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Lunch is at Yoshinoya in Ikebukuro nearby our hotel. The Gyudon is so much better than the ones I ate in Singapore! The beef is given in ample quantity, thick slices, lots of sauce and sweet onions!

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This is the set that I ordered. Pour the raw egg into the filter to separate the egg yolk and the egg white, then pour the egg yolk onto the gyudon, add in the green onions, stir and the don is ready for eating. It’s really very very very good! The salad is fresh, and there is sesame sauce for you to add in. Yum yum~~~

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Look at the plastic bag, it is last minute shopping loots from Uniqlo. Japan is really too nice to shop! Haha. Retrieve our luggages from the concierge and pack in our last minute loots before we take the airport limousine bus from the hotel to airport.

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After checking-in at the airport, we have dinner at this restaurant (it is outside of departure hall) and the food is really great with reasonable price range!

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I have fried prawn don and the prawn is crispy and juicy, coupled with the egg and Japanese pearl-like rice, it’s really delicious.

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Mum has Cold Soba with Tempura. Super nice too.

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Dad has grilled beef with rice and omg, the grilled beef is heavenly good. Look at the colour, it is cooked to a perfect state, not overcooked, but not too raw.

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We order 2 plates of sushi and the sashimi are really fresh! Slurps~~~

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Narita Airport is great to shop for snacks. So do delicate more time by arriving at the airport earlier for food and shopping like us!

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Arriving at Changi Airport with loads of luggages containing our loots at 3am. I finally finish the travelog for my Tokyo trip in March 2013. Next travelog will be on my recent trip ( actually I just arrived in Singapore on Saturday evening) to Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo, Kawaguchiko and Hakone. πŸ™‚

Days in Tokyo – Shinjuku Gyoen for Sakura :)

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On the last day, we decide to go Shinjuku Gyoen to try our luck on Sakura. Because I am feeling a little lazy to transfer to Shinjuku Gyoen Mae Station, we alight at Shinjuku Station and walk over. What a wrong decision because we lost our way, walked for nearly 45 minutes and ended up at the other gate entrance at the other end instead of at the Shinjuku gate entrance. Oh well~~~

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I love how the garden is so peaceful and scenic that I really enjoy strolling through it.

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Such a huge Sakura tree with full blossoms! I am so exhilarated that I was jogging over to it! Haha. We snap lots of photos with it over here. It is one of the most pretty Sakura tree that I have seen thus far! πŸ˜€

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With some petals of Sakura lying just below the Sakura tree, it really makes a pretty sight! One of the Ojisan who was taking photos of the Sakura tree, volunteered to help us (all together) take a photo of the Sakura tree. The umpteen times that I really appreciate the helpfulness of Japanese. πŸ™‚

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There’s this small little shop selling snacks and ice cream, and we bought this Red Bean Vanilla Waffle Ice Cream which is expectedly good! Oh well, ice cream in Japan never taste bad, at least not that I have tasted one before. Heh. Sitting on the bench under a mini Sakura tree, enjoying ice cream, life cannot be better.

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On the other side of the garden, Yulan Magnolia is also in it’s full bloom! Whitish big flowers against the clear blue sky is also a photo spot that cannot be missed! So beautiful. πŸ˜€

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Sakura Tree or Yulan Magnolia, which is prettier? I like both!

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The garden is really big but because we are flying back today, and needs to be back to hotel after lunch, we only manage to stroll half of it. Maybe next time, I will delicate more time to this garden and finish the other half of it. πŸ™‚

Days in Tokyo – Some great food at Tokyo Tower

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Lunch was at the base of Tokyo Tower. There are a few restaurants and all their plastic food displays look duper attractive. Since we are craving for Unagi, we decide to settle down at this Unagi Restaurant for lunch. One set of this is about 1500 yen. Quite reasonably priced. πŸ˜€

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Kira kira Unagi and I love it. The sauce is sweet and the Unagi is fresh! There’s no fishy taste and no bones. I know Unagi should have no bones but you know, sometimes they taste fishy and bony when it’s not done up properly. Heh. πŸ˜›

And there’s free flow of crispy crumbs (something like the crumbs from frying tempura?!) at the side of the table for us to add into our rice and soba soup. Yummy!

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After lunch, we have dessert at one of the waffles store and it’s really damn good! This is waffle with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and corn flakes. The waffle is oh so fluffy and taste so buttery good!

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Initially, we bought one chocolate sauce waffle to share. After finishing the first one, we cannot resist but to buy a second one. Lol.

This is waffle with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and almonds. I usually do not like caramel-flavored stuff cos they are most of the time, very sweet. For this waffle, the caramel fragrance is strong and nice but not very sweet! I love it!

If I ever come back to Tokyo Tower, I will sure eat this again. πŸ™‚

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On the way walking back toΒ Akabanebashi Station, we pop in to the supermarket and we bought a lot of snacks, coffee / hot chocolate packets etc! It’s difficult to resist Japanese supermarkets! Too much varieties to choose from! ^^

Days in Tokyo – The scenery of Zojoji Temple with Tokyo Tower

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From the main entrance of Tokyo Tower, just turn right, cross a road and turn left to access Zojoji Temple. But we did a wrong turn to the right after crossing the road (because we followed the man in front!) and ended up walking 1 big round!

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7573_10151350004296027_1666476883_nOnce we enter the temple grounds, we are welcome by sakura trees which are so pretty! There is one that has dropping sakura blossom! Even though the sky is gloomy, the sakura in contrast with the sky is still an attractive sight to me. πŸ™‚

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As Zojoji Temple stands next to Tokyo Tower, I love how the photo captures the temple together with Tokyo Tower! Zojoji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism in the Kanto Region.

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The temple was built in the year 1393 and moved to its present location in 1598 by Tokugawa Leyasu who selected it as his family temple. A mausoleum of the Tokugawa family can be found on the temple grounds. Most of Zojoji’s buildings are recent reconstructions except for the main entrance gate, the Sangedatsumon, which has survived the many past fires, earthquakes and wars and dates from 1622.

PicMonkey Collage1More cherry blossoms!! πŸ˜€

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The small temple next to the main temple within the temple grounds. Not sure what is the name of this temple though. Hur. πŸ˜›

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Coming out from the side entrance, strolling along this road back to Tokyo Tower for lunch. And I realize it’s such a pretty to take a photo of the road, the trees, the gloomy weather together with the misty Tokyo Tower in the background. Indeed, Tokyo Tower is still best viewed from far! πŸ˜€

Days in Tokyo – Ascend Through Tokyo Tower

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I initially plan to visit Shinjuku Garden this morning but since it is drizzing, I reckon it will be troublesome to stroll in an open garden. So I change the plan to visit Tokyo Tower instead.

In fact, Tokyo Tower is not plan in the itinerary, however, in order to compensate for the disappointment at Tokyo Skytree the day before, I have to include Tokyo Tower. And I never regretted it. πŸ˜€

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It is a chilly morning due to the rain and we are lucky that the rain has stopped when we exit the station. Oh we take the JR Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro to Daimon Station, transfer to the Oedo Subway Line to alight at Akabanebashi Station.

Upon exit from station, we immediately spot Tokyo Tower! So just walk in the direction of it for about 10 minutes, climb up a mini hill and we are standing below Tokyo Tower! On the way, you will also pass by a supermarket. ^^

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Just check with the lady at the information counter and she will direct you to where is the ticket counter and etc. I am enjoying taking photos with the Tokyo Tower models. Oh, the flowery pants is from Uniqlo which I bought at Ginza and I am sure I would not dare to wear it in Singapore because people will think it is pyjamas. Hur. πŸ˜›

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The view from Tokyo Tower! No Mount Fuji la. Haha. Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was completed in 1958 as a symbol for Japan’s rebirth as a major economic power, and serves as a television and radio broadcast antenna and tourist attraction.

We only choose to ascend to the main observatory at 150 meters because my dad is afraid of height. Lol! BTW, the Tokyo Skytree is almost twice as tall of Tokyo Tower. And to think my dad wants to go Tokyo Skytree when he cannot even conquer Tokyo Tower is …….. πŸ˜›

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A mini shrine in Tokyo Tower main observatory deck.

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We shop around the basement and bought some souvenirs. There’re lots of Tokyo Tower keychains, handphone chains, decorative models which are really cute. At the entrance, there is a Tokyo Tower board for us to take photo and it’s fun! Haha.

Days in Tokyo – Breakfast at McDonalds :)

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Since we already tried breakfast at Mos Burger and Doutor Cafe, we decide to have McDonald breakfast set this morning. It is located just across a road intersection from our hotel in Ikebukuro. There is the choice of Lemon Tea or Milk Tea which is different from what we have in Singapore when there is only English Tea.

BUT, unless you have the milk tea (though I did not try), otherwise please don’t choose the lemon tea because lemon tea means English Tea with a small cup of lemon syrup for you to add into. And I have to say the lemon syrup really does not go well with the English Tea and it taste weird. πŸ˜›

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Β I have the sausage muffin with egg and it’s really nicer than what I ate in Singapore. First, the bread is so soft and fluffy. Second, the egg is so thick, not overcooked and the yolk is still a little runny. Third, the cheese compliments the juicy sausage well!

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Β For healthier choice, my mum has the ham muffin with egg. It’s equally good though. The McDonald is also segregated into smoking and non-smoking area. But I can still smell smoke in the non-smoking area. Just tolerate, eat and escape. Hur.

Also, I notice that it is common for the Japanese to sleep in McDonald early in the morning. Not too sure why but…. ya. πŸ˜€

Days in Tokyo – Tokyo Skytree and Food!

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From Otemachi Subway Station (Imperial Palace East Gardens), we take theΒ Hanzomon Subway Line to Oshiage Subway Station which is just a short walk through underpass to Tokyo Skytree. When we arrive at the Tokyo Skytree ticket counters to purchase our tickets, we are welcomed by a ‘No Entry’ sign.

I am shocked and immediately look for the notice which is on the wall. Though the notice is in Japanese, I could still decipher what it meant with my limited Japanese and conclude that the wind is so strong that the Skytree cannot be open for safety reasons.

We are disappointed. Hu! Later on, I read from news that it was the first time that the Skytree was closed due to strong winds since its opening. Am I considered lucky?! So the only Skytree that I can see is from outdoor and I manage to at least take a picture of the grand Skytree.Β Then, I understand why the skytree needs to be close cos I witness it swaying lightly left and right, with the wind. >.<

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Oh well, at least there’s a large shopping complex located at its base and there are shops selling Tokyo Bananas, Tokyo Chocolate Bananas, Vanilla or Almond Waffle Biscuits and other Japanese snacks which we did bought. Ah, Tokyo Bananas are not nice! I don’t like the fake banana taste, reminds me of Banana Flavor Bubble Gum. It is indeed overrated! πŸ˜€

Though the shopping complex is large, we are kinda lost at what to have for lunch. In the end, we found a food court which has the famous Ippudo Ramen Express Stall and Gindaco Takoyaki Stall.Β The ramen is indeed yummy with springy noodles, thick but non salty Tonkatsu soup base, onsen egg and of cos great Char Siew!

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Famous Gindaco Takoyaki! Love it much! I wonder if the ones at Osaka will taste even better. Cannot wait to try it in my coming trip! πŸ˜›

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As I shop around, I am trilled to find Qu’il Fait Bon because I am too lazy to find the outlet at Ginza! There are no vacant seats in the shop and there is already a queue outside, so I decide to just take away. How can I not try this famous and highly rated fruit tart in Japan?!

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The fruit tarts are really really not cheap! It ranges from $7 – $18 or even higher. So I chose the one that is more affordable – Strawberry Fruit Tart. This piece cost around $10 but it was enough to send me flying into the sky because it is JUST TOO YUMMY!

Look at the cream lying below? It is so fragrant, refreshing and smooth! The tart or rather the crust has this super nice buttery vanilla taste which goes very well with the cream! Of cos, the strawberries are fresh and naturally sweet with a little taste of sour. Coupled with the cream and the crust, it’s just too good!

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This is a almond crust cream puff. I really love the service in Japan! Initially, the girl packages the puff with only a plastic and I ask if I can have a carrier. She is all smiley and immediately packs it nicely into a pretty box with a handle! I am like ‘I just buy 1 puff only but she gives me a box’. Haha! You will never experience such high level of service in Singapore. NEVER. πŸ˜›

In Japan, I feel like I am a princess whenever I spend money, the service is just too good. ^^

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A close up of the puff which is really yummy too! The cream is really up to the Japanese standard! The main highlight of this puff is the almond flakes on the surface of the puff which makes it a little crispy. ^^

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We are tempted by the picture displays outside of a Japanese Dessert Shop and we decide to try it. I don’t like the green tea ice cream, not that I like it in the first place, but I thought maybe the green tea ice cream in Japan is different. And so it’s no difference, I still don’t like it. Haha.

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The vanilla ice cream is much nicer, with the fruits and red bean, it’s quite nice. But nothing too special though. After shopping around at Skytree, we move on to Ginza for more shopping. Yes, Ginza again! πŸ˜›

Days in Tokyo – Flowers and Sakura in Imperial Palace East Gardens

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In the Imperial Palace East Gardens, besides all the moats, walls, entrance gates and guardhouses, there are also many beautiful flowers around and it’s really a pretty sight. πŸ˜€

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I thought photo really did not do this pink-white-ish flower tree justice because it really looks more grand and pretty in real. It’s just like a Christmas Tree but instead of stars, bells and jingles, flowers are decorating the tree.

Japanese are really nice. helpful and friendly as an Ojisan offered to take a photo for us with the ‘Flower Christmas Tree’ after seeing us taking turns to take photo with it. πŸ™‚

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I love pinkish flowers on the tree. πŸ˜›

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Cherry blossoms are blooming here too! And it’s nicer than those blooming at Ueno Park.

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Lovely Sakura, aren’t they? πŸ˜€

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I like how the Cherry Blossom frames me up like a photo frame. Hehe.

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Unrelated to flowers or sakura, but I just somehow love these bamboo trees. I would recommend a visit to Imperial Palace East Gardens if you are in Tokyo during Spring and is a flower lover.

It was a windy day when we were here. I could even feel the wind pushing me to move forward and shaking my hands when I am taking photos. There’s a moment when the wind blows up the sand from the ground and created a mini sand storm, and tourists like us all went running for ‘life’.

The strong wind causes regrettable moment for the next place on my itinerary. Till the next post then. πŸ˜€

Days in Tokyo – Roaming the Tokyo Imperial Palace (Imperial Palace East Gardens)

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The jacket that I am wearing is also freshly bought from Uniqlo the day before, it’s only $20ish because it is a sale item. Hehe. To get to Imperial Palace, we took the Marunouchi Subway Line from Ikebukuro Station to Otemachi Station. Once exit from the station, turn to the left and it’s just a 3-5 minutes walk to Imperial Palace.

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The current Imperial Palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo. It is the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family.

Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country’s capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888, construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards.

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The inner grounds of the palace are generally not open to the public except on January 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor’s Birthday). So all the pictures above are actually taken in the Imperial Palace East Gardens. πŸ˜€

The Imperial East Gardens are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense, the honmaru (‘main circle’) and ninomaru (‘secondary circle’). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.

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This is the remaining foundation of the former castle tower, where the castle’s innermost buildings once stood. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan’s history. But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fire and has not been rebuilt ever since.

Days in Tokyo – Breakfast at Doutor Cafe AGAIN. ^^

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It’s the 4th day and this morning, we decide to have breakfast at Doutor Cafe again. The stripy dress that I wore is from Gu which i bought yesterday at Ginza. Still fresh from the oven, I suppose. πŸ˜€

I order the Prawn Sandwich and the Chicken Sandwich. Both are really good! The chicken sandwich has bits of mango and egg in it. How matching. ^^

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A close up of the Prawn Sandwich. I really love how the baguette is so crispy on the outer layer and soft inside. Ahhh~~~~ πŸ™‚