A Japanese Adventure
An online journal
We woke at around 8am and after having showers and vending machine coffee (best thing ever), we headed to the train station to top up our travel Suica cards, before heading to Shibuya for the day.
It was around 25 degrees and the sun was shining so brightly! Definitely a wonderful welcome for our first full day. We decided to start the day with a cold coffee at Starbucks and to go and people watch at the famous Shibuya Scramble (definitely the best place to watch the mass amounts of people bustling over the crossing!).
We then headed to the nearest 7/11 to purchase an onigiri snack and some of our favourite Pocari Sweat drink. Joe spotted an arcade over the road, where we had our first go of the UFO grabbers (I became addicted to these over the next few weeks). We played Mario Kart (I won), the Gundam pod games, and discovered the most awesome drum game, Taiko no Tatsujin. Seriously this game was SO much fun!
We stumbled across an amazing store called Mandarake, a place for secondhand manga, anime and collectables. We were in our element! We bought the Attack on Titan volume 1 manga and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (part 3) vol 1 and (part 4) vol 1 - all for 700 yen. Which at the time was around £5. If we bought these in the UK, we would have paid around £9 for each volume!!
After wondering around Shibuya, we headed off to Harajuku and Yoyogi Park. Luckily for us, there was a huge food festival on just as we go to the park. It was ridiculously busy, but we decided to queue for fried chicken, grilled prawns, and something we still dont know what it was - but it was so good!
After crossing the bridge to the park, we headed to Meiji Jingu to see the beautifully large shrine. It was a lot quieter than expected, mainly because of the traffic the food festival was getting. Near the shrine, we washed our hands and mouths with the ceremonial cups and water, as washing with the water cleanses yourself before praying.
There were hundreds of votive tablets, written with prayers from people all around the world. Some were full of happiness, sadness, encouragement, or just plain hilarious messages. This one in particular stood out for me...
We decided to head over to Harajuku and do a little bit of shopping, which didnt last long as everything was way overpriced and so busy! Again we grabbed some snacks from the nearest conbini, and watched the sun set over Tokyo. By this point we needed our arcade fix, so after pouring money into the drum game again, playing luigis mansion and the (surprisingly good) Walking Dead game, we were ready for a proper meal.
We knew that we wanted to hunt down Ichiran Ramen, as we heard nothing but good things about it. Naively, we found the one in Shibuya and headed to the doors, only to be greeted by the lovely worker, who pointed to crazy long line behind us. We queued for around an hour, but it was definitely worth it. Ive never had ramen like it, and the experience alone was awesome. You go to the front, punch your order in on their vending machine, collect your tickets, hand them to the server at the door, and you are lead to your cubicle style seats. You sit and wait for the roller mats in front of you to be pulled up and your drinks and dinner to be presented to you silently. Wonderful for all those introverts like myself!
After dinner, it was around 8pm, and we decided to grab a pick me up coffee at Gorilla Coffee and just had a nice sit. By this point we had racked up 28,000 steps on my Fitbit, and we were absolutely shattered!
We managed to stumble upon a MEGA Don Quiojite on the way to the train station (the best department store ever) and bought some whisky, beers and sweets for the hotel room. After getting distracted by yet another arcade, I won my first ever plushie - an angry yet adorable Shiba Inu!