May 24, 2015

Tokyo Day 2 - Shinjuku, Yoyogi, Harajuku



After a good rest on our first night, we're ready for day 2; our first full day in Tokyo. 

I did a lot of reading the night before and decided to follow in the footsteps of my favourite travel & food blogger B-Kyu, known as Street Food at the time. These guys are A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

It so happened we had booked the same hotel in Tokyo, so following their itinerary was easy and a whole lot of fun.

Breakfast no.1 is this irresistible Japanese cheese cake from 7-11. Japanese cheesecake is considerably different to Western cheesecake. It has a chiffony-sponge cake texture and tastes like cheesecake! Confused?! Don't be, hunt it down and take it bite. Guaranteed to be love at first bite. ¥88 which works out to be about 57p. Value breakfast!


Stepping out from our hotel and onto the streets of Shinjuku. We have bright blue skies on our first day!

From our hotel, we turn right and it's a 5-10 minute walk into the neighbouring Yoyogi. Inside tip from B-Kyu's Shawn and Alison that it's a leisurely stroll to Meiji Shrine from our hotel. 

The streets of Yoyogi. There's a few restaurants, supermarkets and offices around this area and it's fairly peaceful. It's time to hunt down breakfast no.2. 

There is going to be so much food on this trip and we know there's not enough stomach space to fit it all in. We formulate a strategy at this point, me and G are going to share our meals and aim for the smallest portion. This way, we will get to try more food, and will be able to fit in 3 meals plus lots of snacking along the way. Sounds good right?


We find this rice and beef bowl fast food eatery and we're in. Friendly vending machines gives us our ticket after we pay up and we make our way to the seats that surround the counter. It's great watching the guys prep our food. We get a small beef rice bowl each which comes with miso soup. 

Rice with soup would be far too heavy for breakfast everyday back home, but we have a lot of walking to do today and it's a breakfast combo we come to love by the end of our 2 week honeymoon.

After breakfast, it's another 10 minute walk and we're at the park entrance of Meiji Shrine. If you don't fancy walking through Yoyogi or not staying that way, the nearest JR station is Harajuku.



Meiji Shrine (明治神宮) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken.

Wooden plaques bearing written wishes and dreams from visitors to the shrine. 


The grounds of the main shrine is spacious and peaceful. We see lots of worshipping and offerings taking place.


Before praying and worshipping, it's a must to wash your mouth and hands.


We took a stroll into Emperor Meiji's fishing lake. 


A well with sacred and spiritual powers. We saw lots of people step in and wash their hands. 


So many barrels of pretty sake!

After the Meiji shrine, we walk 10 minutes up the road and we're in Harajuku. 


The sun is blazing and it's thirsty work with all this walking. We stop by a Family Mart convenience store to pick up drinks and cool down with the air con. Family Mart is my favourite shop by the end of our travels!


Love the drinks vending machines. We stopped by to get drinks at least twice a day.

You guessed it, Family Mart snack time. We sit on the side and take another mini rest.


Quirky and pretty shops are all around Harajuku. 


In the main stretch of Harajuku, we spot a Calbee shop! Calbee is much like the Japanese version of Walkers is to the UK. We are so going in!

Excited? Yes, and we took that all the way back to London! We also pick up some limited edition Calbee crisps. Fresh crisps and snacks are made at the back of the store but we are saving our stomachs for lunch.


But a sweet taro ice cream won't hurt! Ice cream and creperies are everywhere in Harajuku.


The iconic street of Harajuku. We arrived from the back of the street and made it out at the front!


We found this shop highly amusing and of course we went in for a browse! Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty condoms anyone?


More B-Kyu itinerary following and we find ourselves at Afuri ramen for lunch. We love the vending machines at these joints. Yes the English is limited at times, but since they usually come with pictures it's not to guess. It's all part of the fun in ordering food.


Soup base choosing was in English, hooray!


G goes for a cold ramen with pork and spicy dipping sauce. The weather is hot and he likes the idea of noodles. 


The dip for the ramen is delicious and clings onto the ramen so each bite is full of flavour.


I pick a hot soup ramen with pork. The distinctive use of yuzu gives the soup a zingy lift, but I'm not sure about the the bitterness of the yuzu. Yuzu taste much like a cross between a lemon and grapefruit; citrusy, tangy, and slightly bitter. G loved it and thought it was very refreshing. The ramen is pretty good, and all the fixin's are delicious.

It's definitely a lighter version of ramen as opposed to the thick, milky and creamy tonkotsu broths we soon learn about on this trip. 


There are 2 branches of Afuri, one in Ebisu and one in Harajuka. Here's the address for the Harajuku branch:

AFURI Harajuku 
3-63-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

After lunch, we're walking off the ramen with a stroll through Yoyogi park and then back to our hotel for a little rest. 

Yoyogi park is one of the largest in Tokyo, and on a given Sunday, you may come across youngsters in cos-play, actors practising and huge parties. Alas, the day we walked through was not a Sunday.


Back at the level crossing in Yoyogi, 5 mins from our hotel. We are going to take a little break in our room and freshen up before we head out to Shibuyu for dinner. 

I spend a good few minutes playing with all the functions on our bidet toilet. Yes, it's the first time I've come across with them and in case you can't tell, I'm fascinated.....

2 comments

  1. Japan is so beautiful and their vending machines are amazing. Brought back a lot of memories from our trip in 2009 and I really want to go back again.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, totally agree with that! I really want to go back again too, especially now when you get so much money for your yen's! It was £1=¥153 when we went and now it's £1=¥185!!!!!

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