Tokyo is only a 2 hour flight away from Seoul so we thought it would be the perfect little getaway trip for us. I used to live in Tokyo when I was younger and went to school there but I hadn’t been back in over 15 years so I was super excited. Unfortunately, Tokyo is very expensive and seeing as we are both not earning anything at the moment, we had to restrict ourselves to a 3 night stay.
We flew Jeju air, a Korean budget airline, which was very good and way more affordable than JAL or Korean Air. We stayed at a tiny AirBnb flat but it was fine for a short stay because we were barely in it; more importantly it was right in the thick of it in Shinjuku so the location was great. But it was tiny; it made our apartment in Seoul feel like a palace!
Best Ramen in Tokyo and the Golden Gai
Arriving at Narita we took the bus to Shinjuku (an eye watering 3,200 yen each, welcome to Japan!) and went straight to Ichiran Ramen near Shinjuku Station East exit. I LOVE ramen so this was the first thing I wanted to eat on arrival in Tokyo and wow, we were not disappointed! From the coin slot ordering machine, to the individual booths, to the little bow the waiter gave as he served us our noodles; we had well and truly arrived in Japan! Although it can be quite confusing ordering there are instructions in English on the machine, it’s very cheap and its the best ramen I have ever had – better than the one I had in Momofuku in New York. We then headed to Shibuya to pick up our Studio Ghibli tickets for the next day and then had a drink at the Golden Gai in Shinjuku – this alleyway is lined with quirky little bars that are no bigger than a room. We then retired to our tiny apartment for an early night.
Spirited Away in the Studio Ghibli Museum
The following day we were up early and headed to Mitaka to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum. Steve and I are huge fans of Studio Ghibli (eh hem… GEEKS eh hem) so this was well and truly the highlight of our trip. Tickets usually sell out way in advance but we were lucky to get some with Go Voyagin. For those that don’t know, Studio Ghibli is like the Disney of Asia but their films are simply amazing. Some of them can be weird, some don’t have happy endings, but watching them you can’t help but appreciate the artistic detail that goes in to them. Spirited Away remains one of our all time favourite films and if you haven’t watched it, you are missing out!
The Studio Ghibli Museum did not disappoint. We saw a feature film that has never been released, saw a real size Totoro and rode the cat bus. At one point Steve turned to me and asked what I thought of it all and I just exclaimed like a little girl ‘IT’S SO MAGICAL!’
Afterwards, we headed to Asakusa to visit the famous Sensoji-temple which was beautiful but crowded. We got some of my favourite senbei (seasoned rice crackers) and got our fortune told. I got the best fortune; Steve got the mediocre one haha!
We then went to Akihabara which is an area known for its electronics, manga shops and game arcades. Instead, we decided to go to a rabbit cafe.
One of the things that people said we had to do whilst in Tokyo was the Robot Restaurant. We had no idea what to expect and I still can’t really describe what we saw. So I’ll just let you have a look at the photos instead. #onlyinjapan
Sushi in Tsukiji Fish Market
The following day we went for a sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market which was A.MA.ZING. We went to a restaurant called Zenmai Sushi which had a little queue out front but we were seated promptly right at the counter in front of the sushi chefs. We ordered two platters of sushi and sashimi plus a side of tempura which was so tasty. Steve was in his absolute element!
The afternoon was spent roaming around Omotesando and looking around the shops. I had my hair done (dyed for the first time – eek!) at the famous Salon Number 76 Naru. We had a gyoza lunch in Shinjuku and then had a nice time walking around Meiji shrine at dusk.
In the evening we met up with my parents’ old friends from Tokyo who used to teach at the school I went to. It was so great catching up with them and they were so kind and bought us dinner (and a few bottles of wine, oh how we’ve missed wine!!). We also took the opportunity to visit my old neighbourhood and my old house which transpires, is now a kindergarten!
The last day was spent doing some last minute shopping before we took the bus back to Narita and flew back to Seoul. All in all it was a great little getaway and we can’t wait to get back to Tokyo in the future; such an awesome city!