Tokyo? Again??? This must be something you wanna say when you read this post.
Yes it is “again”, but not “again” as this time I explored areas with JR Tokyo Wide Area Pass; covered a few new places that has been in my bucket list, and I made it to one of the whisky breweries I always wanted to go and I am truly impressed with what I have seen and learnt in that facility! Amazing!
Here is a summary post on my previous trip in Japan.
Japan Trip Autumn 2019: 9D8N in Tokyo and explore Tokyo Wide Area
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5|
|In||KL / Tokyo||Tokyo / Karuizawa||Tokyo/ Echigo-Yuzawa||Tokyo/ Kobuchizawa||Tokyo|
|Flying with ANA to Narita||Konbini||Konbini||Konbini||Hotel Breakfast
|Shinkansen ride: Ueno > Karuizawa|
By Hokuriku Shinkansen
Usui Pass Observatory Platform
Kumano Kotai Shrine
Kyu Karuizawa’s Ginza Dori
|Shinkansen ride: Ueno > Echigo Yuzawa |
By Joetsu Shinkansen
|Ueno> Shinjuku > Kobuchizawa|
Suntory Tennensui Minami Alps Hakushu Plant
Suntory Hakushu Whiskey Distillery
|Lunch||Kawakami An||Ponshukan||Tajiyama Shabu Shabu/ Sukiyaki|
|Kyu Karuizawa’s Ginza Dori|
Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza
Shinkansen ride: Karuizawa > Ueno
|Shinkansen ride: Echigo Yuzawa > Ueno|
|Kobuchizawa > ShinjukuShrine|
Jozenji dori Avenue
Meiji Jingu Gaien
Toshi Yoroizuka Mid Town
|Dinner||Ramen Kagari||Izakaya||Mendokoro Hanada Ueno-Branch |
麺処 花田 上野店
|Stay||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF|
|Day 6||Day 7||Day 8||Day 9|
|In||Tokyo/ Kamakura||Tokyo / Gotemba||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Hotel Breakfast||Hotel Breakfast||Hotel Breakfast||Hotel Breakfast|
|Shinjuku > Shonandai||Shinjuku > Gotemba Premium Outlet|
Musashiro Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine
PB Farm Store
|Lunch||Ibuki Farm Restaurant||18 ½ Steakhouse||6th Oriental Hotel||Honke Abeya|
|Shonandai > Kamakura|
Kamakura Sausage House
Kamakura > Fujisawa > Shinjuku
|Gotemba Premium Outlet||Godzilla Square |
Ginza Tokyu Plaza
|Dinner||Sushi Oedo Shinjuku Nishi Shinjuku||LDH Kitchen Izakaya||UOKAME||Hakkoku|
|Welcia Drug Store|
|Stay||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||ICI Hotel Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF||Flying with ANA from Haneda|
1. Slurp down bowl of comforting ramen in Ginza Kagari Honten
First thing we did when reached Tokyo! Placed our luggage in the locker and headed off to Ramen Kagari as our first destination.
Read my review here: Ginza Kagari Honten銀座 篝 本店
Ginza Kagari Honten is famous for its “tori paitan” 鶏白湯, a whitish creamy and thick broth that is made out of simmering the chicken bones and carcasses for long hours, appears in thick and whitish creamy colour.
First sip on the broth and it WOWed us, seriously wowed us. It was very thick and creamy, delicious and flavourful, packed with umami-ness. Super comforting bowl for the first meal. This ramen house is also one that you will have to “pay” some time to queue for it. Rest assure, it really worth the time for it.
It is about 3 to 5 minutes’ walk from Ginza Station.
Ginza Kagari Honten
6-4-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Lunch: 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Dinner: 5.30pm – 10pm
2. Ride on Shinkansen with the JR Pass
Always love taking train ride. I will share how I use this JR Tokyo Wide Area Pass in details for the few places I covered. Note that this pass is only available for sales in Japan (not from HIS, KLOOK or JTB).
And this was my first time travelling with Sze!
3. Off to Karuizawa to check out the mountainous view from Usui Pass Observatory Platform
This is a small observatory which offers the beautiful mountainous view of Gunma prefecture on one side and Mount Asama on the other side. We were here a little past the peak of autumn, so there weren’t scenic autumn view left.
4. Pray in Kumano Kotai Shrine
A very special shrine as it sits on the border of Gunma and Nagano Prefectures.
5. Shop till you drop in Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza
An outlet shopping mall that offers a wide variety of local and international brands; this place is super huge where you can actually spare a day over here for just shopping. If you fancy shopping 🙂
6. Head over to Ponshukan in Echigo Yuzawa for SAKE!
Sake lovers gotta mark this place down as it is going to be your heaven! There are SAKE VENDING MACHINEs over where you can try out types of sake from all over japan! I literally went crazy over here LOL. Just spare ¥500 to buy the tokens and you can try out the sake you wish to try accordingly. If you are not sure where to start, follow the ranking board or the recommended list for the no fail experience.
7. Chasing after momiji at Fudotaki
Peak autumn was already over and the Dragon Gondola nearby had closed after autumn, we headed off to Fudotaki, a waterfall nearby recommended by the very friendly staff at the tourist center. The staff even plot the time needed and distance for us, told us to walk slowly and enjoy the scenic view of the waterfall.
8. More drinking in Suntory Hakushu Whiskey Distillery
BUCKET LIST TICKED! This is the main reason I bought the JR Tokyo Wide Area Pass – to the whisky distillery which is located about 2 hours train ride away from Tokyo. I pre-booked the tour and paid ¥1,000 for the Hakushu Distillery Tour where I got to visit the production area, enjoy the sound, temperature and the scent of the distillery, and finally I got to taste The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky and the component whiskies which are not for sales.
Suntory Hakushu Whiskey Distillery
2913-1 Torihara, Hakushu-cho, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture
Operating hours: 9.30am to 4.30pm
9. Slurp up the Michelin Star Tantanmen
Nakiryu鳴龍 is Tokyo’s second ramen restaurant being awarded with a Michelin Star (after Tsuta), also one of the cheapest Michelin Star restaurants. I have to say the queue for a bowl of ramen was really crazy but it is something worth queuing. We joined the line and queued for about 90 minutes.
Imagine the queue, we were actually queueing from across the road.
It was so comfortable to have a bowl of piping hot tantanmen for our starving tummies on the freezing night. It was a very flavourful bowl of ramen with perfectly firm noodles topped with minced pork that melted right on the palate; very aromatic, punched with hint of numbness and spiciness, which was not overpowering. If you are here for dinner, I highly recommend you guys to give a try on their Grilled Pork with Onion Sauce. I honestly have never had something like this before. Too WOW!
Nakiryu is about 5 minutes’ away from south exit of Otsuka Station on JR Yamanote loop line.
2-34-4, Minamiotsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
10. Eat sukiyaki!
This is my favourite sukiyaki/ shabu-shabu restaurant. WHY? That’s because they offer a great deal at lunch alongside with semi buffet, refillable unlimitedly at a limited time! Check out Shabu Shabu Tajimaya しゃぶしゃぶ 但馬屋 if you are craving for shabu-shabu / sukiyaki. Go for lunch!
About 5 minutes’ walk from Shibuya Station, located above Franc Franc.
Shabu Shabu Tajimaya しゃぶしゃぶ 但馬屋
2-9 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan
11. Savour delicious Japanese cuisine in Oreno Kappou
Many thanks to my friend who brought us here! I get to savour delicious Japanese cuisine of Oreno Kappou, which is one of the very famous restaurants which is always fully book weeks ahead!
Ore-no Kappou GINZA
1F, 8-8-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 6280 6948
12. Catch the golden gingko leaves in Meiji Jingu Gaien and check out the ichomatsuri
This is the place where you can check out the gingko leaves. It was on the way turning golden at time of my visit.
We were lucky that we bumped into the Meiji Jingu Gaien Ichomatsuri.
13. Savour the best from Salon de Dessert Toshi Yoroizuka
Toshi Yoroizuka is one of the top pastry chefs in Japan and famous for his delicate dessert. In usual sushiya we get to observe how the sushi masters prepare the sushi, but here in Salon de Dessert Toshi Yoroizuka, you get to watch the pastry chefs prepare the dessert right in front of you! I love both our order Ukishima and La Gorgonzola Pistache; the La Gorgonzola Pistache seriously WOWED me! We almost wanted to order the third one but afraid that we couldn’t finish as dinner was waiting, will blog about the experience in detail soon!
Take the Exit 8 and 4a at Roppongi Station on Hibiya / Oedo Line
Salon de Dessert Toshi Yoroizuka
Tokyo Midtown East Plaza, 9-7-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
14. Enjoy the all-you-can-eat in Ibuki Farm Restaurant
Thanks to Jean for thanking us here! I got to enjoy the dishes made of freshest locally sourced produces; at a buffet style concept, refillable unlimitedly! Ibuki Farm Restaurant is a very popular in Fujisawa, reservation is highly recommended!
Ibuki Farm Restaurant
3889-1 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-0816, Japan
Opens daily from 11am to 3pm
15. Explore Kamakura with the “Local”
Jean took us to tour around Kamakura’s Komachi Street and Hachimangu Shrine, and tasted some must have in Kamakura such as Teaven and Kamakura Sausage House!
16. More shopping in Gotemba Premium Outlet
And opsss, I did it again.
Gosh, western delight in Japan is equally good. We had our lunch in 18 ½ Steakhouse as a break on shopping.
17. More cheers in LDH Kitchen Izakaya
Thanks to Jessie for taking us to her idol’s izakaya which has a great collection of Japanese sake! This is a very special izakaya standing by the Meguro River; their billing system is based on the original cards as bill. The price of the dishes in the menu will be based on the quantity of the card too! Here I got to try out the Aramasa that was very gentle with a crisp finish. Wish I could have more!
About 5 minute’s walk from Naka Meguro Station on Hibiya/ Toyoko lines
LDH Kitchen Izakaya
2F, 1-23-4 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
18. Birthday meal for Jessie in 6th by Oriental Hotel!
If you have tried out The Tokyo Restaurant’s burnt cheese cake, and yep, this is its original restaurant whereby its interior is very interesting and rustic looking! Definitely worth checking out (especially the washroom)! We truly enjoyed our meal in this restaurant which is not only famous for its cheese cake but also the pancake and many other dishes such as pasta and grilled pork. Lunch hour is quite crowded; do make reservation before heading over.
Nearest Station: Yurakucho Station
6th by Oriental Hotel
1-12-1, Yurakucho, Chiyoda, Tokyo
19. Make a visit to the majestic Starbucks Reserve Tokyo Roastery
Starbucks Reserve Tokyo Roastery
2-19-23 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042
Opens from 7am to 11pm
20. Climb up to the hottest spot in Tokyo – Shibuya Sky
Shibuya Sky is the newest and hottest rooftop observatory deck that has just opened up its door in November 2019; offering a full 360 degree spectacular view of Shibuya district. It is located high up in 229 metre tall Shibuya Scramble Square and I was in time to be one of the first few batches to check out this coolest place in the city!
For full detail and experience, READ: Shibuya Sky @ Shibuya Scramble Square
Directly access from Shibuya Station, B6 subway exit
Shibuya Scramble Square 14F
2-24-12 Shibuya, Tokyo
Opens from 9am to 11pm
Admission fee: ¥2,000 (Adults), ¥1,600 (Students), ¥1,000 (Elementary Students), ¥600 (Children aged three to five), Free (Under two)
21. The finale meal in Hakkoku
Thanks to Jessie again for taking me along to her idol’s sushiya, and we managed it right before our flight back to KL! This was definitely another most WOW meal during the trip; to be served by the very famous chef – Hiroyuki Sato san in omakase style, serving 30 pieces of sushi made of top notch ingredients and the catch of the season. It was an unforgettable dinner, being stuffed with excellent nigiri over 2 hours. Will talk about it in detail 🙂