We headed to the Kyoto train station first thing on Friday morning, completely excited to get back to Tokyo. Sam went out in search of breakfast and came back with a special package all wrapped up. Baumkuchen, I was told it was called. It’s a cake made of many, many tiny rolled layers. They are quite popular in Japan. It was delicious. We ended up eating the entire thing for breakfast!!
We checked into our final hotel, The Park Hotel Tokyu. It was located in Minato, in the Shiodome Sio-Site, which is made up of a collection of skyscrapers (mostly businesses, hotels, and restaurants). The hotel was like any other modern-ish hotel, but the views are what make it really stand out! You simply cannot beat the view of the Tokyo Tower! I could stare at it all day. It’s not as beautiful or as iconic as the Eiffel Tower, but it has nearly an equally mesmerizing effect.
(Had to include a nighttime view for added drama)
We hopped on the walk way and headed into Ginza. Ginza is full of interesting looking buildings and we just walked along snapping pictures and pointing out different architecture that we liked.
I had a little shopping and lunch in mind and luckily they were both in the same place! Off we headed to Dover Street Market. We had lunch at Rose Bakery (which I’ve mentioned here and here.) The store is very avant garde and the clothes are incredible. We headed up to the top to Rose Bakery and quickly found a seat. I ordered the veggie tart (because they were out of the turkey burger) and Sam had eggs benedict. Both were light and delicious and the perfect break from everything else we’d been chowing on for the previous week. After we finished lunch, we headed down to the Comme des Garcons PLAY section and stocked up on goodies. CdG was one of the few labels that didn’t come with a hefty markup–it was actually less expensive that it is in the US. (I didn’t snap any photos inside the store because I was scared of getting my hand slapped.)
We hit the streets only long enough to find a talking dog and Laduree.
We went in Laduree with the intention of buying macarons to take back to our room, but as soon as we saw the tea room overlooking Ginza Scramble, we knew we’d better just prop up for dessert. We ordered a sampling of the seasonal macarons and a vanilla milkshake, all of which were incredible. (I will say that Ginza’s macarons didn’t develop perfect “feet” but they were still delicious.)
We spent the rest of the day window shopping. We even made a stop by the Sony showroom. The electronic showrooms are quite fun, I will say. You get to play with all of next year’s cameras! We went to the Fujifilm one in Roppongi as well. I’m definitely leaning toward the Fujifilm x100 s.
After lounging around for a little while and getting ourselves all cleaned up, we headed to Ten-ichi for dinner. My parents dined at Ten-ichi when they were in Tokyo and sent back glowing reviews. After a few days in Japan, I realized I might not get any really, really great tempura otherwise, I knew we’d have to eat there. I got the concierge to make reservations for us–when you don’t speak the language, the concierge is KEY in snagging reservations. The restaurant was pretty small and each seat was taken (all filled with Japanese people, which we took as a good sign). Three chefs behind the counter were buzzing about, preparing their ingredients and frying tempura. We were completely pleased when the sweet waitresses tied aprons on us. Whenever there are aprons involved, you know it’s going to be a good meal.
Piece by piece, the chefs dropped little tempura fish and vegetables in front of us. Each piece was PERFECT! I’d never had perfect tempura before! I didn’t know what I was missing out on! Each bite was cooked perfectly–I had the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted before, and all the fish and shrimp were a close second. It’s funny how Japanese draft beer goes perfectly with everything. We finished off the meal with miso and rice and left quite merry.
We walked just down the street and around the corner to a strip of pubs we passed in the cab on the way. They were quite lively and we found the one with the most people in it and headed in. Bars in Japan aren’t like the ones in the US. It was a standing bar, meaning everyone must stand until after the last train home has run, despite there being seats at each persons spot. We were “seated” at a table with two Japanese businessmen who ended up being quite friendly. We spent the night drinking Highballs and exchanged pictures of our dogs and told funny stories of being in each others’ countries until they headed home. The next group of people who were “seated” next to us were a ground of ex-pats, two from California and one from Singapore. They made great company and we all agreed to meet up for Karaoke the next night. I didn’t realize until we made it back to the hotel that I’d forgotten to get any pictures from the inside of the pub–I guess that’s how you know you’ve have a good time.
Since this is all of Ginza in one post, We’re picking up a couple of days later!
After spending the morning roaming the gardens, we made our way to the fish market. We weren’t trying to catch all the action of the morning, but rather just pop into one of the fish stalls surrounding the market. As you can see, many others planned to do the same. The wait at some of the stalls was as much as three hours, so we quickly pulled together a new plan and off we went to an equally fresh, equally delicious sushi restaurant down the street.
Don’t you want a $22 mango??
My new obsession is hand rolls. I know hand rolls aren’t a new thing, I just never gave them much thought before. They are pretty like little bouquets. I promised Sam before we went that I wouldn’t be picky and would try anything he put in front of me, so I did! Every type of sushi he ordered, I took a bite of!
Fast forward to our last night in Tokyo. We knew we’d have to go for ramen, but wanted to make sure we chose wisely. Should we just go to Ippudo? No… we should definitely do a little more research. I remember Chrissy Teigen’s Six Days of Ramen adventure and looked it up again. Her favorite ended up being Kyushu-Jangara, which was only just around the corner from us! We were so excited and I’m happy to announce, I agree. Although Ippudo is DELICIOUS, Kyushu-Jangara is Even. Better. I feel like jumping up and down just thinking about it.
I might look like a creep here, but it’s only because I am REALLY excited about this ramen.
We walked back into Ginza to see the stores lit up at night (and to try to walk off a little of the ramen). The lights are incredible and everything was so clean and pretty. We stopped at a pub to order a few highballs and by the time we were done drinking and watching baseball, all the stores had closed. Everything was so quiet and the streets were empty. We strolled the streets alone, peeking into shop windows, and headed back to our hotel, hand in hand.