Sunday 3 June, 2018
Day 4 / Tokyo
[Missed Day 3? Read the previous post here]
We have another day of wandering planned and start by wandering through Shibuya towards the same French bakery Boul’ange from yesterday.
With so much awesome looking stuff on display we end up spending 21,000 yen (about AUD $25) on a tray full of delicious baked goods.
Cheye discovers a new drink too; it’s Orangina’s cousin Honey Lemongina.
I get the same olive gruyere bread from yesterday as well as a croissant. Oh my goodness, it’s one of the best croissants I’ve ever had.
We then make our way towards Harajuku. One of the great things about Tokyo is there’s always something to see along the way which is why we tend to walk instead of catching the metro.
On the way we get distracted by a Virtual Reality (VR) roller coaster ride set up on the side of the road.
It’s a temporary pop-up promoting the new Samsung Galaxy 9 where you collect stamps on a card to earn your way to prizes and a roller coaster ride.
We’re in no hurry so we hop into the queue. A girl hands us a card and tells us we need to collect at least five stamps.
We head inside and check out some of the stations which include a slow motion booth…
A fitness stand where we race each other on rowing machines (Cheye beats me by one second)…
…and VR snowboarding which makes Cheye nauseous.
We eventually get to five stamps but when we go to collect our roller coaster ride ticket the girl at the counter tells us it’ll be at least a 30 minute wait. We decide we don’t want to wait so we claim our free soda instead and continue on to Harajuku.
We start chatting again about how the Japanese are so accustomed to lining up for everything but how we have no patience for it – and as we are discussing this we come across a HUGE line up of people waiting for something.
There are even three security guys dressed in uniforms, holding signs to control the crowd. I follow the queue to see where it leads to and discover it’s Gong Cha, a chain of bubble tea that we get back in Australia!
Down the road is Line Friends, which is well known for the giant plush bear on display in their stores.
As we carry on walking I pull out my list of food places we want to check out in Harajuku and discover they all have long line ups.
Finally we find J Box Long Potato Fries…no line!
We get the garlic fries for 500 yen and they are awesome.
Oh my gosh, they’re so good. I’m baffled as to how and why these kids are willing to wait two hours in line then spend $20 on a shaved ice dessert. We then walk back to Shibuya along Yoyogi Park.
Back at our AirBnB we pack our stuff and catch the train to Yutenji Station to meet Rory and drop our stuff off at his place while we cycle over the next few days. We grab a few beers from 7-11 and walk to Afuri Fine Ramen in Naka-meguro.
It’s one of those places where you order from a vending machine so we get our tickets and hand them to the wait staff.
They usually ask if you want pork or chicken but we ask for it without.
They have an interesting open kitchen set up and the patrons sit around the perimeter as they prepare your order.
I order the Yuzu Tsuyu Tsukemen (cold noodles with dipping sauce) and they’re the best noodles I’ve ever had. The dipping sauce is delicious, the noodles are so good and the coriander gives it a nice crunchy texture.
Afterwards we wander to Ebisu so the boys can carry on their evening with some karaoke.
They go to Big Echo and jam with tambourines and Beatles songs while on their Nomi Hodai package (all you can drink for two hours for 2000 yen / AUD $24) but I wander home instead to crash out.
Cheye ends up missing the last train for the evening and ends up having to walk home. Turns out trains in Tokyo stop running at around 12.30am so we make sure to remember that for next time.
Japan Travel Tip #4
Expect to line up everywhere! Lining up should be a national sport in Japan. Japanese people are the most patient people in the world and will line up of the most bizarre things – places like coffee shops, shaved ice, bubble tea and Chicago popcorn. There were quite a few places we couldn’t get into because we weren’t willing to wait two or three hours in a queue when we could be spending our time doing more exciting things.