Travelogue: Japan Part 3

Day 5. We woke up with breakfast already taken care of, by buying bread from La Pain de Joel Robuchon the previous night #breakfastalsomustdifferent and coffee/milo brought from home. Sadly, the bread only looks good or maybe cos we didn’t buy the right ones.

Anyway, with food in our tums, we head out to Kawagoe today. Kawagoe, known as little Edo where its main streets are filled with clay-walled warehouse styled buildings which we thought it’s worth a trip there to see how the past is like

At the bus stop waiting for the Kawagoe Famous Location Loop Bus which will take us to the various locations

The one day pass which you buy from the driver (with the bus in the background) The only downside about this bus is it comes every 50 minutes. So we were wary of our time spent at each location in order not to miss the bus

First stop, Kitain Temple

SO PRETTY

Spotted a few kimono ladies taking pictures

And we took one with the trees too 🙂

The whole place was filled with cherry blossoms, definitely a good picnic spot with all the snack stalls nearby

 A close up of the flowers

Spotted a Taiyaki stall and I just have to buy one and try

So I told the uncle I wanted red bean paste. I mean look, they have an english menu so I thought they would understand? But.. they just stared at me blankly. So I ordered in Japanese in the end =.= What’s the point of having an English menu then?

It’s a good pancake overflowing with red bean paste. Like one bite, and the red bean paste all start oozing out. haha

So we left the place and visited 3 museums after that. So bored we could die. Firstly we couldn’t read and understand, and honestly, there was really nothing much to see. So really, just skip the museums. They are not worth going. Went to the Shingashi River next cos it’s supposedly THE place to have your photos taken with the cherry blossoms

 It is really the place to have your photos taken. haha 🙂 Think we were really lucky to witness the full bloom

Feels like a postcard. You need to see it in order to believe how unbelievably pretty they are.

Next was the main street area but we were so hungry we decided to hunt for a place to have lunch and with some luck, accidentally spotted in an alley was.. Oyakodon! I’m really quite thankful I can understand a little Japanese if not we would have just kept walking and walking

A small and cozy eatery

Tamago Yaki set meal

The tamago yaki was really good. So sweet and fragrant, it was better than the one we had at the izakaya. The rice w cuttlefish was simple yet enjoyable. The soup was filled with the flavours of the chicken bones and desserts was just delightful.

Oyakodon set

Best oyakodon ever. The egg was full and sweet. The chicken, the sauce and the rice just the perfect combination. I don’t think anywhere could have done a better job than the chefs in Japan could. I really missed this bowl of oyakodon 😦

Spent: ¥2,600 for 2

Ohana Grill

2-2 Nakachō, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan

And so with our tummies filled and happy, we wandered the streets.

At the bell tower which is supposedly a landmark icon. And we decided to hunt for the kimono rental shop, which we researched it was near the bell tower. And with some luck, we found it!

So with the bell tower on your left, keep walking till you see this (very normal) alley, then make a turn. You will eventually see this building with a mannequin wearing kimono outside

It’s a very fun experience as you get to choose your own kimono and obi, then witness how the kimono is being worn as they put it for you. They tied the sash so tight I almost couldn’t breathe. After which you choose your hair and bag accessories then they will style your hair for you 🙂

The end product 🙂 🙂

So we roamed the streets in our kimono for the rest of the time. It’s actually very normal cos we were not the only ones. But there was this group of tourists who happened to be there while we were strolling and they kept taking picture of us. We were amused, cos we knew yet we were pretending we don’t know

Kimono experience success! Yay!

Here’s the address for anyone who’s interested (I don’t know what’s their name in english though). Rental is about ¥2,000 for one pax

小江戸・川越着物レンタル 美々庵

14-5 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan

Thats about it for our Kawagoe day trip and we head back to Tokyo for dinner at Sushi Sho, which was just an amazing experience. We barely slept for 2 hours that night before waking up for our guided tour for Tsukiji market.

Our meeting place.. At 230am (omg) YAWNS. We were glad our hotel is just a 10 minute drive cos the fare was ¥1,440, which is about sgd $1.80 per minute. So we met our private guide who took us and other 2 tourists from Aussie to tour the whole market (literally), from the preparation of the auction to how the middlemen did their inspection and then to the outer market.

Bird’s eye view

Best catch of the day!

We learnt about the different tuna and the skills needed to maintain the freshness of the fish in order to fetch a good price. It was a really interesting experience

Wasabi

The mango costs ¥4,000 for one. I kid you not

At the uni auction area

The boxes of uni that all the middlemen inspected before auctioning begins

Our guide didn’t cover the famous tuna auction, but I feel that this tour was actually more insightful. You get to watch what goes on behind-the-scenes and learnt about the market in a different way. So being like a typical tourist, we went to try Sushi Daiwa cos the guide says Daiwa and Dai are about the same, and he recommended Daiwa. He told us he went to try one of the 3 michelin star sushi restaurants and felt that Daiwa is comparable to them. =O Are you kidding me?

The queue for Dai at 3.30am (ohmygoodness). We didn’t wait too long for Daiwa since the father and son both had a shop each, which makes the waiting time much faster. And moments later..

We were in! It’s a very very small shop with the space being enough to walk through. And so we went for the omakase set

Miso soup was rather bland in my opinion

And you exit through their backdoor

I don’t hate it, but I didn’t enjoy it much either. I don’t remember I had such difficult time swallowing sushi down my throat, unless it is real bad. Wasabi was too overpowering. Rice was hard and cold. The best thing about the meal was the sashimi was really really fresh and big, but there were some which I didn’t manage to chew it all down probably cos it was not the best cut.

Sad to say, our guide might have the best knowledge of the market, but definitely not the best taste in food. Though ¥3,500 is definitely a price you can’t find anywhere.

Sushi Daiwa

5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan

Took a stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen national garden to see some cherry blossoms. It would probably be a good place to have picnic and enjoy the scenery if not for the rain and wind. SIGHS so we didn’t stay long and left for Shimokitazawa. There were not much pictures of Shimokitazawa cos it kept raining so badly I was just too lazy. The only pictures I had was the meal at Spajiro #typicalfoodie lol But shimo is a really nice place, and I’ll recommend anyone to head there if you are in Tokyo. The north exit will lead you to all the shops, and the south brings you to all the restaurant.

Dinner at Spajiro thereafter. Spajiro is a Japanese pasta place and we went there based on my colleague’s recommendation. They had many outlets throughout but since we were in the area, we decided to give this outlet a visit.

The kitchen took forever to cook our food and when it finally came, they messed up our order. We were too hungry and explaining to them in English takes too much time and effort so we decided to just eat whatever that was infront of us.

It somewhat tasted like mentaiko but it was too oily for me to tell.

It’s only good cos I was hungry. We paid ¥1,830 for 2

Spajiro

14-13 Kitazawa 2-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Popped by Shibuya cos we wanted to try Nishimura for their fresh fruits desserts.

The famous Shibuya crossing

Strawberry parfait

Huge strawberries that were so sweet. But other than that, it feels like a very normal dessert that you can make at home. Well, it’s supposed to be a chef’s creation or sty along those line. Yet it was ordinary and forgettable. Maybe we should have just given Takano fruit parlour a try instead. Cost: ¥2,000

Shibuya Nishimura Fruit Parlour

2F, 22-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2