with use of SK’s photos :)
Day 10 - With the shinkansen to Tokyo at 7:15, we needed to get to the Hiroshima station before that since shinkansens leave on the dot and are very ontime. The problem was we needed to catch a streetcar from our hotel, and that took at least 20-25min coz of its massive slowness. We then woke up at 5:45am to try and leave the hotel by 6:15am and catch the next streetcar. We all were done by 6:07, and saw that from the streetcar timetable there was one at 6:14. We tried to catch, but to no avail. We just missed it. Ah well. We had to wait in the cold for 13min for the next one lol.
After getting to Hiroshima station, it was in preparation of a 5 hour shinkansen ride to Tokyo, but we need to make a stop at Shin-Osaka station and switch trains there.
5 hour train ride - everyone else but me managed to fall asleep for a considerable amount of time. Sadface.
On the train from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo, we had seats 18ABC and 19AB, but we sat 18AC and 19ABC. When they were all asleep, and at one of the stops, there was an old man staring at MZ because he was sitting on 19C and (we figured afterwards) that he was staring (and probably frowning upon MZ for sitting on his seat. Problem was, they were asleep and the old man probably wanted to remain polite - so he didn’t bother them and just frowned upon them.
By 12:15 we finally got to Shinagawa (in Tokyo) station. We took the Tokyo loop line to Ikebukuro - which surprisingly took 30min. Soooo long!
Once we got to the hotel and checked in, we went our separate ways. MZ and SK went on to Yokohama to visit the Ramen Museum there, JG went to Harajuku during the afternoon (apparently a hole) and Shibuya, AL took a nap at the hotel and headed to Harajuku (by mistake) and Shibuya, and I headed to the Kanda area for snowgear.
It was some free time for 3-4 hours before we all met up at Shibuya near the dog statue which AL commented “you can’t miss it” but I did - found some other statues instead lols. I thought the dog statue was as big as say the statue of liberty but it was sooooo tiny lols.
After finding the dog statue and everyone, we went in the hunt for dinner. What’s for dinner? Whale meat. According to the research that has been done, the whale restaurant is near Shibuya 109 and across a Baskin & Robbins.
how do u want your whale meat?
We found the restaurant, and headed inside where the politely asked us to remove our shoes. Once seated, they provided an English menu. We ordered a variety of whale parts for tasting purposes - I ordered sliced raw whale belly meat, slide raw whale tongue and grilled whale with curry powder. MZ and SK ordered boiled whale caudal fin, whale skin, barbeque of whale meat and raw whale heart. AL ordered whale steak and whale tongue stew. JG ordered fried whale meat and leek and raw whale heart.
raw whale belly meat
fried whale meat
whale meat ready to be bbq-ed
caudal whale fin
Man, the belly was odd - it was like eating pork but raw and full of oil/fat. The tongue was odd tasting as well, but the raw option was better than the stewed option AL chose - the stewed has a super oily aftertaste! The heart was ok tasting, but the boiled fin MZ and SK got was weird as. It was like tripe but it wasn’t.
After eating like 1/100 of a whale, we decided to pay (with all our excess coins - this was too funny as the bill was like ¥12000 and like 9/10 was paid in coins, which was mostly ¥10. Even the shop-owner laughed with us (or at us) when we showed him all the coins we were paying him with, and counted the coins in front of us while cackleing). Wow.
the coins we paid whale with
AL said he missed out on his free time because he napped at the hotel, so he ventured on the rest of the night by himself. He told us later that he went to Shinjuku.
Since the rest of us weren’t satisfied food wise by the whale experience, we decided to go for more food. JG earlier in the day was in the area of Shibuya, and said she found a standing sushi bar. We decided to head for more food and we found food. Or more than food.
our standing sushi bar
the entrance of it. AL - we’ll come back to this next time we’re in Tokyo.
Ill say in advanced. The place we found was divine and I recommend it highly for fresh sushi. Probably just a tick behind the “best sushi in Tokyo”, but this as a much much cheaper option definitely is up there. I reckon that this place should be put up on the Lonely Planet guide of Tokyo if it hasn’t already. MZ SK JG and I agree after the Tokyo fish market experience and this standing sushi place, we will have such high expectations for fresh sushi that we would never be satisfied by sushi in Sydney and we will be forever disappointed with Sydney sushi. We suspect that we’ll need to come back to Japan for sushi this good. So this place is basically a standing sushi bar that stands around 10-12 patrons with 2-3 sushi chefs who makes your sushi to order right after you order it.
awesome sushi chefs
There is also free green tea (this was cool. Imagine the hot/cold water tap dispensers you get at uni and you have one to your own, and green tea powder on the table. You can make your own strong/weak flavoured green tea!)
free green tea powder!
We ordered a wonderful range of sushi - from fatty tuna (comment from JG - it was so good, it just melts in your mouth) to aburi salmon to whelk (yeah not sure what it was, JG thought it tasted like vegetable and I tend to agree) to yellowtail (my new favourite sushi) to mackarel. It was just awesome. And the prices were reasonable, starting from ¥75 per piece, and the most expensive was the “Ootoro” which was the fattest tuna belly which was ¥300.
lol SK and JG ate this. very manly, i see.
what we ordered yum sushi yum!
JG and I split the bill, which totaled to be ¥3000. Not bad for one of the “up there” experience for sushi in Japan.
After sushi, we all ventured around Shibuya for a bit of window shopping and shopping.
We also attempted to take a photo in the middle of the Shibuya station intersection which is the intersection Tokyo is famous for (the shots you see in films and movies of the really big intersection that tonnes of people cross the road). Basically a super inflated version of the George St-QVB intersection. I cant believe I didn’t take any photos of Shibuya!
After all that and shops closing at 10pm we called it a night and headed back to Ikebukuro where our hotel was.