27 October 2008

Tokyo 7-10 May 08, Day 1 - Kichijoji, Shimokitazawa

Followed hubby on a work trip for this one :p Although a short trip, it was the first time I got 3 solid days exploring the streets of Tokyo by myself. Totally enjoyed the experience as I could set my own pace and go wherever I fancy! In fact, prior to the trip, I sort of planned a 'Zakka Hunt' to explore zakka shops at Kichijoji, Shimokitazawa and my favourite Jiyugaoka.

Took a midnight flight from Singapore to Tokyo and by the time we reached Narita Airport, it was early morning. Didn't like overnight flights as usually I would be busy catching uo old movies and ended up pretty concussed.

This time round, we stayed at The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo located at Shinagawa; mainly because hubby had meetings at both Tokyo and Yokohama and Shinagawa is a main station with connecting trains to both meeting places.

The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo
The Deluxe Room at The Strings is big by Japan standards with really comfy beddings.
Amenities expected of business hotels are provided, including free internet access.
Relatively spacious bathroom.
All bath amenities are provided.
Splendid view from the room, overlooking Shinagawa Station.
The hotel staff were extremely hospitable and gracious. Although we arrived much earlier than the usual check in time of 3pm, the front desk staff let us check in seeing that we were exhausted from the journey.
After a quick shower, we decided to go to Shibuya for early lunch. Usually there are many restaurants located at top levels of department stores with wide selection of cuisine.

Usually restaurants offer reasonably-priced lunch set during lunch hours to cater to the salarymen and OLs (office ladies).

The Soba Lunch Set was quite good. The texture of the soba was slightly springy; side dishes were not too heavy, just nice for lunch. Hubby ordered a different set lunch. Looked good as well.
After lunch, hubby proceeded to Yokohama for meeting and we arranged to meet in Yokohama for dinner.

And here I started my 'Zakka Hunt'. Time was limited, could only plan x number of shops per locale as I need to factor in time for travelling and shopping; as well as time to locate specific shops as I had never been to most of the shops on my list and had to reply on maps downloaded given in the shops' websites or based on my Mook guide (sometimes, maps aren't exactly drawn to scale or precise). Here I just highlight some key finds of this trip.

Kichijoji 吉祥寺

L.B.C (Life Basic Communication)
TEL 0422-20-2582
営業時間 10:00~21:00
※金土~21:30 年中無休
Chanced upon this zakka shop that sells assorted zakka goods, from clothes to accessories to shoes, household items, stationary, plants to bath to linens.

Karel Capek 吉祥寺ライヴス本店
TEL 0422-23-0488
営業時間 無休 11:00~20:00
アクセス方法 JR中央線、京王井の頭線吉祥寺中央口より徒歩8分http://www.karelcapek.co.jp/index.html
Had some trouble finding this shop, only to realise I took a longer route and wrong detour; it was actually quite easy to locate from the Kichijoji station -_- Anyway, came here solely for tea products and accessories with cutesy illustrations on the packaging.
Shimokitazawa 下北沢
Jam Cover
Kitazawa Golf-mansion 1F
1-40-15 Kitazawa Setagaya-ku
Tokyo. 155-0031
Everyday Open 1300 - 2100

This zakka shop is highly recommended by my favourite Taiwanese zakka writer and artist, 米力Milly (http://blog.yam.com/mymilly/). Most items on display are handmade by avid zakka artists. Tiny shop but packed with zakka goods like bags, cards, accessories, ornaments etc etc. The shop is located a little off the beaten track but luckily, I managed to find it. Naturally, I was 'distracted' by many other interesting shops along the way.
After Shimokitazawa, I proceeded to Yokohama as it was getting late; couldn't keep hubby waiting for too long and I didn't have 3G phone then to contact him.

Hubby brought me to this Kaiten Sushi shop that he frequented in his previous work trip (without me), he was totally raving about the value-for-money fresh sashimi and sushi.
The sushi was indeed very fresh and price really reasonable for such quality. In addition, the shop had service staff who could speak Mandarin making it easier for order taking.

After dinner, we strolled around for a while, played some games at UFO catcher shops and headed back to Shinagawa for a good night's rest.


  1. Did you go to the Seiyu building in Kichijoji? there are a few zakka stores too and the prices are cheaper as compared to the shops in jiyugaoka.

  2. Oh yes, is it at level 5 or 6? Yep, dropped by and browsed for a while but didn't stay long as was running short on time.