04 March 2013

Tokyo Dec 2012 - Part I

Hubby and I escaped to Tokyo (yes again!) last December near Christmas season. Come to think of it, this was the first time we spent Christmas eve in Japan. Personally I have been to Osaka during Christmas season several years ago for a homestay programme, but not us together. Our usual period of visiting is end Nov to mid Dec or Mar to Apr.

Based on this trip, we concluded that it's not really advisable to visit Tokyo during Christmas period because the shops and restaurants were really crowded with long queues due to Christmas gifting and partying. Plus, it was really cold so we had to put on at least 3 layers of clothing like an inner wear, a sweater and a jacket. It's kind of inconvenient especially when there are nice and pretty clothes but I cannot buy because I dread the process of changing (peeling off 3 layers of clothing, try the new clothing, remove, then put on the 3 layers again x 2-3 times coz can only try maximum 3 pieces each time).

I digress. Anyways, we took the red-eye flight via SQ and touched down Narita Airport in the early morning. Next up, our usual routine of taking the Airport Limousine Bus to Shibuya Excel Hotel, deposited our luggage (too early to check-in) and proceeded to Tsukiji Jogai Shijo. It has been 10 years since we last visited the place!

The outer market was buzzing with activities even though it was raining, I guess coz it was the weekend and just before Christmas. I was once again overwhelmed by the array of foodstuff, ranging from seafood, dried goods, pickled products to vegetables and fruits.

Unfortunately the rain made it difficult to shop as the outer market was not sheltered and it was quite a hindrance trying to maneuver with an umbrella, a camera, and wallet (when trying to pay).

It was so cold that my fingers felt frozen at some point and I had to put on gloves. In the end, I gave up taking more photos.

We decided to seek refuge at one of the sushi restaurants, Sushizanmai and take an early lunch. But well, everyone thought the same too and we had to wait for about 30 mins to get a table. Luckily there was a large heater outside the shop and we sought warmth there while waiting.

There are several sushi restaurants at Tsukiji Jogai Shijo, in fact I read about the most famous ones but the queue was simply too daunting (more than an hour).

We sat at the bar counter where we could order sushi directly from the chef.

I guess this was the freshest sushi we could ever get. Hubby was a happy camper since he loves sushi to bits.

I have a thing for handrolls :p
Freshly rolled Ebi Temaki, crisp nori, warm fluffy Japanese rice, succulent prawn, crunchy cucmber, happy!
Ume Temaki. I love Ume, especially in handroll or onigiri.

After the hiatus at Sushizanmai, we were a little sleepy and tired.

Decided to spin by Kappabashi Dogugai briefly as I wanted to check out some baking stuff there.

And thereafter, finally checked into our hotel in the late afternoon.

We booked for a double room and were pleasantly surprised that the bed was much bigger than we expected.

Room size was quite decent. For 12000 yen a night at a prime and convenient location (heart of Shibuya, connected to mall and JR station), this was not bad at all!

I love this cross junction outside the JR station.
Such spontaneity and vibrancy, yet orderly in a different way. I love Shibuya!

After resting for a while, I headed out for shopping! No time to waste!

Met hubby for dinner at one of the street eatery. A hot bowl of ramen soup was simply perfect for the cold weather.

Hubby's choice - with extra char siu.

Mine, with extra veggies. Forgot to take the egg, you know those kind with lava egg yolk? Here it was cooked to perfection! The soup base was also very soothing. Wish I could find something like this in SG (or maybe I didn't find hard enough). But good ramen in SG is more pricey, like $12-15 a bowl? Here, about 600-800 yen ($8-10).

Not forgetting some gyoza to share!

After the late dinner we bought some drinks and snacks from a C-store and back to the hotel to re-charge for the intensive shopping the next day.

Stay tuned for Part II :)


  1. Enjoy part 1 and now can't wait for the 2nd part!

  2. I've stayed in the same hotel twice. Love the location and the size. Looking forward to your next Tokyo post!