Actually I thought of ditching this post altogether but there were a few highlights I would like to share being first time experiences. Even though I've been to Tokyo so many times and always doing the same old same old, I was pretty pleased about this particular trip.
Somehow I always find myself using Narita Airport due to the flight timings chosen. But I've heard a lot about the Haneda Airport's shopping areas like the Tokyo Pop Town and Edo Market, so I really wanted to take at a look. (There was once when I transit via Haneda but the flight was near midnight and the shops were closed.)
Surprisingly the areas were quite quiet, probably coz it was a weekday?
The Cool Zone - mostly fashion and accessories.
Frankly, not very impressed with both the Tokyo Pop Town or Edo Market. Having been to New Chitose Airport last year, this paled in comparison. I guess the advantage of Haneda Airport over Narita is its proximity to Tokyo city area (60 min vs 90 min by airport limousine bus) and the ticket price (1230 yen vs 3100 yen).
Haneda Airport - http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/
Airport Limousine Bus - http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/
Century Southern Tower
Our lodging for this trip was Century Southern Tower at Shinjuku. Our usual hotel of choice is Shibuya Excel Tokyu but it was fully booked; anyways I've always wanted to try this one :)
Love the spaciousness, unlike the usual tight space of hotels in Japan.
The super king-size bed was so comfortable and I love the additional lounge chair for me to laze about.
Century Southern Tower Hotel - http://en.southerntower.co.jp/
New York Grill, Park Hyatt Hotel
It was hubby's birthday on our day of arrival and I had planned a special dinner treat for him at the New York Grill, Park Hyatt Hotel. Made reservation prior to the trip via email and I must say I was quite impressed with the level of service by the staff. Initially wanted to dine at Sky Restaurant 634 at Tokyo Skytree but it's quite restrictive with specific seat-in time and no guarantee of table with view.
New York Grill was able to guarantee a table with view and also willing to prepare a dish that was not on the menu (hubby was craving for clam chowder), and also write birthday message for dessert.
New York Grill Appetiser Plate for Two. Absolutely delish!
Totally loved the ambiance of the restaurant and there was also a live band (at the bar area).
New York Grill, Park Hyatt Hotel - http://www.tokyo.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/
Random food highlights
I love this bakery-cafe which is located near the hotel and opposite the Shinjuku JR station entrance. Lovely bread and pastry with delectable selection of salads. Great choice for breakfast, brunch or light dinner. I think we dined here a few times.
Random tonkatsu shop at Nishi-Shinjuku. My set included pork, fish and prawn cutlet, rice, tonjiru soup and hojicha. Hubby's set was pork cutlet with big bowl of tonjiru. Yummy and value-for-money (about 600 yen for his set and 800 for mine). Loved the tonjiru soup especially because usually eateries serve just miso soup.
They have several branches around Tokyo and we went to the shop at Shinbashi. The original hole-in-the-wall shop has shifted to a slightly bigger space across the street.
Unatoto - http://www.unatoto.com/
Accent style (craftholic)
Fans of craftholic will scream over this shop at Jiyuugaoka.
Galore of craftholic plush and accessories. Definitely much bigger collection than what's available here in SG.
accent style - http://www.act-style.co.jp/english
Aoyama Flower Market Tea House (Minami Aoyama)
I almost didn't make it here! It was on my must-visit place but silly me forgot to search for a more precise map and I only screen-captured a simplified map taken from their website. Only knew that the nearest station is Omotesando and didn't know which exit to take exactly (if you have been to Toyko, you'll know that exit locations are extremely important else it's so easy to get lost). I just went with my gut feel and ended up walking about 1-2km and lost in the middle of Aoyama :( with heavy bags of shopping and extremely cold. Luckily I found a Francfranc store, went in to ask for directions and the staff kindly helped me.
The tea house is actually very close to Omotesando station (correct exit is A4-5), but such an obscure location! Not exactly B1 level but hidden inside a building within half flight of stairs -_-. It's so easy to miss it coz it's not exactly visible from street level (I acually missed it!) Why couldn't the website just state the exit number? Blah.
Enough of the rant. The moment I found it, all my frustrations melted after seeing the lovely floral displays.
Ordered a Refresh Blend Herbal tea and a rose tea jelly parfait.
Was deciding whether to order this or a French Toast which I totally regretted not ordering thinking that it might be too heavy. Boohoooooo, saw a lady ordered the French Toast and it looked soooo good with colourful edible flowers!!
Yes, the rose tea jelly parfait was yummy as well, especially the rose tea jelly which had this fragrant sweet flora aroma. But. Never mind, I shall return for my upcoming trip!!
Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse - http://www.afm-teahouse.com/