Sunday, November 02, 2008

And we're back...

...Tokyo was fantastic. We had 6.5 days in Tokyo and the approach from the start was to be flexible about our itinerary. From past experience, I know we aren't great travellers with stamina to tour from morning till night non-stop, so flexibility was of utmost importance. We had lots of ice-cream stops, and returned to the hotel room right after dinner, relaxing in the room, and sleeping in till past 8am (in Brian's case till 9am), often setting off only at about 10am. So a package tour with a 6am wake-up call wasn't for us.

Two days were set aside for Disneyland/Disneysea, and even then, I was checking the weather to decide when to go. Also, the last 1.5 days were reserved for a seaside resort 1 hour away from Tokyo, where I had booked a night's stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). The other 3 days were pretty much free and easy. Decided against doing a day-trip to Nikko when the weather forecast showed a slightly downcast day, plus I realised pick-up was 7.55 am, which meant these sleepyheads would have to wake up at 7am latest, not an easy feat.

Have loads of pictures to upload, bear with me. Our final itinerary, if anyone's interested.

Sunday (26 Oct 08):
Arrive morning.
Too early for check-in, so took free shuttle to Shinjuku - Boys and Ed had McD for breakfast. Sean ate mostly McD throughout cos he said Japanese food was "yucky" :(
Check-in Hilton Shinjuku.
Take train to Harajuku.
Lunch Kyushu Jangara ramen - Couldn't find Sushi Kaiten (will talk about our misadventure another time), so had Kakuniku ramen and gyoza in this restaurant. Pretty good.
Watch Harajuku kids engage in Cosplay.
Visit Meiji Shrine.
Back to hotel to rest.
Bento for dinner. Eddie has dinner with colleague.

Monday (27 Oct 08):
Take train to Disneyland.
Breakfast at Disneyland - Fries and hotdogs.
Lunch at Disneyland - Hungry Bear Restaurant in Westernland cos Eddie wanted to eat Japanese curry rice.
Dinner - a Tonkatsu restaurant in Odakyu shopping centre Shinjuku station. More for Sean's sake since he hardly ate any lunch; he ate up his Oyakodon (egg and chicken on rice) heartily so it was worth it lah. I had ramen, Eddie and Brian had tonkatsu.
Back to hotel to rest.

Tuesday (28 Oct 08):
Breakfast in Shinjuku station - Sean had sausage roll, Eddie & Brian stand-up ramen, me rice-rolls.
Take train to Disneysea.
Lunch at Disneysea - Sebastian's Calypso Kitchen, very good.
Dinner in Shinjuku's Piss Alley (yes, I'll explain the name in a blogpost) - Everyone had a good meal of yakitori, sashimi, fried rice, gyoza, tori kara-age etc.

Wednesday (29 Oct 08):
Take train to Harajuku to have lunch in Sushi-Kaiten and jalan-jalan (today's Eddie's day for shopping).
McD for Sean first, then Sushi-Kaiten for the rest of us, good stuff.
Window-shopped at Omotesando.
Take train back to Shinjuku.
Eddie window-shops in Mitsukoshi, Isetan, Takashimaya Times Square etc.
Boys and I browse at stationery & toy departments. Chanced upon a food fair in Takashimaya, very interesting food-tasting.
Decided to cross over to Shinjuku West to look for dinner. Walked around for more than an hour and we couldn't decide on what to eat!! So geram. Ended up eating near the hotel at a restaurant chain called Royal Host, which everyone (except for me) enjoyed lots.
Back to hotel to rest.

Thursday (30 Oct 08):
Take train to Akabanebashi Station to see Tokyo Tower.
Breakfast in Tokyo Tower - McD for Sean and Brian, ramen for Eddie and me.
Take train to Asakusa - early lunch in Irokawa (excellent grilled eel)
Walk to Kaminorimon Gate, browse in Nakimase shopping street and reach Sensoji Temple.
2nd round lunch - tempura restaurant along Kaninorimon Dori. Gigantic shrimps and lots of patrons, but we didn't really find this all that great.
Take train to Ginza Sony Building.
Take train to Shinjuku. Boys and I head back to hotel to rest while Eddie window-shops in Shinjuku.
Dinner - Shabu-shabu in 6th floor of Nowa Building near Shinjuku station, Brian and Eddie enjoyed this tremendously. I liked it but enjoyed the sashimi appetiser more.
Take train to Shibuya to soak in the atmosphere.
Back to hotel to rest.

Friday (31 Oct 08):
Checked out of Hilton Shinjuku, leave luggage in hotel.
Breakfast in Shinjuku station - Sean garlic bread, Eddie & Brian standu-up ramen, me rice rolls.
Take Odakyu line to Katase-Enoshima (change at Fujisawa).
Cross bridge to holy island of Enoshima.
Check-in Iwamotoro ryokan.
Take bus to Kamakura.
Lunch - a Kamakura restaurant. Should have eaten in Enoshima, which had very quaint and authentic restaurants at cheaper prices. Kamakura seemed more touristy and commercialised. Sean ate up his Oyakodon though. I had cold soba, Eddie had tendon, Brian some teriyaki chicken and rice.
Sightsee Kamakura shopping street.
Take bus to Hase to see Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Kamakura.
Take Enoden railway back to Enoshima.
Dinner - Traditional Japanese dinner served in room.
Hot bath - Roman bath or Cave bath.

Saturday (1 Nov 08):
Traditional Japanese breakfast.
Explore Enoshima island.
Take train to Hilton Shinjuku.
Lunch - Tsunamachi tempura restaurant, basement of Hilton Shinjuku, excellent.
Lunch for boys - Royal Host. Sean insisted on the same kid's meal, and voiced his happiness with "I love you daddy" "I love you mummy"; he does this when he gets to eat what he likes.
Take airport limousine to Narita Airport.
Bye bye Tokyo!


monlim said...

Sounds like you have a great time though probably can tell better when you have all the photos! You didn't stay for night parades at Disney?

Also sounds like you tried lotsa different types of food despite resistance from Sean!

Lilian said...

Our main aim was to eat, so we tried to make sure he had something to eat first, then we go hunting for our food. He's really terrible lah. But my friend Li Ping reminded me this morning that Brian was the same when he was younger, and now he eats almost everything. Whacks sashimi and sushi with lots of wasabi, just like mummy!

No, we didn't stay for the night parades nor did we watch any shows. Based on our experience in Paris & Hongkong Disneylands, we realise that for the boys, it's all about the rides, they don't really remember much about what they watched.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Welcome back Lilian!
Your vacation must have been an agony for some... the last I checked there were 83 comments on your previous post! People are itching to drop a comment here ;)

I have a suspicion that my kids would love Jap food...

Strangely, Bryan always asks to go back to Iroha for lunch now and then. And yesterday, he gobbled down some maki's off my plate while waiting for his tempura to arrive. Gosh, if I had told him he had some raw fish...

And give my kids chawanmushi or a bento box, they'll be so happy! I think the elaborate table set up of many little bowls and cups makes it fun for Kristin. She'll eat a small bowl at a time!

Lilian said...

You're making me so jealous lah. And you still say your kids are picky about food. Cannot fight Sean, the fella really teruk, came to a point where he didn't even whine about food being yucky. He just said, "It's okay mummy, I can do without breakfast/lunch/dinner" when we went around looking for his food.

And you are one to talk about agony, I've been checking in on your blog every time I'm on line, even from Tokyo oi! Still green eggs and ham! C'monnnnnnnnnnnn Woman! :)

Lilian said...

ooops, my apologies, just checked and there's so much to read! woo to read your blog now. Good job Woman!

Alcovelet said...

Oi Woman, I didn't think you'd blog so soon after touching down, but wow. A big post already!

And yalah, Cindy, don't say i say you (had to reread to count the number of says) - green with the same article! But luckily, you're you, so it's 5 in a go!

Well done, you people!

Lilian said...

You're not doing too badly yourself, Adeline. Loads of stuff to read over at your side, thanks in part to contribution from The Mouth, let's have more of that!

monlim said...

Hey, we're not IAA for nothing you know! I'm still keeping up with my 1-post-a-day target but it's getting difficult... pant pant...

Lilian said...

You can do it Monica! We have faith in you, don't let all of us at IAA down, we need our daily dose of Monism :)

bACk in GERMANY said...

Monica, can understand the breathlessness...
It's not just the one post a day thingy... it's the 83 comments that we need to keep up with...
I can't lah... *pant *pant!

Lilian said...

You can do it Cindy! We have faith in you, don't let all of us at IAA down, we need our daily dose of PP-ism :)

...and your cheerful company in our comments section too!

monlim said...

Lilian, I think we don't have your octane energy!! Where do you get it, in between looking after 2 kids?? But I'll try not to disappoint!!

Lilian said...

"Where do you get it, in between looking after 2 kids??"

I think you just hit the nail on the head...something has to give. I'm obviously not a high-energy person, so when I do blog, something else is being neglected, in this case, someone else, or rather, 2 little boys.

Note to self: Must find middle!