Have you read my previous Japan posts? You can find them all here.
Day 11 in Tokyo started off with us walking to Shinjuku to get breakfast. We found a small coffee shop and got some food and a drink there to fuel us up for the rest of the day. I had an egg and bacon pastry, a matcha latte and a kitkat croissant, which was really tasty.
After breakfast, we wandered around Shinjuku looking for somewhere to exchange money. I would definitely recommend bringing a lot of cash to Japan, not only was it hard to find somewhere to exchange money, but there was also not many places that took credit/debit card. We eventually found somewhere down in a subway station, but the exchange rate wasn’t as good as in the UK.
We had a look around some of the shops in Shinjuku, which were mainly big chain stores and designer shops and ended up coming across a sign for an arcade which had Purikura. Purikura are Japanese photo booths that print photos which you can edit and decorate. Most of them have effects that smooth out your skin, thin out your face and even make your legs longer. I knew that I wanted to go in at least one Purikura booth whilst in Japan, so I had to go into the arcade to try one out.
We chose pretty much the first one we saw. It cost ¥400 (around £2.60) so it wasn’t much money at all. You choose from a few options, headshot or full body, single person, pair or group and what kind of poses you want. The one we were in told you which poses to do and took about 6 photos. Once the photos are taken, you go to the other side of the booth to decorate. Each person gets a stylus and you can add stickers, draw on the photos and add make-up. As you can see, I ended up looking pretty alien-like and the machine smoothed Matt’s hair out completely. (The photos above are not just from this day, but are all the Purikura I took on my trip).
After Purikura, we had another wander around the shops in Shinjuku and then decided to get a train to Ikebukuro. We got the train from the subway near Yoyogi Park. It was a short journey there and only a few stops away.
Once in Ikebukuro, we walked straight up the street towards Sunshine City. Sunshine City is a massive shopping complex in Ikebukuro, which houses shops, restaurants, indoor theme parks, a hotel, an aquarium, a museum and a planetarium! The main reason we wanted to go was to go to the Mega Tokyo Pokemon Centre, the biggest in Japan.
On the way, we stopped at the massive Ikebukuro Book-Off, a massive book store chain around Japan. This one sold music, films, books and second-hand books. I ended up buying some Japanese children’s books, including some Studio Ghibli ones, to help me learn Japanese.
Next was Sunshine City. It was a huge place and we ended up getting lost. We came across a Sailor Moon cafe, which I was really tempted to go into, but it was really expensive! Eventually, after a lot of wandering around, we found the Pokemon Centre on the second floor and it was huge!
At the entrance of the Pokemon Centre, you’re greeted by a huge charizard and behind that is the beginning of the shop. As it was October, there was a lot of Halloween-themed Pokemon stuff, they seemed to love Halloween in Japan! I bought a pumpkin Pikachu, which I think was one of the limited edition plushies that month. Not only were there Pokemon plushies, but also stationary, phone covers, games, sweets, figures and many many other Pokemon themed items. Not going to lie, I spent a lot of money, but I love Pokemon and I knew it would be a long time before I could visit again, so I made the most of it!
After buying up most of the Pokemon Centre, Matt and I were starving so walked towards the restaurants in Sunshine City. The restaurant we decided on was Tamago no Watashi, which translates as “My Egg”. It specialised in Omurice, a Japanese dish of rice covered in an omelette. I had a dish that was a burger patty in some sort of gravy with loads of cheese and covered in an omelette. Matt had the same but his had a cream sauce and mushrooms and was served with salad. It was so filling and I could barely even finish half of it, but it was pretty tasty and didn’t cost much at all.
The shops in Sunshine City sold a mixture of different things. I ended up buying a few little bits like Sailor Moon socks and also going to more gacha machines.
It was the afternoon by the time we had finished in Ikebukuro. Next, we planned to go to Harajuku. Harajuku was a place I knew I wanted to visit whilst in Tokyo as I’d heard so much about it.
We took the train from the main station in Ikebukuro to Harajuku Station. The exit brought us out onto one of the main shopping streets. Just across the road was a couple of Harajuku’s well-known fashion shops, Spinns, and Wego, which I, of course, had to go in, much to Matt’s disappointment.
These shops sold clothes, shoes and accessories for both men and women. The stuff was a lot different to stuff I had seen in the UK and most of it was very much my style. I ended up just buying a navy skirt, but I knew I would be back to buy more at some point on the trip!
We walked on down the road and came across a guy with a pram full of cats… I was confused, but apparently, he’s quite famous around those parts. Chris Board from the YouTube channel AbroadinJapan even did a video about him recently, which is quite interesting if you wonder who this man is and why he has so many cats. He had gathered a crowd, mainly of young females (including myself) all surrounding him and the pram trying to stroke the cats and take photos.
Just down the road from where we saw the cat guy, was Kiddyland. I had heard that Kiddyland was a great place to go for toys and Sanrio and Studio Ghibli merch, so I was keen to have a look.
The shop is four stories and high and full of toys and merchandise for nearly every Japanese character you can think of. It was, however, pretty expensive and therefore I didn’t end up purchasing anything. All the items were things which I’m sure, if you looked hard enough, you could find elsewhere in Tokyo for much cheaper.
At this point, my parents were in Roppongi and had just arrived at the Brewdog there. So, Matt and I decided to make our way there to meet them.
Roppingi was a short subway ride away and the subway was, yet again, really easy to navigate. From Roppongi station, we walked up the road towards Brewdog. I can’t remember exactly how far away it was, but I know it was relatively close.
Brewdog is a Scottish Brewery and bar chain, which is located in many countries around the world. There is actually two quite near where I live, one in Bristol and one in Cardiff. The bars sell a selection of their own craft beer and also food to complement it.
The Roppongi branch of Brewdog sells both Japanese and European Craft ale and also quite westernised bar snacks and food. It had a few of the beers that I had seen before and also a few that were new to me. Brewdog in the UK isn’t necessarily the cheapest place to drink (although you are paying for quality) but here the prices were double what we would pay at home. We each ordered a beer and some food. As Matt and I had eaten such a big lunch, we only had a plate of BBQ chicken wings with blue cheese dip to share, but my parents both ordered burgers.
After food and a couple of drinks, we left Brewdog and got on the train to make our way back to our Airbnb in Meguro. The next day we had planned to go to Tsukiji fish market and Asakusa, which I will talk about in my next Japan post!
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Osaka – Trying new foods and going to a traditional tea ceremony
Mount Koya – Staying in a Buddhist temple
Kyoto Part 1 – Bamboo forest, Golden Pavillion and Gion, the Geisha district
Nara – Feeding the deer and visiting the worlds largest wooden building
Kyoto Part 2 – Temples, torii gates and lots of tradition
Tokyo Part 1 – Bullet train, shopping and a gig
Mount Fuji & Lake Kawaguchiko – A stroll around the lake with a great view of Mount Fuji