Hi Guys! Last winter exactly early December 2016, I traveled to Japan with my friends for 8 days. I know it is a little bit late to post the travel journal, but better late than never, right? I treated myself a long holiday before I did my spine surgery to help me relax and feed my mind with positive thoughts.
We had a really tight schedule in Japan, knowing the fact that we visited 4 cities (Yokohama, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka) in only 8 days. It was like… literally too short. There were so many things to do, places to visit, foods to taste. So guys, here is the trip!
Yokohama. This place is located in South Tokyo, less than half an hour by train. I stopped by the famous Nissin Cup Noodle Museum where visitors could make their custom made cup noodle. Custom made means you could opt seasoning, topping and packaging by your choice. I think this place will be suitable for visitors who bring their child, who will absolutely feel excited.
I also visited Motomachi, a collective marketplace where you could find local restaurant and several stores such as Zara, ABC Mart (super cheap options if you look for sneakers) and other Japanese local brand. I wondered why… Even when I didn’t know what to eat there, every random thing I bought was super delicious, such as the ice cream crepes and Oyako Don. I guess Japanese foods are destined to be appetizing.
Oshino Hakkai. One way to gaze at the magnificent Mount Fuji without having to climb is by visiting Oshino Hakkai. Lol. I thought that climbing a mountain would be time consuming amid our tight schedule. By visiting this place, we could save up our time. In addition, the view was so breath taking. You could tell it from the bright blue sky and crystal clear lake that we snapped en route. The air was so refreshing that I could not stop breathing, given the difficulty to find clean air in my hometown, Jakarta.
Ginza. This area is perfect for strolling and shopping spree. Ginza is known by several high-end designer boutiques in Japan. It is the location for a huge, like literally huge Uniqlo store where you can find almost any collection they have. I even found the collaboration collection between Uniqlo with designers / artist such as Carine Roitfeld, Ines de la Fressange and Keith Haring. These collections were rarely found especially in Indonesia and they are pretty affordable. Next, GU store is also located in Ginza. GU is some kind of sister compared to Uniqlo. The difference is GU offers cheaper price with almost the same fabric and style. My third favourite store is the well know Dover Street Market, where you can find high-end curated designers product.
Oh! You should stop by Manneken Waffles stall. I remember a long queue in freezing Tokyo night just to have a taste of this waffle. My favorite is the maple one.
Shibuya. It means time for another shopping spree. I love the feeling of hustle in Shibuya street, not to mention the busiest Shibuya crossing. The stores were very… can I say… comprehensive? Because you can find anything here. If you are a make up or skin care junkie, as I am, then you should check Matsumoto Kiyoshi. It was located somewhere near Shibuya crossing. The store sold a huge range of drugstore products. My must buy Japanese products are Anessa by Shiseido sunblock, Lululun masks, Clear Turn by Kose Cosmoport masks, Ettusais eyeliner and Naturie skin conditioner. Another place that worth to visit was Loft. Should you are searching for cute knick knacks or curated objects, this place is perfect for you.
The food highlight would be Ichiran Ramen, the infamous ramen restaurant in Tokyo and Cremia, the soft ice cream with “lidah kucing” cookies as the cone. Cremia is the best ice cream I have ever taste. I stopped by wherever a stall sold Cremia, even in a cold winter night.
Harajuku Street. This area was located near Takeshita street. The street is crowded, narrow and pedestrian only. I think this area represents Japanese street style the most. I found a lot of fashion boutiques, accessories stores and 100-yen stores, which were very useful to shop for souvenirs for tourists.
Omotesando. Another window shopping time. Stores in Omotesando were mainly high-end designers brand. One of the stores highlight is Opening Ceremony where you could find various curated designers stuff such as Kenzo, Toga Archives or the Opening Ceremony itself.
The food highlight is Dominique Ansel Bakery. I really am a sweet tooth and DAB was a little sweets oasis. I could say they sold curated pastries and breads because the menu were unusual. I ordered the triangle original – green tea churros and milk shots. Seriously, so good! I will definitely miss this place.
Daikanyama T-Site. This area offers a wide array of curated designers boutique and concept stores such as Porter, APC, Maison Kitsune and Le Labo Fragrance. I did not really explore Daikanyama as I visited this area in the evening when most stores were nearly close. I should do in my next Japan trip! The most important thing for me was I still have a chance to shop at Lush. I am a huge fan of organic products and Lush is one of the best. I love their Dream Cream and Dark Angels 🙂
Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodle. It is said to be the first ever ramen joint to get a Michelin star. Located at Toshima – Sugamo neighborhood and surrounded by civil houses, you would not guess that a Michelin star ramen joint laid here. One thing, you should willing to spare extra time for the queue because you should pay extra effort here. First, my kind friend fetched the queue number at 6 am and we got on the first round. Apparently, the joint divided the queue into several round. Then, we must queue for our turn in each round as the seats inside were very limited. So, we came back at 11 am for lunch and queue for our turn. This is my very first Michelin experience ever, so I did not mind waiting. My first impressions? The shoyu broth was very, very rich and tasteful. They added truffle oil into the ramen! How crazy is that? I am a truffle lover. At that moment, I must say that no ramen could replace my number one label from Tsuta.
To be continued in part 2!