Join me on my travelling and nom nomming adventures!
Apologies again for another 5 for Friday that’s a day late. I started this post last night after doing some research for my upcoming trip to Japan, which is fast approaching. I don’t know how it happened, or when, but some time during the night, I actually fell asleep with my iPhone in my hand. True story. One minute I was blogging, the next it was 5.30am, my phone was still in my hand, glasses still on my face, and bedside lamp still on. When I switched the lamp off, I noticed that the sun was beginning to make an appearance through the blinds. Thank goodness I am in the habit of saving my posts as a draft every so often!
Anyway, I’m blaming my personal trainer. This week she had me doing all sorts of core exercises that have actually left my love handles in pain. I don’t think I’ve ever used the muscles under there before. In fact, I don’t think I even knew there were muscles there to work out. Seems Miss PT is hell bent on introducing me to every muscle that I have never acquainted myself with before.
Which is probably a good thing, because you know what I think about when I think of Japan, especially Tokyo? The food!
Since I’ll be travelling solo this time around, I’ve decided not to book into any fancy restaurants. From what I’ve heard though, there are plenty of great street food options, so I’m not too worried about missing out. I’m dreaming of fresh sashimi and sushi. Udon, ramen and soba noodles. Okonomiyaki, gyoza, chawan mushi, agedashi. And those are just the things I know the names of. I’m envisioning and looking forward to a lot of finger pointing and trying unfamiliar but delicious foods.
Another thing I’ve been looking forward to are the theme or character cafes. For one thing, I have an immense sweet tooth. For another, I know that Japan is the land of kawaii (cute), and with that comes a love of all things kitsch. I don’t think I’ll be visiting a maid cafe, but here are several other options that are definitely on my list.
1. Lindt Cafe
I know what you must be thinking – how boring to visit something we have in Australia! But it has come to my attention that the Ginza store is currently offering a special Sakura range for spring. There’s a Sakura iced drink and Sakura macarons. And since pink is one of my favourite colours (it’s no secret what the other is), I find it hard to resist these pretty little treats.
Address: 7-6-12 Ginza, Chuo
Hours: 11am-10pm weekdays, 11am-8pm weekends and holidays
Getting there: Ginza, Marunouchi and Hibiya lines to Ginza Station
2. Cinnamon Dream Cafe at Sanrio Puroland
Sanrio is responsible for worldwide cartoon phenomena like Kerokerokeroppi, Little Twin Stars, and of course Hello Kitty. At the Dream Cafe, you can order a range of Hello Kitty themed meals, snacks and drinks. I’m also looking forward to investigating the gift shop!
(From the official Puroland website)
Address:1-31 Ochiai, Tama
Hours: 10am-5pm most weekdays, 10am-8pm Saturdays, 10am-6 or 8pm Sundays, check online for scheduled open and closed days
Getting there by train: Approximately 30 mins by Keio Express from Shinjuku-Hashimoto, get off at Keio Tama Centre Station
Admission: 3300 yen adults >18 and 2500 yen kids on weekdays, 3800/2700 on weekends and holidays
3. Pierre Herme Bar Chocolat
It’s no secret I love Pierre Herme’s sugary creations, but did you know that his first store was opened not in Paris itself, but in Tokyo? His flagship store in Aoyama includes a small upstairs cafe where you can enjoy a treat or two, and I can’t wait to see whether or not there are any Japan specific desserts there for me to sample. If not, the Ispahan will do me just fine.
Address: 1-2F La Porto Aoyama, 5-51-8 Jingumae, Shibuya
Hours: 11am-9pm Monday to Saturday,11am-8pm Sundays and holidays
Getting there: Ginza, Chiyoda and Hanzomon lines to Omotesando Station, B2 exit
4. Straw Hat Cafe at Ghibli Museum
A friend of a friend is trying to get me tickets to the Ghibli Museum, and I really hope she has some luck! For those who don’t know, Studio Ghibli is the brainchild behind such whimsical fantastical cartoon tales as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and my personal favourite, Arrietty. The Straw Hat Cafe seems to be best known for their amazing coffee art, like this one I found on Pinterest.
Address: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi
Hours: 10am-6pm Wednesday to Monday, closed most Tuesdsays
Admission: Tickets have to be pre-bought up to 3 months beforehand from overseas or Lawson’s convenience stores throughout Japan – more info here
Getting there: Approximately 20 mins by JR Chuo line from Shinjuku-Mitaka Station. From the Mitaka South Exit, it’s a 15 mins walk along the Tamagawa Josui “Waterworks” to the museum, or you can take a bus from Stop #9 every 10 minutes of the hour for 210 yen one way or 320 yen round trip, 110/160 yen for kids 12 and under
5. Alice in Wonderland Cafe
So it’s clear that tales of whimsy intrigue me, and there are few as fantastical and wonderfully weird as Lewis Carroll’s tale of a girl falling down a rabbit hole to come face-to-face with a tardy hare, an overly cheerful feline and a tea-drinking wacko with a headware fetish. Add to that the fact that the story lends itself perfectly to an adorable afternoon tea setting with playing cards, red hearts and food and drink items labelled “eat me” and “drink me”. I hear that reservations are recommended, so wish me luck navigating the online reservation form which seems to be entirely in Japanese! Here’s the picture on Pinterest that first drew my attention. Read the original Guardian article here.
Address: Taiyo Bldg, 5F, 8-8-5 Ginza, Chuo
Hours: 5pm-1am Monday to Thursday, 5pm-5am Fridays, Saturdays and holiday eves, 5-11pm Sundays and holidays. Reservations recommended.
Getting there: Closer to Shinbashi than Ginza Station
Do you know of any other cafes, street side stalls or restaurants in Tokyo that I absolutely must look out for? Any particular foods to recommend? Please let me know!
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