We are steaming along now..onto day 4! We had been in Tokyo for four days so far yet it felt like we just landed. We stayed in Tokyo for 5 days total, and we basically ventured in just one ward. There is so much to do and see that I don’t honestly know how much time is enough to see all of Tokyo. In 2004, we stayed at two hotels in two districts of Tokyo, but we also ventured out of the city for a day Nikko and Fukushima for an overnight.
I guess we just need to keep going back! 🙂
Day 4- Harajuku, Meiji Jingu Shrine and the New York Bar
We started first thing with a train ride from Shinjuku station to Harajuku. We decided to grab breakfast, crepes, and walk around. The district is so unusual, this is the most eclectic part of the city for certain. We saw a whole bunch of fun things right off the bat leaving the train station like the cat, hedgehog and owl cafes, local shops, exaggerated foods, their famed toy stores, then hundreds of people lined up to enter stores that only allowed a few people inside at a time, some lolita and goth girls (which I would totally be a lolita girl if I lived in Harajuku), traditionally dressed women and children, businessmen, and just all the people walking around.
The first stops I was pressed to visit were for my children. Our girls don’t ask for much, but they really wanted some Japanese character toys, so I wanted to make sure to find some for them. We stopped first at Line Friends store, which was adorable as all heck. I definitely was giddy like a child going through. The first floor was all accessories and housewares, then downstairs it continued to the back where there was a huge space dedicated to Brown Bear’s room to take photos to post on InstaGram! It was such a large space where people were loving it. We indulged too even though we had NO clue who the characters were from this show. I didn’t find anything for the kids, so we moved on to Kiddieland. Kiddieland is the coolest store ever. EVER. It’s four floors of toys and toys, from Japanes brands like Sanrio to US brands like Marvel to obscure brands. I had a blast going through the store, and found our youngest a Pusheen mermaid she was vying.
After all this toy hunting, we decided to hit up Takeshita Street. The heart of Harajuku shopping and people watching; AND MY LORD THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE. The street was flanked on each side with accessories/clothing shops, candy shops, and toy shops, but between it was wall-to-wall people walking up the street. It was so much fun. But we have fun doing anything. We spent about an hour or two here going through all the shops, then we needed a good break. Off to coffee we went! After a small rest, we headed to the Meiji Shrine a few blocks away.
The Meiji Shrine is absolutely beautiful. The shrine’s gates were so large and impressive, that I felt like I was transported to a different time. It also helped that on the weekends people head to the shrines dressed in traditional kimonos or yukatas on their birthdays. Seeing the beautiful children all dressed up with their hair primped just to walk around and play in the paths. So colorful and beautiful. One little girl, who was dressed up, loved playing peekaboo with me. I tried to get a photo of her because she had the most infectious laugh and sweet smile, I didn’t want to forget her.
Oh speaking of beautiful sights, we made our way up to the shrine complex where an elderly gentleman waved me over to say that we were just in time to see a traditional Japanese wedding!
Actually, we ended up seeing THREE in total during our stay in the complex!
What a sight of beauty, so perfect and majestic a backdrop. The brides wore traditional white jaquard dresses with domed head pieces while the grooms wore a formal yukata. The couple was walked down the path with their families and the whole wedding party following. I was mesmerized by the formality and traditional processional. Really something to see.
As the day started to turn to dusk, we left the Meiji Shrine to grab a snack before dinner, well actually ‘linner’ because we skipped lunch. We had planned to check out this highly rated noodle shop that was fifteen minute walk from the shrine, but when we go there it had a line of like 20 people deep. We got in the line, but it didn’t move for a long while, so we decided to jump from there to walk closer to our hotel’s area. The walk was long, but the sights we saw made it worth it. Also, I got to show my husband some of the spots I found on my journey yesterday.
We found a noodle shop near the hotel! This place was fun too. It was the type of fast service restaurant where you pay/order your meal through a ticket machine at the front! I have always wanted to eat at a place that did that type of ordering, IDK why! haha I have such weird life experience desires. After we ate a little, we headed to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the night.
We made a reservation for the New York Bar before we left home, the jazz bar from the movie Lost in Translation. It is located on the 52nd floor of the Hyatt Tokyo, about a ten minute walk from our hotel. We were seated at a table smack dab in the middle of the dining area right in front of the jazz band. We were so high up, with 180 degree windows, we were surrounded with the most amazing views. Gah, what a magical evening. We ordered a few rounds of drinks, their cocktails list was extensive plus they could make any drink not listed for you. After a lot of conversation, getting tipsy and soaking up where we were, we decided to eat, and we both wanted to try the wagyu burger. Which I am so glad we did. Just awesome. That burger was dream worthy. haha
After dinner, we took a taxi over to the middle of Shinjuku. We had never hung out in the area so late, which we soon found it was quite different from during the day.
There was a store we heard was a must see, Don Quixote. What a mess! This place was so jam-packed with shoppers, and each level was too hard to walk through because of the mob of people. Just insanity. We walked through then left just as fast as we could.
We walked all around, you can get so lost walking through the many blocks with everything lit up. Soon we realized that we definitely were not in Kansas anymore …but the red light district. heehee It was a lot of fun, well to walk with my 6’3″ husband, cause ladies beware, the men are out in full force at night! ahaha We stayed out pretty late walking around, then headed back to our hotel because we had another early start tomorrow.
Our departure day :(, which is up next!