Friday, 2 January 2015

Tokyo with Zg Day 5, Harajuku and Shibuya

We took the train to Harajuku and used our GPS to guide us to the Meiji Shrine. We found our way to the main entrance but that took us 20 minutes through a cluster of houses. On our way back, we found a shorter way from the Harajuku Station to Meiji Shrine. Exit from Omote Sando exit, turn right, enter a gate at the back and walk along the gravel path. You would reach the gift shop of Meiji Shrine. It is a less scenic walk than the main entrance but that took us only 5 minutes.

The main entrance of the Meiji Shrine. The path to the main shrine was lined by tall trees on both sides. We reached early and we were the only ones heading in from this way. It was incredibly peaceful and tranquil along the path, air was fresh and crisp, and there was nothing I wanted to do more than inhale deeply. 

For a small fee, you could buy a plaque and write your wish on it.

As with most Japanese shrines, water flowed freely in one corner and devotees would wash themselves in the corner before heading into the shrine. 

Meiji Shrine was completely different from Sensoji Shrine. While Sensoji Shrine was bustling and crowded, Meiji Shrine was peaceful and quiet. The tranquility of the shrine provided some solace from the hectic pace of life in Tokyo. 

After exploring Meiji Shrine, we headed to Takeshita Dori, Harajuku. The shops in Takeshita Dori attracted the young and energetic with clothes for teenagers, costumes for cosplay, and colorful shops selling random stuff. Not really my cup of tea (I have to admit I am too old for most things on this street) but it was still very enjoyable to walk down Takeshita Dori and take in the fun and noise. 

We found Marion Crepes and bought a Green Tea Ice Cream and Azuki Crepe. It was delicious! Thick green tea ice cream with sweet Azuki paste in warm crepe. 

Zg read that Calbee sold freshly fried potato chips so we headed in. I LOVE CALBEE! The freshly-made potato chips came hot and crispy with a generous dusting of chilli powder. We ate this in the cold and it was so gratifying. I also bought a whole bunch of chips from Calbee.

We found Heiroku Sushi at Omotesando and decided to go in for lunch. This was a conveyor belt sushi restaurant with customers seated along the counter and picking out plates of sushi from the conveyor belt. We could also place special orders with the chef directly. We took many plates of sushi from the belt and ordered some from the chef. The sashimi was sweet and fresh, and prices were affordable.  You won't miss Heiroku Sushi because it faces the main street in Omotesando.

5-8-5 JingumaeShibuyaTokyo Prefecture 150-0001Japan

After lunch, we took a stroll in the nice cool air to Shibuya. The famous Shibuya Crossing was indeed packed with people crossing in all directions at once and it was just mind-boggling trying to navigate the crowd when crossing the road (especially when you are as short as I am). I could only stumble along unknowingly while Zg led the way. 


We went into Starbucks at Shibuya Crossing which was well-known for its perfect view of the crossing while you nurse a cup of hot latte. As expected, it was full and we were initially resigned to sit at a table near the back. But Zg managed to snag two stools right by the window! I am still incredulous that he managed to secure two seats for us, facing the Shibuya Crossing. It was undoubtedly the best seats in the house!

Drinking my hot Green Tea Latte, watching the crowd surge and ebb at each turn of the traffic lights, was surprisingly calming. It felt almost methodical and rhythmic. I certainly could have sat there for the whole afternoon just watching people hurry along with their lives. 

We tried to do some shopping in Shibuya 109 and 109 Men's but it was mostly a failed attempt. I guess I'm just not much of a shopper. 

We had dinner at Hakata Uma Uma to try a different style of ramen. This is the Kyushu style, marked by thinner noodles. It was good (by Singapore standards) but definitely not mind-blowing. The other bowls of ramen I tried during our Tokyo trip was much better. To be fair, the bowl of ramen at Hakata Uma Uma still contained the usual stringy noodles, robust soup base, delicious braised pork and runny egg. But sadly, it lacked the oomph. 

7F Hikarie

We walked around Shibuya and explored the department stores and little shops along the road. Nothing very interesting so we left and returned to Shinjuku.

Read about Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 6 and Day 7

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