11 Days in Tokyo [Day 3]: Kichijoji| Nakano |Bad Sushi in Japan?

I’m back to continue with my 11 Days in Tokyo series! This time, I will be sharing my third day in Tokyo. Note: Long post!

Day 3 (18 Dec 2016)- Kichijoji, Nakano, and bad sushi

From Shinjuku station, we boarded the JR Chuo-Sobu line to Kichijoji station. We got pretty confused with the train and ended up taking a train that somehow terminated a few stations before. Lesson learnt: always look out for instructions by the train services and follow them, so that we can be sure of which train to take. Finally after much hassle, we reached Kichijoji station.

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Kichijoji Station

Kichijoji is a wonderful neighbourhood further to the west of Shinjuku. It is not as close to the city center like Shinjuku and Harajuku, hence it has a more laid-back vibe with hardly any skyscrapers and several hipster cafes and shops. You definitely see much fewer tourists here. We were here because we wanted to visit Inokashira Park and the Ghibli Museum. If you guys are familiar with Youtubers Simon and Martina, they recently moved to Japan and live in Kichijoji.

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Surprisingly good corn potage in a can. I swear this is better than Campbell’s soup.

Inokashira Park is a huge park in Kichijoji, and one of the places Kichijoji is most well known for. As we went near the end of Autumn, there were still many trees with red autumn leaves, absolutely beautiful. It was my first time going to a park overseas, and I was instantly attracted to the tall trees and peaceful lake.

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Inokashira Park

We decided to save the sightseeing for later as we were going to the Ghibli Museum, located inside Inokashira Park. It is a museum dedicated to Studio Ghibli and the works of director Hayao Miyazaki.

To be allowed admission into the Ghibli Museum, you have to purchase tickets in advance (with a given time slot), as there are no ticketing counters for purchasing tickets on the spot. Ticketing information can be found HERE. The museum is hugely popular, especially during the holiday period and on weekends, so you might even have to purchase tickets months in advance. However, for Singaporeans, I would strongly recommend that you purchase your tickets from JTB at Ngee Ann City, where you can purchase Ghibli Museum tickets 3 months in advance (SGD 19) with a hotel booking of at least one night with them. That was what we did and it saved us the stress of having to buy advance tickets over in Japan. Last time I checked, the December 2016 tickets were already all sold out by November. 

Still remembered that we were so distracted by the beautiful sceneries of the park that we underestimated the time needed to get to the museum. Hence, it was kind of a mad rush to the museum for us, as we had to get to the museum by 10am. Thankfully, there was a queue of visitors lined outside the museum which meant that the doors of the museum has not opened.

Ghibli Museum has a strict no photography and videography policy, hence we were not allowed to take any photos inside the museum. I heard from other travellers that the rationale was to allow us to enjoy the experience fully with our own eyes, which form our memories of the Museum (dunno how legit is that, but oh well). I could describe everything in words, but it would probably just bore everyone out. Hence, here are some shots that I managed to get outside the museum. It is definitely recommended if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli movies.

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Ghibli Museum

After visiting the museum (took us about 1.5 hours), we walked back into Inokashira Park to continue our sightseeing.

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There was even a pedal boat and row boat rental service where we could rent a boat for 30 mins to travel around a section of the Inokashira Lake. It was good exercise and admiring the wonderful view at the same time.

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We were hungry and lazy, so after walking around we settled for lunch at a nearby Sukiya outlet, which is similar to Yoshinoya, specialising in affordable and yummy rice bowls like Gyudon (beef rice bowl).

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A typical street in Kichijoji.

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Gyudon with miso soup and a raw egg (450 yen)

After lunch, we went to a Don Quijote outlet at Kichijoji. It is a huge department store that sells a variety of goods, such as snacks, cosmetics, fashion apparels, electronics and stationery. They have several outlets scattered all over Japan. It is good for last minute shopping, or if you wanna look at the quirky stuff Japan has to offer, like these…

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For guys who dream of becoming a Kabuki performer, or a maid.
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Donald Trump?

 

Next stop: Nakano. We went to Nakano Broadway, which is quite an old mall that has many shops selling anime merchandise and manga, including limited edition and vintage ones. We also spotted quite a few watch shops selling branded watches, both new and second hand.

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The path that leads to Nakano Broadway.

We found a soft serve shop at the basement of Nakano Broadway, that serves many different flavours of soft serve ice cream. There’s even a giant soft serve challenge where you can stack up 8 flavours of soft serve on one cone. Of course, they will not be responsible if you fall ill or topple your ice cream. We weren’t very interested in trying it out so we just had the single flavoured soft serve cones.

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Matcha soft serve. Already destroyed a part of it before I remembered to take a snap of this. For a shop that does not specialise in matcha products, this matcha soft serve is pretty legit.

We were feeling tired after a long day of walking, so we decided to takeaway some food at the Takashimaya Food Hall in Shinjuku, and to also check out Takashimaya Times Square since I have never been there.

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Shinjuku Illuminations
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Takashimaya Times Square

Of all the things we could eat, we decided to buy sushi from the supermarket. Well, that turned out to be the worst decision ever. The seafood wasn’t really fresh, and gave me something like an allergic reaction at one point. Yes, there is bad sushi in Japan, unfortunately. What a way to end the day.

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Meh.
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