It had been 3 days in Tokyo, and there’s still nothing that I don’t like about it, besides the bad sushi from Takashimaya. Today I will also be sharing more places that I love- Daikanyama, Shibuya and Ebisu.
Day 4 (19 Dec 2016)- Daikanyama, Shibuya and Ebisu
After checking out from Shinjuku Washington Hotel (Main), our day started off with breakfast. We decided to head to the Food Depot at the basement of Lumine 1 near the Shinjuku Station South Exit, since it was quite newly opened at that time. I got this green tea anpan at one of the bakeries nearest to the entrance. Although it was quite small and pretty expensive, the bun was generously filled with green tea-anko (red bean) goodness.
After breakfast, we began our journey to Daikanyama. To go there, we took the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya, before transferring to the Toyoku Line to Daikanyama. It was during the transfer that we realised that there were three types of trains- Local (stops at every station), Express (skips a few stations) and Limited Express (skips more stations than the Express train), with no price difference. If only Singapore has it, it could definitely save me a lot of time to get to the city! To get to Daikanyama, we had to take the Local train. We could see the train schedules for the different types of trains at the electronic signboards.
What we did not realise was, that since Shibuya was the first station of the Toyoku line, both sides of the tracks were going in the same direction. As a result, we patiently waited for the train only on one track and missed the correct train on the other side. The time we took to wait for the train turned out to be longer than the time taken inside the train (which was just one stop).
Daikanyama is a quaint little neighbourhood that is known for being a residential area for expatriates. It is located slightly away from Shibuya at the city center, hence it is much quieter and the air is fresher. Here we found quite a number of cafes and independent shops, as well as many western brands like Fred Perry.
We only visited one place in Daikanyama, which is the T-Site, a.k.a. Daikanyama Tsutaya Books. In fact, we spent a surprisingly large amount of time there that we didn’t really have enough time to cover everything in our itinerary that day. Surrounding Tsutaya Books were shops like a pet store and toy store.
Inside Tsutaya Books, we found a corner that houses a large collection of Classical Music CDs. Some were for rental and we could take them out and play them on the CD players provided, FOR FREE. As a classical music student, I was thrilled. They had a substantial collection of music performed by world-class musicians and orchestras like the Berlin Philharmoniker, Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, etc. They also provide recommendations, promoting their local talents like Tsujii Nobuyuki and Masaaki Suzuki. This it not a music shop, but a bookstore, and to see them having such facilities really amazed me. There were also Classical music magazines laying around for us to browse through, and I realised that Tokyo’s Classical Music scene is so happening with lots of events going on every week. Damn…why didn’t I think of watching a concert there! The place was also quite well-utilised, with people sitting down and having a cup of coffee while listening to music. I could stay here all day.
After an exciting time at Tsutaya Books, we headed to a nearby restaurant-cafe for lunch, called Ivy Place. There, we had the weekly lunch set which consisted of free-flow bread with dip, coffee and/or tea (yes, we could have both), and a main dish. The prices for the set lunch were quite affordable given that the main course for ala carte could be more expensive than the set lunch itself, hence it was really worth our money. Besides, we wanted something a little more fancy for lunch 🙂
After lunch, we took the train back to Shibuya where we spent the rest of the afternoon there shopping and walking.
Shibuya is another shopping district with lots of fashion brands catered to young adults and older. Lots of international brands are present there too- Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Lush- can all be found there. The next picture probably needs no explanation.
A lot of travel blogs will probably have already mentioned these places. I did not buy any clothes there because the shops were only selling winter clothes, and there’s no point in getting them because I won’t be able to wear them back home in Singapore, but I did get a bag from Shibuya 109. I find bags and shoes generally cheaper here than in Singapore, and they’re even cheaper when they’re on sale.
Another place we went to was Shibuya Center-gai, which is a street laid with restaurants, food stalls and shops. We had fried chicken pieces from this particular stall, and it was alright, personally not worth the price as it was pretty expensive.
After an afternoon of shopping and walking around Shibuya, we went back to Shinjuku Washington Hotel to check-in to our new hotel room, located at Shinjuku Washington Hotel (Annex). The Annex building is a smaller wing of the two buildings, and was said to be newer as it was recently renovated.
Upon entering our room, we were soooo excited. The room was MUCH more spacious than our previous room, and we finally have a larger table to eat our food on. The amenities in the bathroom were the same, which also came with a bathtub. Would definitely recommend staying in the Annex building.
In the evening, we headed to Ebisu, in particular Ebisu Garden Place. As it was the Christmas season, there was a Christmas Market there. There were not many stalls, but the illuminations were really beautiful. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking for this one.
It is amazing how Japan is commercially so into Christmas, when it is not even a public holiday there. What a beautiful night.