Saturday, December 17, 2016

Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 6 - Tokyo Finale (kaiten sushi, takoyaki, and curry)


Taking the bullet train back to Tokyo was easy as we were familiar with the massive Kyoto Station from having visited it a few times.  Kyoto Station didn't have a great train bento store like the one at Tokyo Station, but there were several bento outlets with a pretty good selection.  When we were there at 8:15 AM, they were just stocking some of the ekiben.  It is pretty strange to see big boxes, with more ekiben boxes inside.  So your food came from a boxy truck, in a smaller box, and yet a smaller box.
Quiches from a small bakery at Kyoto Station on the Shinkansen side of the station.
Ekiben at Kyoto Station
More ekiben including the film crew bento.
The return bullet train.
This was a pancake pastry with maple syrup and a real pat of butter.  It tasted like a pancake.
My film crew bento.
Grilled mackerel, some karaage, veggies, and seaweed salad.  This was a bento that was supposed to be a favourite of Kyoto film crews when they were shooting.  It was plain, simple, and still pretty tasty. 
An apple  and pineapple vending machine at Oshiage Station
A miniature Lawson konbini kiosk.  So cool.  Want one in my train station at home.
Arriving back at Tokyo Station, we walked for three blocks on the east side of the station to Otemachi Station, where we walked for another couple of blocks underground to get to the Hanzomon Line platform.  Connection distances between train lines can be so misleading sometimes.  Anyhow, the train ran directly to Oshiage Station.  Taking the correct exit, we cam up right across the street from our hotel which I could see from the station exit at street level, so that was pretty convenient.

We stayed at the Richmond Hotel Oshiage, which is right across the street from the west end of the Tokyo Skytree Solomachi Mall and the nearest exit from Oshiage Station.  This is a very nice hotel, friendly staff, but you will need to get used to having the lobby on the fifth floor.  The lobby of the hotel even has a scale so you can tell how much your bag weighs.  Very convenient.  Separate from the hotel was a great supermarket on the main floor / basement of the building, so buying food type souvenirs was an easy task. It was a rainy day when we arrived back in Tokyo, but the weather improved.
Can barely see the top of the Skytree.
Over the next couple of days we traveled to see Asakusa, Sensoji Temple, Akihabara, and a little bit of Ueno.  The time flew by in a flash, and then it was the last morning where we would ascend the Tokyo Skytree on a nice clear morning and enjoy the last few hours we had shopping at the Solomachi Mall there which has some great Japanese craft stores on the 5th level.  There is always something you want to buy there in each of the three times I've visited.  Then it was an easy train ride out to the airport on the Narita Skyaccess Train which departs directly from Oshiage Station.  This was the absolutely cheapest way to get to Narita in less than an hour without paying for the deluxe express trains.  It is like 1200 yen for a ticket and you pay with your SUICA smart card (make sure you have the money).  The train stops a fair bit, but it is still quick.

Now for some more food related pictures.  Even on our last couple of days we ate plenty.
This is what is available in the really nice food court at the Solomachi Mall (mall at the Skytree).  You have a great variety.  They also serve you your food on real plates and bowls with real cutlery.  You return the dirty dishes to special area at the food kiosk you bought it from.
One of us had tasty takoyaki (octopus balls).  You might think eeew, but it is a favourite treat of the Japanese and I like it a lot too.
Deluxe curry with tonkatsu cutles, rice, and shredded cabbage.  Delish again.
I had Ichiran Ramen.  So happy they had an outlet here.  They were giving away extra large servings for the regular price that day, but there was no way I would have been able to finish it.  Tasty tonkotsu ramen.
The last full day in Tokyo was a much nicer day with no rain.  This morning we headed over to Akihabara to catch all of the anime sights and to do some shopping.  I went wandering around early in the morning when everyone was still getting up.  The area around the mall was quiet and the only real activity this early in the morning were commuter trains going past the mall which is tied to two different train stations.

Staying in the Skytree area give fairly convenient access to get around the NE or east side of central Tokyo.
  • It is one stop to Asakusa on the Skytree Line and then you take the Ginza Line to Ueno.
  • From Ueno you have access to the Yamamote Line that gives you wide access.
  • The Hanzomon Line gives you access to Akihabara with one transfer at Ningyocho Station to the Hibiya Line, and it also goes directly to the vicinity of Tokyo Station.
Morning at the Skytree.
On our very last morning, we would ascend the Skytree with clear skies at 8 AM when it opens.  There was still a crowd this morning as it was a weekend, but no real lineup to get in when we walked over from the hotel.
Breakfast riceballs one morning.  Funny thing is that there are several coffee shops, but they don't open until the mall opens. I'm not sure if the McDonalds there was open early as there is one at the mall.
Went to Akihabara.
Lots of people up early on the Saturday.  Taking the train to Akihabara had us pass through some other train station and the coffee shops were pretty busy - no seats.  So we continued to Akihabara.  This is where we went to a Vie de France bakery outlet just outside the train station for breakfast.  It is just across from Gundam Cafe and the AKB48 Cafe.  I've never actually visited on of these Vie de France's before, but they are pretty common in Tokyo.  Their baking is pretty good and we enjoyed our breakfast there.
Lots of yummy baking.
Our breakfast + coffee.
We were in Akiba pretty early, and the stores don't open until 10 AM for an early one, to 11 AM for most stores.  A early morning visit to a shrine is a great way to do something in the morning, so we went to see the Love Live Shrine first.
There was a really tasty looking grilled steak place with butter on the way to the shrine.
Gate at Kanda Myojin
Some of the anime Ema for wishes at the Love Live Shrine.
I blogged about the Love Live Shrine here.
By the time we headed back to Akihabara, stores were beginning to open.  We stopped at a second hand figure store and picked up some Love Live figures for 30% off.  These figures, like the ones shown below are originally UFO machine prices and are what I would call low quality figures that cost about 1000 to 1500 yen new in the box.  There is a booming trade in second hand merchandise in Akiba from videogames, books, and collectables.  I previously blogged about Akiba here.
Love Live Figures.  I got a Nozomi.
The classic Gamers Store right outside the Electric Town Exit from Akihabara Station.
The Akihabara Don Quijote store actually had a good assortment of different Kit Kats.  I picked up the Kit Kat Shijo Apple here and really found that the apple flavour wasn't very pronounced at all.
Lunch was just some simple meals of udon and tempura for me which we ate at the food floor of the UDX Building.
That night, we had our last dinner in Tokyo.  We went to the conveyor belt sushi restaurant at the Solomachi Mall (6th Floor) I think.  There is also a regular sushi restaurant here.  Anyhow, this restaurant was crazy busy with 30-40 minute wait.  But the fish was really good and it had a good atmosphere.  It is much easier to dine at this place if you are a single person or a couple.  Have to wait a little longer for 3 or 4 continuous seats unless you do a booth which might not be at the belt.
Salmon sushi
Eel roll, tuna, a whitefish.
Octopus karaage. Tasty.
Salmon rolls.
Fatty tuna.  So good.  Gold plate means pricey.  We had to order this.
Our damage at the end of the meal.  They just use an RFID reader to scan the plates and give you a bill at the end.  All the plates are color coded by price point.
Our last meal in Japan was rice and curry with pork cutlet at the airport for lunch the next day. It was pretty good.  I also managed to hit the McDonalds and try their cheese pork cutlet burger which was pretty good.
Airport Curry
The McDonald's cheese pork cutlet burger with the cheese inside the cutlet.
The cheese pork cutlet burger.
That wraps up the food posts for the Japan trip in November 2016.  I'll be posting more about specific places and things that I saw.  Bye bye for now.

Tokyo and Kyoto Trip Fall 2016 



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