Monday, December 8, 2014

Takayama/Tokyo Diary Pt 3 - July 2014

Saying goodbye to our lovely ryoken but not before another awesome breakfast.
Seriously, someone should open a brunch place in Singapore serving Japanese style "brunch"

Another long bus ride down the mountain and we decided to walk around the takayama old town before heading to Tokyo. 
Very quaint and beautiful place. Lots of old, well preserved shop houses though mostly selling touristy stuff. We did chance upon delicious matcha soft-serve and grilled mochi. 

The town is apparently known for its architectural methods; we wandered into the Takayama Museum of History and Art and spent a good 45 mins playing with the "architectural toys" there. 

There are many many restaurants dotting the old town and we just randomly picked one, needed to have one last hida beef meal before we headed off. Most of the restaurants here do serve hida beef (its a speciality after all!) so just keep a look out for the signs outside the restaurants. This was just a simple and cheap sliced beef bowl but oh, still sooo good. 

Back onto the bullet train and to my favourite city in the world- Tokyo! If you are planning to travel to various cities in Japan, do get the JR pass. We saved a ton for this trip with these passes; also gave us the flexibility to reserve tickets in advance and then changing the timing of our reservations (Based on availability of course) when we changed our travel plans. 

Obligatory train snack for the boy. The egg mayo sandwich from any convenience store, how do the Japanese make such delicious egg sandwiches, how is the bread still so soft and fluffy (despite being pre-packed for god knows how long). Why are the 7-11 sandwiches in Singapore so nasty? Sigh

We stayed in Best Western hotel, smack right in the middle of Shinjuku. Not the most romantic I know but what we really needed - bright lights and noise after 2 days in the mountain. Oh and uniqlo, lots of uniqlo. 

Supper stop at probably the most famous Ramen in the world. Needs no introduction - Ichiran!
Queue still darn long at 10pm but hey I am a true-blue Singaporean so queuing is of no issue (plus the boy was queuing while I went into the Pachinko outlet next door to attempt to understand the game, nope still dont get it)

Trying to understand the seating system, but still dont quite get it. Ok green = empty, red= occupied but what do the blinking lights mean? 

And then,  without knowing how your server looks like, a steaming bowl of perfection sits in front of you as you slurp down everything while facing basically nothing. So good. Rich thick flavourful soup with melt-in-your mouth char siew and noodles with just the right amount of bite. 

Chanced upon a series of tiny alleys behind our hotel, occupied by what must be at least 100 tiny little bars. Each bar could probably house maybe 6 customers? Each bar had its own unique selling pt too (e.g. rock n roll, retro etc), too cool and interesting. Tempted to go into one but it was not cheap (cover charge + cost of beer), seriously who pays cover charge to sit in a tiny little bar? 

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