- Shiawase no pancake Omotesando
- Ameyacocho Market
- Ueno Park
- Bondi Jinbocho
- Imperial Palace
- Omotesando Ukai-Tei
On our second full day in Tokyo, we had planned to see some sumo, but tickets were pretty pricey and we didn’t want to stay that long there so we decided it wasn’t worth it. That left a hole in our schedule, so we decided to play it by ear. After talking to my friends the day before and getting their gauge on what’s popular, I begged my travel buddy to go to the other side of town to get fluffy, jiggly pancakes for breakfast! While they reluctantly agreed, I got my way and we took the subway 30 minutes to Shiawase no pancake Omotesando. We got here a little after it opened on a weekday and thank goodness I didn’t have to wait long because when we left, there was a line up the stairs.
All I can say is these were so much better than American pancakes! I came here on a whim because I heard about the pancake craze and this was one of the places that actually opened before 11am.
We got the plain regular ones and the one ones with strawberry and cream and both were equally as good. I like how they’re super jiggly and fluffy and definitely not dense which makes them a lot easier to eat. It was a perfect portion for breakfast and not too overwhelming. We did have to wait a bit for the pancakes to come out because they make it fresh, but it was worth the wait!
Full and ready to go, we headed to the opposite side of town where we checked out Ameyacocho Market. This market had a bunch of restaurants, random outdoor shops, and a bunch of arcades and mini casinos. It almost made me want to gamble, but I knew we didn’t have much time so we quickly walked through as we knew we would walk through more of these types of market.
Walking another 20 minutes, we finally headed to Ueno Park where we were dumbfounded to how big it was. We looked at the map, but didn’t know where to even start so we just walked to the right and ended up in a huge open space which headed towards statues, shrines, and gardens. We ended up stumbling into the Toshogu Shrine which had a lot of gold elements and designs on it. It was smaller than the one we visited the day before, but was still unique in it’s own way because it was more secluded within the park and less touristy.
Rushing back to the other side of town, we had an appointment to meet up with my travel buddy’s friend, Mike. He was running a tad late, which bought us some time to to eat a late lunch! We yelped a place and ended up going to a popular curry joint, Bondi Jinbocho. It was super hidden so we had an extremely hard time finding it with google maps, but with a lot of walking around the block, we finally found it in the alley. We walked up to see a wait so we stood on the stairs to do so as well. Luckily, the line moved pretty fast and they took our order when we got towards the front. When it was our turn, they sat us down and brought out some whole baby potatoes and butter. Then came out our japanese curry. One plate had rice with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top and the other was the curry + meat in a gravy boat! How fun! I poured the curry over the rice and started chopping away. The curry was really thick and almost buttery. I got beef and it was really tender and flavorful paired with the curry. It might have been a pretty big meal, but I finished every last bite!
Rolling out of the restaurant, we headed over to the Imperial Palace to meet up with Mike, who taught English in Japan for 3 years.. We walked along the pathway to the moat until we found the main palace. Along the way, Mike told different facts such as how the emperor still lived there today even though it’s such a tourist attraction. We pondered about if the emperor comes out to explore the city of if he just stayed in the whole time… We were just shocked at the fact that there’s so much land in such a busy city! Didn’t stop us from taking touristy pictures though!
Since we couldn’t go in to explore some more, we let Mike guide and he took us towards Tokyo station, one of the main stations in Japan for subways and trains. It was redone about 3 years ago and looked really modern. The interior kind of reminds me of Union Station in Los Angeles. We walked through it and took the subway to Asakusa. There, we walked through more street markets and stopped for an iced matcha drink which I ordered in my very broken Japanese. It tasted really fresh and slightly sweetened, but it didn’t taste artificial. Moving on towards the end of the street, we reached Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple. We took some time to explore– we walked up to the praying box and then around the temple where there were some simple gardens and mini waterfalls. Pretty nice for being in the middle of a huge city! We then walked back to the station because it was time for our dinner reservation!
Mike was nice enough to help us find our restaurant as it’s back in Harajuku so it was nice that he led the way. We got up to the fifth floor where Omotesando Ukai-Tei was and Mike dropped us off after helping us translate the reservation.
Once we were welcomed, we sat in the waiting area (like a rich person’s living room) until they called us to our table. We sat down with the rest of the guests in a long half circle table where individual chef stand behind a teppanyaki grill. We already got the Abalone and Ukai Selected Beef Course pre-fix menu so everything was already ordered. Since we forgot what was on the menu, we couldn’t wait to see what came out! Beautifully presented were small prawn marinated in jelly, fois gras, bonito marinated, steamed abalone, chilled onion soup, kobe beef and steamed rice with baby shrimp. Some of the dishes were prepared in the kitchen and some were right in front of us. Our own personal chef was nice enough to explain everything in English. All the food was exceptional and we were stuffed! But just when we thought the meal was over, they took us to another room, just to eat desserts! We had a choice of a blueberry chiffon cake and a melon ice cream so we got both for 2 people. They also came around with a dessert cart which we got to choose from petit fours. We ate everything including tea and coffee gazing into the skyline. While the meal was amazing, it was definitely the most I personally ever paid in 1 sitting which ended up to be about $250 (US). While the experience was fantastic, this was only going to happen very rarely and on vacation!
Not wanting to leave, we rolled out of the restaurant while one of their staff walked with us down the elevator and out the door to send us off. If that’s not good service, I don’t know what is! Off we go back to our hostel where we slept another night away.
Want to read more about this trip? Click below!
Japan Day 1 [Shanghai / Tokyo]
Japan Day 2 [Tokyo] Japan Day 3 [Tokyo] Japan Day 4 [Hakone] Japan Day 5 [Kyoto] Japan Day 6 [Kyoto/Nara] Japan Day 7 [Yamazaki / Osaka] Japan Day 8 [Tokyo] Japan Day 9 [Tokyo / Shanghai]