- Shinkansen Train Ride
- Emblem Hostel Nishiarai
- Ichiran Shibuya
- Don Quijote
- Dinner with Saki & Thanh
Bittersweet because it was our last full day in Japan, we headed to the train station bright and early in the morning to catch the train back to Tokyo. We found our platform relatively quickly and went into a convenience store to buy some breakfast for the train. At this point, we weren’t stressing out too much because we reserved our seats the day before so we didn’t have to worry about whether or not we were going to find spots, especially with all our luggage.
I was planning to sleep that whole train ride since we woke up so early BUT, as we were talking about dropping our luggage off at the hostel, we realized that I booked it near the wrong airport! I booked it near Narita when were flying out of Handa. Oops! So I spent my time trying to do some damage control, but it was too late to cancel so we decided to eat the money and book another hostel in Tokyo near a train line, since we have to get on at 5am the next day. There wasn’t many rooms left, especially at a cheap rate, but I luckily found one and quickly booked it. I then proceeded to eat my breakfast and take a nap for the rest of the train ride.
We finally arrived at Shibuya station and intended to find a locker to put all our luggage in. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any available so we debated what to do. We settled on dropping it off at our hostel, even though it would waste an hour. We headed to Emblem Hostel Nishiarai, which was really hard to find because there was no apparent sign, not even in Japanese. We had to go into a convenience store to ask and it turns out it was right next to where we were standing. As we headed in, the guy yelled at us to take off our shoes. He then totally old school checked us in with a paper and pen. The place was really old and worn out and just from my interaction and being in the place, I had a bad vibe, but I guess what can you do about a last minute deal. We dropped off our stuff and headed back to Shibuya for lunch.
Though we ate a ton of ramen on this trip already, I really wanted to go to the ones with the individual booth. We set off to find Ichiran Shibuya, which was in the basement of the building. We had to choose the portion and toppings from the vending machines and luckily it was in English. Then we looked at the electronic map to see where all the free seating was. We found 2 next to each other and went through the curtain. When we sat down, they gave us another sheet where we chose the noodle thickness, broth heaviness, etc. That was not in English and we tried to use Google translate, but it didn’t work that well so we asked. We only waited for a little bit and all the food started arriving. The interesting thing is there is a curtain separating us and the server so we don’t see each other at all. However, even though it was a place to eat individually, everyone was talking to each other.
Anyway, onto the ramen. It was seriously the best ramen I’ve had! The broth was absolutely perfect with flavor but not overly salty or fatty. The noodles were firm and al dente, just the way I like them. The pork was tender with just the right amount of fat to get that porky melt in your mouth feel and not the I feel guilty for eating thing. I don’t even know how many times during the meal I said “this is so good!”. Afterwards I contemplated buying a box but decided against it because it wouldn’t be the same. I’ll just have the memories.
Well, we can’t end a meal without dessert so we found a melon pan ice cream place that claims Americans love it! It was basically a slightly sweet bread like pastry that had ice cream in it. We got green tea and one pineapple/vanilla ice cream. It was pretty good, but not knock our socks off fantastic. The ice cream was refreshing because it was hot and the slice of pineapple with vanilla ice cream the girl recommended was surprisingly tasty.
When we finished, we headed toward our main attraction of the day, Don Quijote, which is like the Walmart or Target of Japan. Even better, this one was a mega store! There was 9 levels and we literally spent about 2-3 hours going through every single level to see what kind of souvenirs we wanted to buy. Mine of course consisted of a lot of food and candy. I also got 2 pairs of chopsticks since I only had one pair in my apartment. I got some dried squid and nuts for my family. I also bought a mini backpack that’s popular in Asia, which was perfect, but too bad I bought it at the end of the trip and couldn’t use it in Japan. Oh well, i’ve been needing a new one for a while.
I pretty much grabbed whatever was unique to Japan such as green tea and their dried fish. When we were done, we went back to a couple more floors to see if we missed anything. Then we proceeded to stand in a long ass line where all the foreigners were trying to get all their stuff tax free, just like us. We stood in line for about 45-60 minutes waiting for our chance to pay. When we finally got there, they asked what we were going to take back, since they needed to wrap everything up into duty free bags. We pretty much wrapped up everything.
It was time to meet my college friends for dinner! We waited yet again by the dog statue in front of Shibuya station and waited for them while they were running late. Saki came first and of course, hugs were given! She then called a couple yakitori places to see how long the wait was. We then yelped one and just decided to go. On the way, we stashed all the items we bought in a locker and headed to the restaurant. Saki went inside a popular one to put her name down. We looked across the street and there was another yakitori place, but it was empty so we decided against it. Then, Thanh arrived (still hungover) and Saki got both of them drinks from 7-11 to get the party started and bought me and my travel buddy her favorite candies. We caught up as we waited.
When we finally sat down, we sat with a group of other people in a long table. We started with the drinks and ordered plum wine which was sweet and delicious! They we ordered a variety of yakitori and they came out slowly as we savor each one. Saki was so drunk, she decided to talk to to the guys next to us and one of them even fed her! When they were done, she asked them if they were going to finish the food and they weren’t so she ate it! Atta girl!
It was time to end the night because we had a super early flight to catch so we all walked to the subway station together and hopped on different trains. Exhausted, we arrived back at our hostel lobby and portioned out all the stuff we bought into our suitcases. Luckily, I brought an extra bag so everything fit! It was super awkward doing it in front of the front desk person though because we were getting stared down. We then proceeded to the different floors of our hostel to catch about 4 hours of sleep before we woke up to catch our flight. This hostel was really old and it was capsule hotel, but they had these big old school clunky TVs in them and you can smell the smoke of people smoking. They only had 1 bathroom for all the women and it was so small and cramped. Thank goodness I was only there for a night because it was not welcoming at all!
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]