DAY 8 (CON’T)
Reached Shinagawa station around 630pm. Nothing much to ‘see’ as the sky would have darkened by then. Tried to hunt for the JR ticket office to get the JR Kanto Pass + reserve my train tickets to Mount Fuji for the next day (Friday) …. but wasn’t able to locate the office as Shinagawa station is so big. Thus decided to proceed straight to Hamamasutcho (via the JR Yamanote Line) and to hotel to check-in and put down my luggage.
This is where my irritation starts to creep in. Looked through the map on Hotel Villa Fontaine’s website and exited the station at the south exit.Walked all the way till the end, only saw STAIRS and zero escalators …… Which means I have got to lug my luggage down the stairs! After carrying my heavy luggage down the stairs, I ended up at a tunnel!! A tunnel where trains travel on top! Goodness!!
Walked on further and managed to see a supermarket, and so went in to ask for directions on how to get to Villa Fontaine. Walked out to the main road, spotted a Lawson’s (as directed by supermarket guy), but couldn’t locate the hotel behind the Lawson’s! So after walking along the road rolling my luggage like a headless chicken, walked back and went into Lawson’s this time round to ask for directions …. again! The china worker manning the cashier seems equally blur as well, sigh …… But finally found Hotel Villa Fontaine Hamamasutcho after following a small sign and walked 2 streets in. When you have a hotel’s frontage facing an apartment block (rather than a main road), plus unclear directions from the hotel’s website itself, it is very little surprise that the place is hard to find.
Checked-in and rested in my room for a short while before heading out again – this time to get the JR Kanto Pass + make reservations for the train to Mount Fuji. Walked back to Hamamasutcho – but instead of walking back out to the main road, walked straight across and ended back in front of Toshiba Building – which is just right at the South Exit of the station! Bravo! Saw a JR ticket office at Hamamasutcho and decided to reserve the Fuji tickets there …… only to be told that they don’t do reservations of tickets at the office ? Strange (miscommunication perhaps) …… so wasted 15 min there and decided to head to Shinagawa station (2 stops away on JR Yamanote Line). Wondered is it that my brain is not thinking right as I ended on the wrong platform …… and back on the other side of the Yamanote Line and to Tokyo Station instead!
Went to the resevations office (Marunouchi side) …… and promptly bought the JR Kanto Pass (to be used over the remaining 3 days in Tokyo and outlying areas before departing Tokyo on Monday morning). It was a good thing that I went Tokyo Station instead as not only they close later, there were also more English speaking staff there, and I managed to pick up some very handy information on Fuji Five Lakes and Karuizawa (was considering to go there for a day trip but ultimately abandoned the plan). Then made the 2nd strange decision of the night (must be the stupid stairs climbing that is messing with my brain and causing all these laspes of judgement) – reserved my train tickets to Fuji Five Lakes for Saturday 24th instead of Friday (next day) as I decided I wanted to sleep in a bit instead rather than waking up early to get to Shinjuku to do the 2 leg journey to Fuji Five Lakes.
Got that done and was feeling thirsty (bottle of mineral water finished as well) and so decided to hunt for a place at Tokyo Station to sit down for a drink + maybe a dessert/snack as well (not really that hungry after eating so much sushi on the Shinkansen). Ended up walking rounds around Tokyo Station after trying to look for this restaurant that serves beer (which I saw on Day 1) …… before coming back to Gran Roof (Yaesu side of the station) and to this small Italian eatery that I came across on Day 1 as well – Vittorio Pomodoro Tsukiji.
Decided to just settle down here for a cold ice-lemon tea (to quench my thirst) + since the pastas here were very reasonably priced at 780 JPY, no harm ordering one to try as well despite not being that hungry 😛
Very very long 25 min wait for my tomato soup clam pasta (its either they kind of forgot my order or just took their time to cook it, which is not a bad thing) while I occupied myself reading the literature on Fuji Five Lakes that I have gotten from the JR office. Even I am surprised by myself for being so patient and not complaining/losing my temper, heh …… Thankfully it turned out to be the latter as it was piping hot (as what I needed for a proper late dinner), the tomato soup was really delicious and the pasta al dente! Vittorio Pomodoro Tsukiji is probably very under-rated but this definitely gets my thumbs up, as far as Japanese style pasta go ……
Spotted another outlet of Vittorio Pomodoro right at the other end of the food street. This outlet is more spacious, and serves a more upmarket menu ……
Tired and didn’t feel like going anywhere else so took the train back to hotel. On my way back, it was Yutaka Takenouchi galore all over JR trains (most likely Roots Coffee bought all advertising slots on JR) 😛
Sprayed too much air freshener in the room, and room smelt funny – another case of dubious judgement (the 3rd in the night) …… Unlike the last 3 hotels I stayed (Hotel Kinki, Kobe Meriken Park Oriental, First Cabin Kyoto), Villa Fontaine does not have wifi in the room. So showered, channel surfed a bit (same as last Thursday back in Tokyo, it was Dokushin Kizoku showing on Fuji TV) …… and then went down to the lobby to use the wifi, check my whatsapp and do some research for tommorrow’s plan (now that I decided to go Fuji Five Lakes on Saturday instead) ……