DAY 10 (CON’T)
Thought of getting a coffee + doughnut at the Kripy Kreme outlet at Southern Terrace City but the quene was so long that I dropped the idea instataneously! After finishing with photo taking, decided to get indoors instead to the huge Takashimaya Times Square to do some shopping at Tokyu Hands and pick up some food at the basement food hall as well.
It was around 8.30pm, and being a weekend, 8pm was also the closing time for most major department stores in Japan. So only managed to walk through 1 floor of Tokyu Hands before the doors closed at 8.30pm sharp! Since that was the case, walked back to Shinjuku Station …… and instead of heading to Shibuya as per my original plan, ended up instead on the Chuo line platform. The Chuo Line (Rapid) service will bring me to Tokyo Station in 15 min as it is an express service that only stops at 4 stops!
Main task to do at Tokyo Station – get Tokyo Banana as omiyage for the gang + also to get dinner at Maisen (since Maisen has an outlet at Daimaru Yaesu right beside Tokyo Station). Managed to locate the same Select Market shop that I was at yesterday without too much difficulty (as it is right in the centre section of the station) and promptly got my Tokyo Banana. Had a bit of trouble locating the lift to 12F …… and promptly kept walking round and round Yaesu exit for a good 20 min before deciding its probably wiser to give up searching rather than waste more time searching and end up even hungrier (like what happened the day before at Yokohama/Odaiba).
Shimbashi, being just 2 stops away on the JR Yamanote Line, was a safe bet for dinner as many food outlets open late there (as per my research last night). Instead of getting out of the Shiodome Gate like I did yesterday (to get to the Yurikamome Line), got out instead at the Hibiya exit as that was the place where most of the food outlets/shops are. Right at the Hibiya exit was a huge open space called the Shimbashi Station SL Square. There was a life size model of a huge SL (steam locomotive) right outside …… Similar to the famous Hachiko Statue at Shibuya, this is also a popular meeting spot for many people in Shimbashi itself.
At the same time, there was also an illumination right at SL Square. Very small scale as the illumination is mainly concentrated on the locomotive …… but the colours were very nice, and in a way, it sort of made up for missing out on the Caretta Illumination last night.
Sidenote: As I write this now, it only occured to me that Shiodome was within walking distance to Shimbashi as well. Which means I could have gotten a quick dinner, then walk over to Shiodome. Duh!
Walked 1 round along the shops, narrowed down on 2 ramen shops – one of which had a small quene, while the other had tonkotsu based ramen that cost 500 JPY only …… Until I spotted Tenya right across the road. Tenya is a fast food chain specialising in tempura, and my stomach could do with something warm, and can’t go quite wrong with tempura as well 😛
Ordered the most basic 500 JPY prawn tempura with rice set. It looks small in the picture, but the portions were aplenty full, and very filling and satisfying. Now I recall that I actually jotted down Tenya (the outlet @ Akihabara) as one of the food places to try, only to forget about it as more to-do items cropped up 😛 …… So am really glad that I got to try this tempura entirely by chance 🙂
It was already close to 1030pm and so its time to make my way back to Hamamasutcho and to hotel for a much needed shower, start packing my shopping loot into my luggage (spare bag) and do some research for tommorrow’s itinerary at the hotel lobby. One last thing before I entered the station – a live ‘show’ of sorts right at the locomotive model in SL Square! Pretty interesting and stood
Despite the hiccups (1st the camera, then the horrible traffic at Lake Kawaguchiko) that threw my plans into slight array, most important I got a clear close up view of Mount Fuji (that I wasn’t able to see back in Hakone) …… and my evening turned out to be much better than expected thanks to my unplanned exploration of Shinjuku (west side of station + Southern Terrace City), got some of the major shopping (Tokyo Banana, Fancl) ticked off …… and a nice filling tempura dinner and beautiful christmas illumination at Shimbashi!