Note : conversion rate of RM 35.64 = ¥ 1,000
If you have not read the main article on our Tokyo Trippin’ adventure for only RM 3,000/pax for 7D6N, read here!
Tokyo Station (東京駅), Tokyo
Beautiful scenery and 1.5 hours later, we got off the bus stop nearby Tokyo Station. After wondering around, we so stumbled into First Avenue Tokyo, which houses the famous Tokyo Ramen Street (東京ラーメンストリート). All the famous ramen stores are located here. This was in our itinerary, so imagine our joy when we found it! 😀
Navigating our way around was a breeze, we reached the famous Tokyo Ramen Street at roughly 1000 hours.
Roughly about 8-10 ramen shops are housed along this street. Our one and only aim : Head to Rokurinsha (六厘舎). Period.
This place came highly recommended by gNOMe 1’s brother, who makes it a point to visit this place every trip to Tokyo. They only open at 1100 hours after a break, so we thought we were early. NOT! Anyway, if you so happen to have luggages with you, the store attendant will keep them safe for you. Besides, who steals in Japan anyway.
The queue snaked from the front door all the way back. People were queuing for a bowl of ramen/tsukemen Rokurinsha has to offer. There were roughly 70 people in front of us (yes, we counted!) and most are locals with a handful of tourists. 🙂 Now, let the pictures speak for themselves!
Ramen (ラーメン) [¥ 900] [RM 32.00]
What’s Japan without starting your first meal of the day with a bowl of Ramen? Armed with only knowledge of both Hiragana and Katakana, the gNOMes managed to place orders at the vending machine *phew*! 😀 The meal was served instantly as well. The first bowl of ramen in Japan had to be a good one, and it was! Thick pork bone broth, generous servings of tender chashu (roast pork), and a full ajitama (flavored egg) made this a wonderful start. The flavors were simply out of this world. The sweetness of the pork bone base soup made it a very intense affair.
Tsukemen (つけめん) [¥ 930] [RM 33.20]
Known as dipping noodles, Tsukemen threatens to dethrone Ramen as the king of Japanese noodles as it continues to be popular among the younger generation. The method of eating is simple: place the dipping bowl in front of you, dip the generous serving of noodles into the intense broth, and finally, slurp away. At first slurp, ramen was instantly dethroned as the king of noodles. A rich broth packed full of flavors coats the noodles to deliver a unique culinary experience.
Verdict : Our ramen induction was indeed an epic one! Much was promised, more was delivered. Intensity and loud slurping is the order of the day! Slurp away and thank us later.
Address : Tokyo Station Ichibangai B1, Tokyo Ramen Street, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Contact Number : +81 3 3286 0166
Opening Hours : DAILY. 0700 hours till 1000 hours. 1100 hours till 2200 hours.
Akihabara (秋葉原), Tokyo
Being the up-to-date-cannot-live-without-wifi-type-of-people-we-are, we have decided to rent a portable wifi throughout our stay here in Tokyo. We were recommended to rent portable wifi with this local company, Wifi Rental Store.
It’s roughly about ¥ 450 per day (if you get the Y!mobile wifi plan), with the current exchange rate of RM 35.64 = ¥ 1,000, RM 16 a day of wifi ain’t that bad (we were billed on average RM 21/day for the rental taking into account conversion rate and credit card charges). We rely heavily on google maps when we travel, to get us to places. And yes, we walk a lot! What’s a better way to immerse yourself deep in their culture besides seeing how a typical Japanese’s day goes by?
Renting a portable for this company is really simple, place your orders over the internet and choose methods on how to collect them. You can get them delivered to your hotel, delivered at the airport or collect at their main HQ. Delivery at the hotel & airport will cost you a meagre fee.
So being the adventurous (and kiam siap) us, we decided to collect from the main HQ in Akihabara, the electric town! How hard could that be right? But boy, were we lost! Nevertheless, our 1.5-hour “Electric-town Epic” ended (thankfully!) when we managed to stumble upon a kind soul who actually walked us to the shop himself. What’s more, we even managed a conversation full of laughter in glorious broken Japanese! (Thank you, Takahashi-sensei!) 😛
With the wifi with us, it was time to paint the town red! 😀
*it’s recommended to charge the cost back to your credit card, so you’ll have more cash on hand 😉
Cost : ¥ 3,150 [RM 112.30]
Note : Total cost renting the wifi for 7 days was RM 112.30, if you have more friends to split the cost with, the cheaper it gets! 🙂
Shinjuku Sanchome (新宿三丁目), Tokyo
In the evening we decided to head to Shinjuku Sanchome, after hearing that there are a lot of good finds there. In terms of food of course! Besides food, one can actually explore this area which contains interesting attractions like Maid Cafe, Robot Cafe etc. If that’s your
fetish thing 🙂 We skipped those, and focused more on finding hole-in-the-wall eateries for our dinner.
Et voila!, we found this.
Glorious, hole-in-the-wall Yakitori bar! 😀 Very small shop, packed with locals and the smell of BBQ filled the air, so why not?
Was greeted by the waiter, sat us down and immediately served us 2 draft Kirin Beers. 😀 After a game of sign language, mostly involving a lot of pointing and nodding, we were left playing yakitori Russian Roulette. Fortunately, every single food item dished out did not disappoint.
The bottom left picture in the collage above shows what is probably the best version of pig’s stomach the gNOMes have ever had. It was a cold dish, but the tare (sauce) was on the sourish and savory side, the perfect buddy for an ice-cold mug of Kirin beer.
Yakitori set (やきとり) [¥ 2,320] [RM 82.70]
The yakitori here is of course, not to be mistaken for the typical ones we get outside of Japan. Barbequed to perfection, retaining its tenderness and juiciness, the leek and onion combination provides a tinge of spice and freshness, while the teriyaki sauce is like no other we’ve come across. YUMS!
Verdict : Eating off the beaten trail may just be one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. In the case of Japan, one will rarely be disappointed by the food on offer. Just be prepared to splurge a little, wet your beak a little, and you may find yourself in banter with slightly tipsy but friendly locals who frequent these Izakaya, an experience not to be missed.
How to get there : One of those eateries in Shinjuku Sanchome. Get off Shinjuku Sanchome station if you commute via the train.
Even after our meal, we were still scouring for food. Bumped into Matsuya, and decided to have Gyudon. Fast food chains like Yoshinoya, Sukiya and Matsuya dishes our hassle free and yummy Gyudon. Not only are they cheap, food is served at blazing speeds, are tasty and appetizing.
Gyudon (牛丼) [¥ 330] [RM 11.80]
Verdict : Generous portions of thin beef slices and wonderful sauce. A hot meal for a cold day/night for the budget traveler. A takeaway option is also available for those on the move. These fast food beef chains may just be the best friend you and your wallet could have at times.
How to get there : Matsuya’s almost in every nook and corner in Tokyo. If you don’t see Matsuya, there’s always Sukiya or Yoshinoya.
So that marks the end of our 1st Day in Tokyo. Keep an eye out for Part 2!