Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Japan trip Winter 2017 Part 4: Day 4 - Tokyo shopping, Imperial Palace & dinner with Yuni

We had a slightly more intensive Day 3, so Day 4 was meant to be a little more low key, especially since we hadn't been sure how exhausting Day 3 was going to be until we lived it lol. As it turns out, we weren't overly tired from visiting Jigokudani at all, although we did take Day 4 as an opportunity to just do a few things we wanted to do at our own pace!

My parents didn't sleep in much more than 07:30, and they decided to head over to Tsukiji Fish Market to eat fresh fish and do a little shopping.

I've been to Tsukiji two or three times already and I never really do anything of worth there (except for that one time I got extremely dehydrated and gave myself a huge headache), so I decided to skip that and sleep in an extra hour before leisurely getting ready and doing some shopping in the Shibuya area at my own pace.

I first hopped over to Tokyu Hands so I could look for some notebooks and Frixion refills for my boyfriend. I knew it would be warm in there, but because I had to climb 5 flights of stairs, by the time I got to the stationary stuff, I was practically sweating in my winter clothes wtf. I don't know how people can constantly adjust between outside cold and inside heating with the same layers.

I found what my bf wanted and picked up a few other things as well. One of my friends had brought me bad the panda version of this Memo Can and I really love it! I got a sheep one for myself and a bunny one for my dad's coworker who he had mentioned would like something like that. 

I still seemed to have quite a bit of time before my parents returned, so I made my way over to Shibuya 109. I actually needed a new pair of tights because I made a big hole in the new ones I bought when I put them on in the morning thanks to my fingernail -__-. Eventually found what I needed from Doll Kiss but also stopped at several other stores along the way!

In Liz Lisa, I stopped to ask if they had a strawberry ribbon barrette Berri wanted, but the Shibuya 109 location was sold out. The shop staff was kind enough to call the Harajuku and Shinjuku Alta locations and she mentioned that the Shinjuku store had just one left! Since I was planning to go to Shinjuku after meeting back up with my parents, I knew that was somewhere I wanted to go.

I had really taken my time looking through whatever store caught my eye in 109, so I figured my parents would be meeting me back at the apartment soon. On my way back, I stopped to get myself something to eat from 7-Eleven and then looked over what I had purchased on the trip so far.

My mom then notified me that they would be at least another hour, so I decided to chance it and try to pop over to the Shinjuku Alta Liz Lisa store to hopefully get the ribbon. 
I walked down to Shibuya station, caught the JR Yamanote line to Shinjuku and found my way to Alta only to find out that the remaining pink barrette had already sold, and it was no more than an hour after the Shibuya 109 staff had called FML. Not quick enough even though I specifically went down just for that!

By the time I had arrived in Shinjuku, my parents were already on their way back from Tsukiji and I had the only apartment key so I had raced over to Alta, just quickly asked for the barrette and failed and then quickly tried to get back on a Yamanote line train and dashed back to the apartment.
Turns out I was rushing for nothing but I didn't really want them waiting around just for me, especially since I didn't even get what I had left the apartment for -__-.

We all regrouped and then headed for Tokyo station because my mom wanted to see the Imperial Palace. My dad and I have already been to the grounds, so on past trips we usually let that fall to the wayside. Since we had plenty of free time on this day and wanted to check out that area anyway, it was the perfect time to go!
We caught a JR Yamanote line train from Shibuya to Tokyo station and exited from the Marunouchi Central exit to get to the Imperial Palace.

This is the historical side of Tokyo station and the façade is really interesting! It seems that they're doing some sort of construction just outside that side of the station, but there were a number of signs to help direct us to the Imperial Palace grounds in spite of that.

The skies were so sunny and clear this day! For some reason, I always forget that the weather can be extremely sunny and somehow the temperature is still cold lol.

We made our way to Nijyubashi which is something my parents had seen featured in another of the TV shows they watched and just kind of walked around that side of the grounds a bit.

There was actually some sort of race going on around the grounds of the palace, and we were able to see a number of runners finishing. We didn't feel like walking all the way around the palace, especially with how sunny it was, so after reaching Sakuradamon, we headed out back towards the station.

By that point, we were actually closer to Ginza station and JR Yurakacho station, so instead of walking all the way back to Tokyo station, we chose to just go to Yurakacho and catch it one stop back to Tokyo lol.

Once back at Tokyo station, we first wanted to stop for a snack. Thankfully there are a lot of options there! When we entered the basement area, there was a bakery right there with seating. No tables were available when we first walked in, but while we were browsing, one opened up.
Although a little on the expensive side, these pastries were really great. The staff even heated them up a bit for us.

We continued on our way and went to go look for Character Street. There were a few signs that were able to help us along the way and it was pretty clear when we arrived lol. I didn't get to take a lot of photos because we didn't stop in many of the stores and it was really crowded down there! There was some sort of meet and greet going on at the Monchichi store with a huge line.
The store we did stop at was the Kapibara san store. We've definitely fallen in love with this animal a bit and were hoping to see some on Day 5!

My mom made a few purchases and then we also stopped at a few other stores in Tokyo station to buy omiyage as well.
Also note: every bathroom we happened upon in Tokyo station had a huge line lmao.

We had plans to meet with my host-brother, Yuni, at 18:00 in Shibuya, so when it was just around 16:30, we knew we had to start making our way back because we also wanted to stop at Shinagawa station. There's a sugar kakimochi that my mom likes to buy and my dad also picked up some desserts for himself there. This is the station we're most familiar with because we usually stay in Shinagawa during our trips, but that was our first time stopping there during this one!

We made our way back to the apartment and dropped off our bags. We would have had to head straight back out, but Yuni messaged me that he was running a little late, so we had a bit more time.
We used that time to try and find the hotel where were would be catching the airport shuttle bus on Monday. We knew it was in the general direction of the station, but didn't want to have to deal with actually looking around for it when we were in a time crunch and had all of our bags.
Good thing we did the trial run because I was not able to find it with just Google maps wtf, and in fact, we did not find it before meeting up with Yuni near Shibuya station.

Hachiko is such a common meeting place that it took us a while to find each other lmao.
He didn't have anywhere in particular that he wanted to eat, so I suggested the pasta place that we almost always visit during our trips now. I think this one has been a staple since our 2014 trip actually lol. The location at the basement of 109 Men's was most convenient but only had smoking seats. Instead, the staff suggested that we try the other Shibuya location. It was about a 7 minute walk but this one was almost completely empty!
We had a nice dinner where we were just able to catch up and chat a little. Yuni is a university student in Tokyo now. My host mom is still back in Kobe, but she comes to visit him sometimes! He's an only child, so I think she gets lonely without him. I was so glad we were able to meet up quickly now that he's in Tokyo since we didn't have time to jot down to Kansai during this trip.

After saying goodbye to Yuni at Shibuya station, we first went back to figuring out from where the heck we were catching the airport shuttle. We finally realized that in order to get to Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu, we needed to go into Mark City and up to the 5th floor. We went to the lobby and the staff pointed out the bus stop to us (also on the 5th floor which is why we couldn't just randomly happen up on it).
After checking out the ticket and waiting room area, we discovered the fastest way to get there on our way down and out.

Since we still had a little bit of time, my mom wanted to revisit the area where the pasta restaurant was because she had seen a Can Do store there.
We shopped around in there a bit as well as the other Can Do, Daiso, drugstore and Don Quixote in the area. My dad wanted to look for a specific cord for his camera so he went in search of that at the Apple store and Bic Camera and met us back at the apartment where we called it a night.

Although this wasn't the most eventful day on paper, I think it's necessary to have a slow pace day amongst the more high key ones on a vacation, so you don't get tired so much even on just a 6-day trip. I had purposefully planned for this to be a little less go-go-go after our full day out in Nagano on Day 3 and our soon-to-be full day out on Day 5! It was nice to just walk around without much of a schedule and having to worry about catching a particular train, but also stop for a bit and catch up with Yuni. It was also good to have the opportunity to look for our airport shuttle stop since it wasn't as intuitive as I would have expected. All in all, an enjoyable, leisurely day.

Japan trip Winter 2017
    Part 1: Arrival and Day 1 - Tokyo errands, Ebony/Liz Lisa & Shiodome Caretta Illumination
    Part 2: Day 2 - Yokohama NOAH Inner City Zoo, Knot, Chinatown & Machida 109
    Part 3: Day 3 - Nagano Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park & Omiya
    Part 4: Day 4 - Tokyo shopping, Imperial Palace & dinner with Yuni
    Part 5: Day 5 - Shizuoka Izu Cactus Park (Capybara onsen!) & Mount Omuro
    Part 6: Day 6 - Last minute shopping, Ameyoko & Harajuku
    Part 7: Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases/coordinates
    Part 8: Travel Notes - Airbnb, Pupuru pocket wifi & weather
    Part 9: What's in my bag - Japan trip edition

Japan trip Spring 2016 posts
Japan trip Autumn 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. omg the foooooood *_* I'm glad you got to meet up with your host family again! that must have been nice to see them again!

    1. I was a really lackluster when hanging out with them (it's actually just a mother and her son) during the study abroad but I'm so happy they keep in touch and I always like to try to meet with them if I/they have time! It's also good because they can speak English really well so I don't have to fumble for words all the time too lol.

  2. Ahaha, sorry for making you run around TT_TT Lol. At least you had time to wonder around and shop at your own pace. XD I love sight seeing on holiday but it's nice to have a relaxing day you can do things at your own pace too :D