Notebook

Steph Does Japan: Highlights and Recommendations

A dream of mine has always been to travel to Japan. It’s a trip that I never imagined would become a reality, but after carefully stalking YYZdeals.com for months, all the cards fell into place and I found myself on a flight to Tokyo at the end of April 2017. 

I arrived at Narita airport after a gruelling 13 hour flight on Ana Airlines. I took a local train for 1,300¥ ($14.68CAD) and just over an hour later I arrived at Shibuya Crossing where my Airbnb was conveniently placed. 

After arriving safe and sound, I  knew I only had 5 days to enjoy Tokyo before moving on to the second leg of my trip. I tried to fit everything I wanted to do into the few days I had. As a result, the following is a list of my Tokyo standouts and recommendations!

 

Robot Show 

Don’t leave Tokyo without going to see this incredible show. It’s definitely a tourist trap, but I had the time of my life either way. I would describe it as Medieval Times with dancing robots. 

 

French Patisserie Gontran Cherrier

I had some of the best french and french inspired pastries in Japan. Gentian Cherrier has two locations, one in Shibuya and one in Shinjuku. You’re bound to see one and I highly recommend stepping in for a coffee or tea. They carried french classics with a twist including crusty squid ink baguettes, matcha croissants and anchovy olive buns. 

 

Ueno Park 

This beautiful park is scattered with shrines, exhibits and patches of grass perfect for picnics and people watching. I paid 700¥ ($7.90CAD) to see a gorgeous peony garden exhibit. Worth every penny. 

Tokyo’s Little Korea 

Seoul is another city I’ve dreamed of visiting for years. When I heard that Tokyo’s Little Korea was as reminiscent as you can get without actually visiting Korea I had to squeeze in a visit. Streets were crowded and filled with Korean Skincare and beauty stores. K-Pop inspired restaurants and signs for cheesy fire chicken is all I saw. I highly recommend visiting this neighbourhood for a taste of Korea in Japan. 

 

Owl Cafe 

The Owl Cafe was by reservation only, a little room filled with over 50 owls big and small. You were able to choose an owl to hang out with and photograph. Naturally, I chose the biggest one in the room. 

Daikanyama Log Road 

Daikanyama is a beautiful and high-end neighbourhood with plenty of shopping, beautiful bars and delicious restaurants. The neighbourhood is spotlessly clean, the people are well dressed and the Spring Valley Brewery is a must try. I ventured into Daikanyama to find the A.P.C Surplus store and ended up spending my whole day exploring. 

T's Tan Tan at Tokyo Station

From the moment I landed in Tokyo I knew I was on a mission to find the perfect vegan ramen. I knew it was not going to be an easy task, but I had to try. I ventured to the absolutely overwhelming Tokyo Station (busiest train station in Japan) and found waiting at the end of an hour long line the most delicious soup I've ever tasted.