Nihon (that’s how you say Japan in Japanese) wa!
I discovered Terrace House (the best Japanese reality TV show ever!) a couple years ago and I have been OBSESSED with Japan since. Through Terrace House, I discovered that not only did I love Japanese food, I also loveddd their culture. I’ve always wanted to go, but I decided this year that, I MUST go! (shoutout Torichan, my fave Yamachan and the rest of the hosts)
So I planned and decided we would visit Tokyo and Kyoto.. amazing is an understatement. I’m doing this in two posts because there is just so much to say (and eat and do and see).
So we arrived Tokyo Narita International Airport on a Tuesday evening and after going through immigration and getting our bags, the first thing we saw was this ad:
If you’re not Nigerian or African you may not get why this is funny, but it is. Turns out Toto is the no. 1 toilet brand in Japan and I have decided that I will be having several (okay, maybe just one) toto washlets in my future home (Insha Allah). Japanese toilets have heated seats, motion sensors that open the lid when you walk into the loo, and internal bidets/streams that wash your bum when you’re done. Amazing! There are buttons with which you can decide what volume of water you want, water pressure and whether you want it to aim at your front or back. I. Was. Amazed!
Okay, that was a lot.. but did you even go to Japan if you didn’t speak about the toilets? ICYMI I love Toto washlet 💛
Ameerkat tip no. 1: If you can, fly into Haneda airport. It takes over an hour to get into the city from Narita, Haneda is a lot closer.
Ameerkat tip no. 2: Don’t use uber. Tokyo is the first city I’ve been to where local taxis are cheaper than Uber.. they only have Uber BLACK and Uber BLACK Vans. No Uber X here because we fancy. By the wayy Tokyo is EXPENSIVE. So, just be ready. By the way, the metro is really easy to use and efficient, so maybe stick to the metro if you don’t want to spend all your money on cabs.
Got to the hotel, had dinner and crashedddd.
Next day we were up bright and early, it was time for a city tourrr. Fun fact, when I was younger my Dad would make us go on city tours every time we visited a new city and I HATED it. But now I loveeee, imagine me going to a new city and not doing a tour??? Nevurrr (shoutout Baba).
Places we visited included:
Asakusa/ Senso-ji temple - Tokyo’s oldest temple:
Fun fact: the gold building above is the Asahi headquarters. The building is designed to look like a glass of beer. Sugoiii ne!
Akihabara - Area known for tech and anime (and yummy street food)
Had a creme brulee from the donut place. It was divineeeee
Imperial palace gardens
Ameerkat tip no. 3: Visit Japan in the spring or autumn. It’s really hot and humid in the summer and the humidity is not nice at all plus it rains a lot. Added bonus of going in spring/autumn is that you get to see the beautiful cherry blossoms. (At the imperial palace gardens for example)
Tokyo Tower and Omotesando, where we went to this really serious coffee shop. Very serious.
Shibuya crossing/ Shibuya.
Fun fact: The dog statue is of Hachiko. He was a very loyal Japanese dog, whose owner died but then he continued coming to the same spot to wait for him for 9 years after he died. There’s even a movie starring Richard Gere which is based on the story of Hachiko.
We also had an Omakase sushi lunch at Sushiko. Omakase is basically when you let the chef choose your order. Everything was amazing! It was like sushi theatre, must-do in Japan!
Day 2 was an exploration day, I dragged my siblings to this café called Maruyama Coffee, great coffee! I discovered that Japanese coffee shops take their coffee very seriously and a lot of coffee shops don’t do fancy lattes cappucinos etc. It’s just coffee, iced or hot, with or without milk. If you’re a person whose coffee order is an iced skinny vanilla soy latte with half a pump of caramel, quarter pump of hazelnut with whipped cream and an extra shot of espresso - please pleaseee don’t go here, just stick to Starbucks.
We strolled around Omotesando, Shibuya and sort of made our way towards Harajuku (with many stops on the way) E.g. Happy pancake for those fluffy pancakes, a department store where shoes were not allowed in the fitting rooms and they gave you this face cover thing so your make up didn’t get on the clothes (This is a thing in all Japanese shops!!), Afuri for ramen, and Takeshita street! Takeshita street is the home of all things kawaiiiiiiii 😊
Day 3 I was on the hunt for soba. Soba = buckwheat noodles, it’s usually eaten cold with like a sauce thing (see picture below). Japanese people love their soba so I had to try it obv. Very nice and refreshing on a hot summers day.
After this we went to find the largest Uni Qlo in the world (12 floors), did a bit of shopping in the Ginza area and then ended up at the so-called ‘must see’ Robot restaurant.
Let me pause here to tell you this is not a must-see or must-anything. Skip it. I was expecting/ it was described as dinner with a robot show. It was not dinner and it was not a robot show. That is all I will say. Just don’t bother.
Ameerkat tip no. 4: Do not waste your money on the Robot restaurant. It is a tourist trap. Just. No.
I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, but pizza in Tokyo is sublime. There’s this show called Ugly Delicious on Netflix (if you love food, watch it). Antonio Pace, President of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was on it and he said ‘Last year I was in Japan, and I told our Japanese members that I was pleased for the extremely high level of their product. But please stop improving, because, if you make pizza better than we do I’ll get really angry’ 😂.
There were two spots that I wanted to try Savoy and Seirinkan. Decided to go to Savoy because it was walking distance from our hotel. They only had two flavours, margarita and marinara. They were both sooo delicious!!! They make the pizza right in front of you. It maybe took 3 minutes from start to mouth lol. Margarita is my go to for pizza but I have never ordered Marinara (because no cheese duh) but the marinara was sooo good!! Need to go to Naples so I can compare, but honestly it was one of the best, if not the best pizza I’ve ever had. (Update: went to Naples. Tried the pizza. Tokyo > Naples by a mile)
For dinner we had Yakinikuuuu, Japanese BBQ, at Yoroniku. Delicious! So Delicious! It was a bit too much meat for me and I tapped out halfway through, but if you’re a meat lover you have to do this. The most succulent, tender, delicious beef cuts.
Hakone is a town about 2 hours away from Tokyo and it’s where you go if you want to see the famous Mount Fuji. Unofrtunately we went on a cloudy day so we weren’t able to see the mountain but it was a lovely day out. We did this boat cruise thing and had lunch at a traditional Japanese hotel restaurant, the kind where you have to take your shoes off. The hotel had the most beautiful traditional Japanese garden.
Back in Tokyo we went to the teamLab exhibition at the Mori Digital Art Museum. This is definitely a must-see/do. Super cool exhibition where they used lights and digital art to create these amazing rooms and installations. The forest of resonating lamps and the crystal world were my two faves. The pictures reaallyy don’t do it justice
Nobu nobu nobu nobu nobu. Nobu Matsuhisa is the Japanese chef behind the Nobu restaurants, so obvi we had to go to Nobu in Japan. Everything was amazing (duh). Must haves: sushi (duh), signature dish - black cod (duh) and the burger with buns made out of tofu.
We went to Kyoto (diff post) for 3 days and then came back to Tokyo for our last day. On the last day I went to the Yayoi Kusama museum (it was smaller than I expected) but I really enjoyed the exhibition, then went to Korea town.
Our last few days in Japan I got really overwhelmed and anxious because it finally dawned on me why every internet person says 2 weeks is not enough for Tokyo. We started discovering places and things that we hadn’t done and it was like panic modeeee how do we do all this in like a day????? Korea town was one of them and Odaiba (still mad at our tour guide for not mentioning this place to us) was the second one. Anyway went to Korea town, had some Gimbap and tteokboki and panic bought Korean skincare products and snacks.
Didn’t have enough time to explore Odaiba properly unfortunately, but it’s top of my list for next time insha Allah ;).
Fun (annoying) fact: My skin HATED Japan, I felt so betrayed. I got really dry, dark patches all over my face. I normally have oily skin so it was really confusing. So that’s the only thing I disliked this whole trip. .. My skin is actually an op, just realised I also had really bad skin in Spain and Spain is top 2. What a bitch.
Anywayyyy Kyoto post, coming soon. Hope you enjoyed reading <3
P.S. My last post was a year ago???? Wow, I should be flogged.
P.P.S. What do you think about all my Asian lewkkssss? I was really feeling the fashion