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T O K Y O 2015

By 12:24 , ,


Hello! I'm back from my Tokyo trip with mum and we had a great time! I planned the itinerary so as expected there's lotsa vegan food and shopping in it... but I also added in some scenic spots and one museum haha. We also went on a day tour to Mt. Fuji's fifth station and to pick grapes! 


Itinerary

DATE DAY TIME PLAN
23-Oct Fri 4+pm Arrival at Narita Airport
5pm Take NEX to Shinjuku Station
7pm (Walk) Find Airbnb
8pm (Walk) Dinner somewhere nearby & explore area
24-Oct Sat 11.30pm (Jimbocho station) Lunch at Loving Hut
1pm (Asakusa station) Nakamise Dori
5.30pm (Shinjuku-sanchome) Dinner at Ain Soph Journey
25-Oct Sun 11am (Harajuku station) Earth Day market
1pm (Walk) Meiji Jingu
2pm (Walk) Takeshita Dori, Omotesando Street
5.30pm (Walk/Otomesando station) Dinner at Crayon House
8pm (Shinjuku station) Shopping at Bic Camera/Uniqlo
26-Oct Mon 9am (Oshiage station) Tokyo Skytree
12nn (Asakusa station) Lunch at Sekai Café
1.30pm (Walk) Kappabashi Kitchen Town
3.30pm (Ueno station) Ameyoko
5pm (Walk) 2k540 Aki Oka Artisan/Chabara
6pm (Walk/Akihabara station) Pre-dinner at random conveyor belt sushi place
7pm (Shibuya station) Dinner at Hang Out
8.30pm (Walk) Shopping at Loft
27-Oct Tue 11.30am (Walk) Lunch at Lima Café
1.30pm (Tokyo station) KITTE building (Intermediatique museum)
2.40pm (Walk) Skybus tour (Tokyo Tower-Rainbow Bridge Course)
3.30pm (Walk) Character street/Okashi land
4.30pm (Walk) Early dinner at T's TanTan
6.30pm (Shibuya station) Shopping
28-Oct Wed 10am (Otomesando station) Breakfast at Pure Café
12nn (Walk) Lunch at 8ablish
1.30pm (Shin-okubo station) Korea Town
3.30pm (Walk) Back to apartment
7.30pm (Shinjuku) Dinner at Ain Soph Journey
29-Oct Thur 7.50am Grape-picking & Mt. Fuji 5th Station day tour
7pm (Walk) Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
30-Oct Fri 9am (Walk) Breakfast at Inaho
11.30am (Shimokitazawa station) Lunch at Chabuton
2pm (Shibuya station) Tokyu Hands
6pm (Yoyogi-uehara station) Dinner at Asahi Soba
31-Oct Sat 11am (Walk) Lunch at Coco Ichibanya
12.10pm Take NEX to Narita Airport
6+pm Flight

Recommendations and reviews from HappyCow, Bon Voyage Vegan and japanvegan were super helpful in planning this itinerary! I'll be blogging about some of the places we've been to and I'll link it to this itinerary above.

We also met 6 of mum's Japanese friends (about 1 or 2 on most days). Sounds like a lot for a barely 9 day trip but thankfully they agreed to eat with us at the places already in the itinerary. ^^ 


Here's a list of vegan and vegan-friendly places by area - it'll be better to link posts here but I can't format the table here properly :(

I didn't include addresses but here's a Google Map of the eateries I've been to (orange), eateries I've not been to (red) and attractions/shopping (purple). Note that for places I've not been to, I don't know if they're still there. Also the opening hours in the table above aren't 100% accurate.

Getting Around

Navigating the streets was much more difficult than expected! We made a mistake of relying on our Airbnb's portable wifi. Since we didn't have it from the start, we got super lost when getting to our apartment. We had to ask 4 people for directions lol. We also relied heavily on Google Maps since the streets are so confusing and street names aren't prominent (or maybe they are but I can't read/find them). I didn't realise it then but in comparison NYC was a breeze with it's straight roads and obvious street signs! 

Furthermore, the portable wifi was weak and ran out of battery quickly :( Like I couldn't even google for reviews properly because pages take minutes to load. On the bright side, because of that I know where there's good wifi lolol - Tokyo Skytree cafe, Sekai Cafe and Tokyu Hands Cafe. We went back to Tokyu Hands cafe on the second last day to do flight check-in (and for me to download shows heh). Narita airport's wifi is still the best though. Like 10 times faster.

As for metro and subway, map apps help a lot but there's still some lines that aren't in the 3 apps I downloaded. Like the Shimokitazawa station is on the Odakyu line ._. And the lines are like from different companies so sometimes when you need to change from one line to another (considered the same station) you need to walk outside at road level wow. For fares, we bought Suica cards which was enough since we weren't going out of Tokyo. 

(1) NEX tickets bought at Narita airport  (2) Fixed train departure timings (about every 30 mins) (3) To reserve seats on the train back to Narita, insert tickets and select seats using this machine on the NEX platform

We stayed near Shinjuku station and we bought the Narita Express (NEX) round-trip ticket which is 4000 yen for both ways. It's really convenient because it brings you to main JR stations including Shinjuku! I think it took about 90 minutes. It's a bit pricier than taking the train but totally worth it. Imagine if we got lost in the stations in addition to getting lost finding our Airbnb omg. Here's a really helpful article by Tokyo Cheapo.

My favourite place to go to is Shibuya but Shinjuku seems like a good place to stay! We stayed nearer to Shinjuku-nishiguchi than the main station of Shinjuku, but it wasn't much further away. Shinjuku station is like a humongous station with many lines (11 lines according to wiki). Confusing but convenient at the same time I guess! Mum would like to stay in the same Airbnb next time. I don't really mind but I'd rather have somewhere else haha.

Veganism in Tokyo

Initially we were deciding between Tokyo and Seoul and my impression was that both are similarly vegan-unfriendly. But actually it's not as bad as I'd thought! There was actually a vegan festival a week or two before we arrived (omg so sad we missed it) and we saw an animal rights demonstration at Shibuya on Friday: 
Cool. I don't really understand their message though because (according to mum's translation) it seems like they ask people to switch to cage-free but in the pamphlet's summary they advice people to go vegan/vegetarian.

Since we missed the vegan festival, we went to the Earth Day Market that happens once or twice a month at Yoyogi Park and it seems environmentally friendly but there were hardly any vegan food options :(

Other than eating at the vegan/vegan-friendly places on my list, we also had conveyor belt sushi (kaiten sushi). We also got breakfast and snacks from convenience stores (combini). My favourite item to get is daifukumochi - mochi filled with azuki paste! Lol people usually have it for afternoon tea but I eat it for breakfast and supper ^^;

So uniformly red wow

The supermarkets and eateries all sell/serve really fresh local vegetables and fruits! In particular vegetables - they're really crisp and sweet. And at the supermarkets there's like giant cabbages/mushrooms/radishes etc! It's almost like their reduced-to-clear is Singapore's NTUC standard. Lol ^^;

It's not that difficult to identify egg 卵 and milk 乳 in ingredient lists (they're often prominently listed as allergens, especially at bakeries) but for ingredients like meat and honey it's not always so obvious if it's not in kanji. So I always pestered my mum to read the ingredients since she knows some Japanese haha. Here's a useful website for identifying ingredients.

Fascinating Things

I've been to Japan before so toilet seats with buttons don't amaze me, but at one place we went to there was an in-built hand dryer in the sink! Omg cool. And at some places when you purchase sanitary pads the cashier (even if it's a guy) will wrap it up in a paper bag wow! Speaking of the cashier, the cashier machine counts and sorts coins the cashier person throws in and it automatically gives the change wow!

Also, their rice never disappoints. I thought that rice is yummy already, but rice in Japan is like next-level yumminess. It's not just because of their rice, but also their rice cookers! They're like so high-tech and make rice magically delicious. Lotsa China tourists buy rice cookers back home, so much so that there's often a seperate section of 220-240V rice cookers (since Japan uses 100V) and the signs and announcements in the area are in Chinese. We didn't buy one because it's heavy - next time we will haha!

Lol there are many more instances of fascinating things and great customer service but this post is getting too long so I'll stop here! I'll continue blogging about the rest of my trip soon :)



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2 comments

  1. Ah so cool! I've always wanted to go to Japan - and one day I will, for sure! But i will definitely cook vegan myself, just to be sure.

    Looking forward to your next Japan post :)

    **Maisy

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a fun place to go to! I didn't try cooking anything but next time I might ^^ Thanks Maisy! :)

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