Friday 28th April – Tokyo
For our last few days in Japan, we were back on our own and had decided to base ourselves in a different part of Tokyo called Shibuya. It’s the location of the famous Shibuya crossing where thousands of people cross an intersection, managing to miss each other and get to the other side without colliding.
First we checked into our hotel, the Shibuya Granbell – who very kindly upgraded us to an amazing 2 floor room, with separate living room, dressing room and all sleek wooden shutters and great views – thanks guys!
Then we headed out for a wander round Shibuya and up Cat Street to Harajuku. Fair to say, it’s completely nuts, Shibuya itself is all shopping, neon and trendy youth, and Cat Street is filled with too cool boutiques and restaurants. On recommendation from Amy, we headed to Harajuku Gyōza-rō which sells, well.. gyoza fairly exclusively (small dumplings). You can have them sui (boiled) or yaki (pan-fried), with or without niniku (garlic) or nira (chives). So we ordered pan-fried in both flavours – really good.
Next we took a walk down Takeshita-dōri, the central lane in Harajuku to look for the Harijuku Girls brought to western attention in the Gwen Stephanie song.. our guide Meg had laughed when we mentioned this, and pointed out that the song was 20 years old and most of the ‘girls’ had now grown up and moved on. We kept a lookout for the baby doll look made famous by the area, managing to capture a glimpse of a couple but not able to get any photos.
To complete a day of traditional Japanese food, we stopped in at Gamsa Sushi Train – there is a fairly chaotic process of adding your name to a waiting list, before you stand outside and wait for your name to be called, but as the maximum time you’re allowed in the restaurant is 45 minutes, we didn’t have to wait long.
Each seat faces the conveyor belt, and has it’s own ipad which brilliantly had the option to read in English, you select the items you want, then wait for the things to come out of the kitchen on the belt, stopping right in front of you. It’s a cheap, easy way to try lots of small portions of food, though some of Wayne’s choices challenged even him – scallop sushi was odd, but the clam soup was great.
Beer had made us braver so we finished the evening messing about on the Shibuya crossing which randomly had 4 men in full Priscilla gear advertising something but they seemed happy to pose for photos (or just pose) and Wayne had his photo with his favourite.