To make sure you’re all caught up with my Japan blog entries, start here:
- How we booked 12 FREE tickets to Japan
- The perfect starter card to travel for nearly free
- The mad rush to get ready for Japan
- Flying ANA + our first few hours in Tokyo
- How to book a large AirBNB for a big group
- One day in Tokyo
- All Things Osaka
- Kyoto AirBNB for 19? No problem!
- Visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Kyoto Days: Historical Ninenzaka
- All things Kyoto
- How we booked 3 FREE nights in a Tokyo Hostel
- Lost and Found Tales in Japan
- Tokyo MariCar – our GoKarting experience in Japan
- The Japan Takeaways
If you’ve been following my Japan blog entries, you’re probably wondering and have said to yourself, “19? What were these guys thinking?” I don’t blame you. Some might call us insane. But that’s how we are as a family. We don’t mind traveling together. Our kids are very close to their cousins and they love hanging out with all of them. It’s a win-win for all of us. I had no real high expectations of seeing it all or doing many things due to the number of travelers in our party. I figured if there are things that we end up missing, we could always come back in the future.
A few of us woke up at 4am on Saturday morning. For me, I had gotten over 5 hours of sleep the night before. Hey, not bad, I thought. It was my way of trying to fight jet lag. A few of us went to 7-11 and bought some items that we could eat for breakfast. I was really liking this idea of being this close to a 7-11.
We accomplished quite a few things that morning. From our AirBNB we headed to wards 7-11 to grab a few things to eat before we started our day.
As we made our trek to Yotsugi Station, we noticed a little community park off to the left with lots of cherry blossoms. This then prompted a break for a few photo opportunities.
We headed off to Shinagawa Station. We had a little mishap. When we boarded the train, half of our group were in one car, and the rest were in another car. The 1st half got off the wrong stop, while the rest went on with their journey. Lesson-learned here, always try to stay together in one train car.
We finally met up and made it to Shinagawa Station where we took care of of our JR Passes. By the way, all of us pre-ordered our JR Passes (Japan Rail Pass) prior to our trip. We ordered it via Klook. Here’s a $5 off referral if you order from Klook. I will write about using the local trains and the bullet trains on a separate entry.
The reason why we went to Shinagawa? We needed to get our JR Passes validated, and this also allowed us to our reserve seats when we catch the Shinkansen train to Osaka.
We were also able to reload our Suica cards that we used for transportation in the city.
After Shinagawa, we went towards Harajuku. We’ve built up an appetite and saw a nearby Yoshinoya restaurant. It was roomy enough to fit all 17 of us. I had the Beef Bowl with Kimchi, and Clams. That was just satisfying.
For a big part of the afternoon, we spent time over at Meiji Jingu. It was a short walk from the Harajuku Station, and we got to experience the stroll towards this shrine. While there was a bit of a crowd, it didn’t feel like we were fighting over one another. There was sense of peace as we walked past lush greeneries off to the sides, and stopped a various key stopping points.
We then ventured off to Shibuya to cross the world-famous Shibuya Crossing. That was a thrill. It was amazing to be crossing over at Shibuya. According to CultureTrip.com, “approximately 2,500 people are thought to cross it at a time.” The “crossing” lasted about 45 minutes and the cars and buses, and all other kinds of motor vehicles go back to passing Shibuya.
For dinner, we went to the Seibu building, and had sushi at Katsu Midori, famous for their conveyor belt revolving sushi. Entering the restaurant meant that we wait for about 45 minutes. Thankfully, there were chairs that wrapped around the restaurant and we were called in orderfly fashion.
Once we started eating, I noticed that these sushis were different from the ones in the US. The fish when laid on top of the sushi rice wasn’t a small slice of fish. But it was long to a point that that fish drapes down the plate. We had many kinds of sushi and I’ll here are some of the pictures from that evening’s dinner.
Since it was conveyor belt dinner, where you place your own order via a tablet, but the leg work of counting how much you’ve ordered is through the color or design of the plate. She did not count the plates, or looked at the colors. The waitress just scanned the plate and its height, and arrived at an amount due.
That’s about all that we could handle. We were so tired. No jet lag. We were on full throttle.