Japan adventure: part VIII
The final part of the adventure!
We spent our last couple of days back in Tokyo, this time staying in the west district of Ikebukuro. This was the part of the trip when we decided to do some shopping as well, and a lot of eating in recommended spots before going back home. So, here goes!
Close to our hotel in Ikebukuro was a huge building complex called Sunshine City, a complex with offices, hotel, aquarium, shopping mall and lots of other things. One of the things I wanted to see while in Japan was a Pokémon Center, and the biggest one is in this very place. It was pretty big compared to the one I visited briefly in Osaka Station, and it had lots of different products: plushies, school supplies, keychains, figurines, clothing, kitchen products, candies, and so on. It was fun to visit! We visited a couple more stores like Seria, Tokyu Hands and Sanrio, and found some super cute and interesting stuff!
If you ride the train following the Yamanote loop line, you'll be able to visit a lot of interesting spots like Shinjuku and Shibuya, from which you can connect to other interesting areas by train or walking around, like Omotesando Hills and Shimokitazawa. We visited Shinjuku first and walked around some very impressive buildings and the busiest train station in the world. We ate the best tsukemen and ramen we've had in our lives in a tiny ramen shop called Fu-unji, and with full bellies decided to take a night walk in Shibuya, famous for its huge scramble crossing and Hachiko statue. There was a crazy amount of people in the street, and some cool-but-eerie speakers somewhere in the streets playing a cute song in a loop that followed you everywhere in the background; it was a rather surreal experience.
Harajuku is another interesting place popular with the younger crowds, where you can find amazingly cute fashion items and shops. I saw some amazing outfits but I'm always a bit shy when it comes to asking people for permission to take their photo, so I decided just to admire their cute dresses and colorful hairdos. We walked around, did a bit of cute-item shopping, and ended up walking all the way to Omotesando, a more high-end area with nice store displays and beautiful buildings. This whole area is nice to explore by foot since everything is pretty close and you can find some very interesting streets and corners all around (and people). I recommend grabbing a crêpe and have a look around!
Our last day was almost entirely spent on Tokyo Skytree and the surrounding area. In the Tokyo Solamachi mall you'll find a bunch of great shops for all tastes, so you can find souvenirs, gifts, clothing, toys, sanrio goodies, food, and so on. My husband was specially interested in the beautiful Studio Ghibli store, one of the biggest and better stocked ones we visited during our trip, it was even better than the one inside the Ghibli Museum. It felt somehow like a date: we walked around the shops, enjoyed the view from the tower, had wonderful and fresh sashimi bowls for lunch, watched the sunset and enjoyed the lighted up Skytree tower at night, while making a last stop in the cutest Mister Donut shop I've ever seen. We ate and we ate a lot, I still crave those chewy pon de ring doughnuts at least once a week, maybe one day I'll be able to bake something at least close to that wonderful chewy goodness!
And with that, it was time to go back home. We had a wonderful time in Japan and we will surely go back someday, it is a magical place with a lot of great things to offer us travelers, so if you are thinking about visiting you should not hesitate! It will most likely be an experience you'll remember for years and years to come. It makes me happy to think the world is such a big an amazing place, with so many things for us to see and enjoy, how many more wonderful things will I see as time goes by? Who knows! But I'm already excited for the next adventure!
Be it traveling to the farthest continent or walking distance from your home, as long as you have an open mind and heart, the world will always take you on an adventure!
Good luck to you in all your wonderful adventures!