I had a lovely realisation on Sunday morning as I sat in Starbucks sipping a bucket of coffee: in less than two weeks, @TheFrankFlyer and I will be back in Tokyo for eight days of fun. Anyone who’s read this blog for a while will know it’s my favourite city on Earth. So being able to count the wait until the next trip in days rather than months was a boost.
I immediately set about creating a packing list in Evernote and a shared note in the Notes app for Frank and I to make a list of places to see and things to do. We’ve been so many times, our list is less like a tourist ‘must do’ and more like a nice gentle routine.
Gym, epic breakfast in the Tokyo Hilton and a walk to Shinjuku rail station to begin the day’s adventure. Then back to the hotel in time for free cocktails in the executive lounge and making the decision as to where we’ll have dinner. After which, a couple of hours in Shinjuku’s finest (???) gay bars. Of which Eagle Bar is, hands down, our favourite.
Aside from the usual shopping for gifts for those back home, I always like to pop into an outlet of Tokyu Hands to check out the only-in-Japan gadgets for the home and to spend a little time in Uniqlo, where I am a ‘medium’, not a ‘small’. This pleases me. I’m also interested in pickling up a Nintendo Switch on this visit, given they are so much cheaper in Japan and I can also get one tax-free. So, that’ll be a trip to Akihabara for some gadget shopping.
We’re also going to visit the Monogatari Onsen down in Odaiba, where you can alternate you soaking and steaming with time spent in a Yukata, eating delicious soba noodles and drinking beers in a replicant Endo-era townscape.
While in Odaiba, I’m adamant that I’ll squeeze in a return visit to the Takoyaki museum and maybe play a few arcade games and crazily realistic simulators in Joypolis.
Add to this some people-watching in Harajuku, shopping and sushi in Shibuya and the inevitable random encounters we’ll have, and I think you’ll agree it’s going to be an enjoyable week.
We’re going via Amsterdam and Helsinki, which might sound crazy. But most flights to Asia are cheaper if you start your journey in continental Europe. And if you go with Finnair, via Helsinki, you get amazing service at a very reasonable cost. Plus a couple of hours in one of Europe’s nicest airline lounges.
I can’t wait!