Today we’re off to Tokyo! We grabbed all our bags, squeezed out of our Osaka abode, and headed to the station. We rode from Shin-Imimaya on the JR line to Osaka Station and then swapped over to Shin-Osaka Station, where we had to be to get to Tokyo — lugging all of our stuff the whole way, of course.
The first thing we did was pickup our tickets for the Shinkansen (the bullet train) which was scheduled to depart in 40 minutes. That, I thought, gave us plenty of time to grab a bite. Again, I thought.
I saw a little food court next to our train platform and headed in with Piggy. They had a takoyaki stand, a curry shop, a ramen shop, and a few others. I was in the mood for curry and Piggy was fine with that. I ordered the fried chicken curry while Piggy got the chicken cutlet curry.
The cashier told me the fried chicken would take 15 minutes, but since I thought we had so much time, I complied. When we got our food, I checked the time and saw we only had 20 minutes until it was time for departure. Ruh-roh!
I gobbled down my dish and told Piggy to do the same. It only took me about 5 minutes to wipe my entire plate clean. The curry turned out to be on point anyway so I probably would have eaten it just as fast normally. Piggy definitely does not shovel food in as fast as I can so I let her know I would go pick up the bento boxes for our bullet train ride. Because even though we JUST ate, we wanted to experience the bento-train-ride-experience for our 4 hour journey to Tokyo.
With about 10 minutes to departure, I ran over to the bento shop only about 30 feet away. There were so many options! But with the little time we had, I just pointed at two bentos, picked up two drinks, and headed back to get Piggy.
Luckily, she was done and had our bags ready. We rushed over to the platform and saw our Shinkansen had arrived. We hopped into our car, found our reserved seats, and let out a sigh of curry-breath relief.
About 2 hours in, we decided to watch Kiki’s Delivery on my iPad. Neither myself or Piggy have seen it and we figured we had to watch it since we would be going to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. At this time, we also decided to bust out the bentos.
These bento boxes were amazing. The food was actually alright but I was more impressed by the packaging, variety of food, and presentation. These boxes are prime examples of Japan’s obsession with food presentation as an art.
Once we got to Tokyo, we hopped on a few transfers to get to our Umejima station. We got a bit lost a few times, but nothing too terrible so I’ll skip over it. The fun part was when we got to Umejima station and headed out to find the airBnB.
Piggy, who booked this reservation, told me the address she found from the booking. So we made our way to that address and saw that it definitely was NOT the right place. Without internet connection, it made it difficult for us to look up additional details about the airBnB or to email our host. All we had to go off of was the name of the building and that it was at least 9 stories tall with a flower shop next to it. Given this, we frantically looked around the neighborhood around the station in hopes of spotting something with all of our stuff in tow. This definitely became cumbersome and so we decided to have Piggy wait at the station while I took off to run around the neighborhood to find this 9 story building.
I literally ran around the neighborhood. I zipped through small streets, hopped over a few bricks and sprinted out to the several tall buildings I could see from the distance. After searching for about 10 minutes and to no avail, I decided it would be best if I started heading back to the station. While heading towards the station, I spotted a flower shop and next to it… the name of our building!
To our luck, my run turned out to be productive and I dashed back to Piggy. As I approached her to tell her I found the place, she began telling me how she found the instructions to get to our airBnB from the station. Apparently, she did not read through ALL of the instructions…
ANYWAY! At least we found it.
We got into our airBnB and found the place to match the pictures exactly.
The view from the room was spectacular and we later found out that we would be able to see Mt. Fuji on a clear day.
After spending some time resting, our hostess, who was gone all day at work, came back home. She was extremely pleasant and asked us all about our plans. We mostly had none so she immediately began creating an itinerary for us. She even recommended we head to Ueno for dinner as that was a great spot with plenty of food and was only a few stops away.
Ueno was poppin’. And we were hungry! We looped through a few of the busy streets and tried to decide on what to eat. There were so many options! A few times we passed the same yakitori shop which was PACKED with businessmen in suits. But on our 3rd time passing by, we saw 2 empty seats by the bar. Well, we hadn’t had yakitori in Japan yet and the place was popular so we went for it.
We were immediately seated. After a brief bit of gesturing, the waitress figured we were foreigners and handed us a foreigner friendly menu.
Yes! Exactly what we needed. It’s always a relief to get a menu in english AND with pictures. We started with 2 bottles of beer and a few skewers. We were ready to eat!
ALL of the skewers were SO GOOD. I enjoyed all of them, including the chicken cartilage and skin. Even the pork tongue I liked (which was weird given our nicknames–or was it?). We were so impressed, we ended up ordering 2 more orders.
These too were also incredible! And best of all, the place was considerably cheaper than any yakitori place I’ve had in the States. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the name of the shop. But thanks to the magic of Google, I was able to find it in STREET VIEW!
Despite our full bellies, the dessert shop next door caught our eyes.
Now completely satisfied, we roamed a little more around Ueno and headed into a few of the SEGA/Taito stores that have our beloved UFO catcher machines.
And then, we did what we’ve been doing before…
WIN TOO MUCH STUFF TO BRING BACK.
A great first day in Tokyo indeed.