My main aim for this trip was to experience 3 main things – Sapporo Snow Festival, Drift Ice, Nabana No Sato Winter Illumination. Hence the date i chose was between 31st Jan 17 starting from Tokyo, ending the trip in Hokkaido on 8th Feb 17, right smack in the middle of the Sapporo Snow Festival. The Sapporo Snow Festival is the largest winter festival in Japan, and it usually starts on the 5th – 7th (depending on which is a Monday), and last for a week. You can read all about the Sapporo Snow Festival here.
Landed in Haneda at 6.00am local time, so we went to the hotel to leave our luggage and head off to…
We were there for the famous Wagyu Donuts, but it wasn’t open until 10.00am, so we went to Sensoji to chill.
Sensoji, the oldest Buddhist Temple in Tokyo.
I am a free-thinker, so with spare time on hand, i decided to explore the temple and saw that i could draw lots to tell my future. Sounds fun so i slotted 100yen into the counter and started to shake the container full of bamboo. One of the lots dropped out and it told me number 15! So i excitedly opened the drawer labelled “15” and this was what i got.
A BAD FORTUNE!
In case you can’t see what it says, here’s its curse to me.
“Every year your servants will get fewer and fewer and you will be alone. Even if you stay in bed for a long while, you’ll never recover. It’s too dangerous for you to bring the boat to shore. Just like a dragon loses its treasure ball, you will lose your hope.
*Your wishes will not be realized.
*A sick person will never recover.
*The lost article will never be found.
*The person you are waiting for will never come.
*Building a new house and removal are not good.
*Making a trip, marriage, employment are bad.”
My god just re-reading this is hard enough. My first day in Japan and i got this… Thanks man, whoever wrote this is just plain cruel.
Those who got a bad fortune reading has to tie the reading in a knot onto this stand.
And this is how the mother of all curses looks like.
So i spent the morning moping around and eventually found out that it was 10.00am! Time for Wagyu Donuts!
The Wagyu Donut is actually a curry pan, and the curry is made with wagyu fats. You can taste small bits of wagyu and wagyu fats in it, and it makes the curry really flavourful. Don’t expect to have large chunks of wagyu though, this is only 270yen – S$3.37. The shop name is Toyofuku, and this is the google map coordinates.
You can see the Tokyo Skytree from Asakusa Kairimon! (So i skipped going to that place entirely)
All in all, the Asakusa Kairimon is a very touristy place with nothing much to see or buy. There are some pretty nice architecture around here but you don’t have to travel all the way here (unless you want some Wagyu Donuts).
Our hotel was nearer to Tawaramachi Station, so from Tawaramachi Station, we took the Ginza line to Suehirocho Station. The main reason to go to Akihabara was for a ramen i was supposed to try on my previous trip to Japan. Kyushu Jangara (Directions)!
Kyushu Jangara Ramen
Kyushu Jangara was tucked away in a corner and had such an inconspicuous shopfront that you might just miss it totally. There was no queue at all, but the ramen was good. It has such good and thick broth flavour, and has 2 types of meat – the normal Char Shu, and Braised Char Shu. The cod roe paste, when mixed in the soup, just exploded with flavour. I finished the entire bowl with no wastage of soup. This was one of the best ramen i had in Japan, and much, much, better than Ichiran or Ippudo.
The Gachapon Kaikan was just next to Kyushu Jangara, so i went on a Gachapon hunt – which was really just a waste of money. But it makes really good omiyage and it was really fun!
I also really wanted to try a maid’s cafe, but the girls were not really pretty or cute so… we decided against it.
Dinner was at Ninja Akasaka. I have been wanting to visit this restaurant since my first visit but i couldn’t get a booking back then. I booked 1 month ahead and was initially told that the restaurant was full. Luckily they eventually had a seat for me. Ninja Akasaka is within the Akasaka Tokyu Hotel Excel, but it is all the way at the end of the building, via a different entrance. Directions here.
We ordered the Yamato Spirit Course because i read that there would be a magic show if you spent more than 6,800yen per pax. And since i can’t communicate in Japanese, i decided my order on their website.
My Ninja Akasaka Meal
I think they really did very well on the Ninja thematic. I really enjoyed myself!