Thursday 2 October 2014

Tokyo, Japan Day 4 - Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Tower,Odaiba

On the fourth day of our trip, we checked-out Agora Place Asakusa and hotel hopped! We will be staying over at Yaezakura no Yu Super Hotel Lohas for 2 nights before heading to Osaka. (Read on Day 3 here / Day 5 here)

Super Hotel is newly opened in 2013 and is located just a 3 mins walk from JR Tokyo Station. Will go more on that later down the post in a bit. Before checking in, we decided get some coffee and sweets at 100% Chocolate Cafe by Meiji.

Meiji is Japan's largest chocolate manufacturer, and its 100% Chocolate Café, designed by the Tokyo-based firm Wonderwall - it's like a dream come true for a cocoa fanatic. The extensive menu is full of desserts and drinks all based on the monolithic cocoa theme, such as cakes and chocolates. I like the modern interior, especially along with the intense chocolate aroma.

There were 50 over kinds of different chocolate based, wide range to pick from. The assorted chocolates are wrapped in colorful packaging according to the country of origin. It's so pretty, these may work as a souvenir too. Whatever kind of chocolates you want, you have it.

Brownies in various form of flavor and toppings, can we have all of them?

We settled down w a glass of iced coffee, brownie and waffle w berries. Unfortunately, the brownie was a tad dry for me while the waffle dish tasted above average.
Overall, I like the ambience, great place to chill.
And chocoholics can find something here to suit their taste in any form.

The cafe offers variations of chocolate milk as well, I think I just went to chocolate heaven. 100% Chocolate Cafe is well worth a visit for coffee and a rich chocolatey dessert. 

100% Chocolate Cafe
2-4-16 Kyobashi | Meijiseikahonsya Building 1F
ChuoTokyo Prefecture 104-0031Japan
Nearest Subway: Kyobashi Station

I like how the Japanese always display their food and making it look so appetizing.

Finally arrived at Super Hotel which will be our home for the next 2 nights. Lohas Tokyo-eki Yaesu Chuo-guchi is located in 3 minutes' walk from Yaesu Central Entrance in Tokyo Station. It's newly opened August 2013. If you're coming from Yaesu Underground Mall, take Exit #1, #26, #27 - it's about a min walk to the hotel.

2-2-7 Yaesu,Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0028

It's clean and cozy. Though the standard of room size in Japan are quite small, I thought the one at Super Hotel was good enough. It is much bigger than the first hotel we stayed. It also features free WiFi and large public baths where guests can relax and unwind. Interestingly, natural hot spring water is brought in and all hotel guest are entitled to enjoy!

Vending machines and hot water dispenser at our room corridor. This is not all, there were extra pillows to choose and iron boards being made available too. This is also why I love Japan :D

Excellent location, highly recommended. Hotel rooms are of affordable price too. 
Anyway, this is the JR station exit you should take to go to Super Hotel.

Yaesu underground mall is filled with eateries and many other things. 
Hanging around before heading to The Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

*Please note that if you wish to visit the Imperial Palace, it is required that you apply online for approval to enter into the palace. More tour information can be find here.

There are specific dates and timing to go. Please check before hand as the slots are limited for a tour group. You can apply straight for the tours here on their website. We applied early before our trip as it's always full especially the English tour. The guided tour is free of charge.

Directions: Take Tokyo Metro Line to Otemachi Station (I09/C11/T09/M18/Z08),
Take Tokyo Metro Line to Tokyo Station (M17), 5mins walk.

The area is quite big so booking a short tour is really good, they bring you around and explaining the historic story behind every sculptures/ buildings.

The current Imperial Palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. It is said that the Nijubashi Bridge (double bridge) is the most photographed scene in Japan.

I shall not brief much on the historic terms, go for the tour to know more. :)
We were there during the beginning of autumn season, the leaves are still changing.

After Imperial Palace, it is time to fill our tummies again! Headed to Ramen Street in First Avenue Tokyo Station. It is located at the underground mall linked to the JR Tokyo Station (nearer to the exit of Yaesu). 
You'll find a few ramen store here as well as famous Rokurinsha, known to be Tokyo's best tsukemen or dipping noodles. Read here for my post on it.

Since we had Rokurinsha the night before, so we randomly went into a ramen stall after getting our orders via. the vending machine outside. All the ramens in Japan seems so gooood.

Chance upon a sanrio store, all things Hello Kitty! But, I'm no fan of Kitty though.

Next stop was to catch the sunset city view at Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ) but we were late and the sun sets really early in Japan, like 5pm? 

Directions: Roppongi Station (H04/E23). It is about 5 mins walk from Hibiya Line platform of Roppongi Station. Direct underground access from Tokyo Metro Roppongi Station Exit 1C.

We got the 1500 Yen ticket for Observatory and Mori Art Museum.

Tokyo City View: Hours: 10:00 to 23:00 (until 25:00 on Fridays and Saturdays) 
Sky Deck opens from 11:00 to 20:00 when the weather permits 
Admission ends 30-60 minutes before closing time. 
Admission: 1500 yen, additional 500 yen for Sky Deck; combination tickets for the Mori Art Museum are often available.

I have friends asking me why I wanted to go Roppongi Hills for city view instead of Tokyo Tower. Reason being simple, I want a city view with Tokyo Tower in sight.

What an impressive sight, to be at one of the highest point for Tokyo City View!

We were given complimentary Sky Bus tickets from JTB where we bought our air tickets from. So we hopped on to Tokyo Sky Bus at Roppongi and headed over to Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) next. Read more here for Sky Bus routes.

What's Tokyo Tower without their signature Tokyo bananas right?
At the bottom of Tokyo Tower, you will find a huge variety of them.

Didn't went up since we were already up at Roppongi Hills.
Alternatively, you can get to Tokyo Tower via the subway transport: 

Direction: Take Metro Line to Kamiyacho Station (H05), Exit 1, 7 mins walk.
Main Observatory (150m): 9:00~22:00 (L.A. 21:45)
Special Observatory (250m): 9:00~21:30 (L.A. 21:00)

Making full use of our complimentary Sky Bus tickets, we hopped on and headed to Odaiba (お台場). It's really convenient with sky bus cause getting to Odaiba via. public transport can be a hassle. The Tokyo Bay Shuttle free service is convenient for getting around in the Odaiba area. It operates every 15 to 20 minutes from 11:00 to 20:00 daily.

Directions: Tokyo Metro Line to Shinbashi Station (A10/G08), 
Odaiba-kaihinkoen [13mins]
Take Tokyo Metro Line to Shinjuku or Shibuya Station (Z01/F16/G01), 
from Shinjuku Stat. to Tokyo Teleport by JR Saikyo Line w direct connection to Rinkai Line [22mins] 

Odaiba is a well-known entertainment and shopping district, located on an artificially constructed island within Tokyo Bay. Here's Palette Town's ferries wheel - At 115 meters tall, this Ferris wheel is easily among the largest in the world, as high as the second viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower. 

One complete revolution lasts for approximately 15 minutes, and offers great views of Odaiba, and of course Tokyo Bay. The ferris wheel seats six to a cabin, or four to an all-glass cabin.

Do you know that the crepes in Japan are super delicious? The best thing is - they look good and TASTE even better. Such a wide variety, we are always spoilt for choices.

Walked around at the malls in Odaiba and chance upon this Hello Kitty shop n' cafe.

Why is everything so kawaiiiiiii.

Sweet Potato flavour from Krispy Kreme which Sg doesn't have!

Grabbed some snacks and headed back to Tokyo via. the subway for supper.
Maruni for Yakiniku at Shambashi Station since we're nearby too.

Maruni まるに 
Add: 1-11-1, Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0004
Opening Hours: 17:00~0:00 (L.O. 23:00) Friday 17:00~4:00, the following day(L.O.3:00)
Closed on Sundays

Directions: Take Tokyo Metro Line to Shinbashi Station (A10/G08), 1min walk.

Once we enter, we could smell the heavenly aroma of meat. Did some research and Maruni is one of the top place which offers really good waygu. Maruni is basically a standing bar serving yakiniku barbecue, with a brightly lit and retro wooden interior. They are known for their different grades of wagyu beef. It's rather pricey but the meats were of a good cut.

It's a very tiny restaurant where they grill the meat infront of you.
Highly recommended if Tokyo is your next destination and Wagyu is your favorite.

This is the first time I had such an awesome wagyu beef, it literally melts in the mouth. *drools. Wagyu is generally expensive and being Japan.. But I wouldn't mind paying more for such top quality cuts. Wagyu meat & Beer = Perfect combination ever.

Didn't want to burn a hole in our pocket so we resisted after being partially full.
 Headed back to our hotel vicinity and found a Japanese stall which opens till late night.
 So second round of supper!

A simple bowl of Katsudon with Teriyaki sauce added at your own preference. Katsudon is basically a bowl of rice topped with deep-fried pork cutlet, egg and other condiments. Simple yet so good.

Ended the night with this Japanese waffle, stuffed with ice cream and azuki cream. It's so good!
Next on the itinerary will be a day at Tokyo DisneySea!


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