Yes, we have made another trip to Japan! This time with a whole new itinerary and a whole new fantastic experience! After visiting Japan the last time in summer, we have decided to go during autumn this time (actually, it was almost the end of autumn) for all the beautiful autumn colours. 🍁🍂
Pleased with our last trip, we flew with JAL again this time on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The seat is spacious and comfortable for a good night sleep. And guess what, your Japan’s toilet with a bidet (a hands-free way to wash your bum bum) experience starts with JAL flight. 😉 The Boeing 787 also features shutter-free windows which allow you to control the opacity with just the touch of a button. Too cool!
In-flight entertainment – watching Transformers with Japanese sub lol! Daijobu-desu!
Breakfast is served…with umeshu (plum wine) 😉🍸 together with JAL sky time kiwi juice and their super amazing miso soup. Yums!
And we have arrived!
The first thing to do was to collect our unlimited Tokyo subway passes and Skyliner tickets from Klook’s counter at Narita airport. Then we went searching for luggage storage so that we can get our hands off them and start exploring. There were about 100 luggage lockers available at terminal 2, and although it doesn’t seem like much lockers at an airport, about 40% of them were still available at 11 am. Using them was a breeze, especially if you pay for it with your Suica card, you can unlock them easily just by tapping your Suica, not needing to know your locker number at all.
Tips on Suica: You can get your Suica from ticketing machines near JR entrance at the airport. Don’t worry about putting in too much money, you can get the balance refunded at the end of your trip. Besides using Suica for trains, subways and busses, certain shops especially convenience stores accept Suica as payment too, so you can purchase stuff with just a tap, much like PayPass or PayWave. So, it’s pretty handy to have more credit on your Suica.
And now our trip officially started! A short train ride from the airport brought us to Narita city (成田) and we headed straight for Omote Sando (表参道), a quaint street filled with cute architecture, snacks shops and restaurants serving freshly grilled unagi. As a Family Mart fan, of course, I had to take a short detour and head in for some breakfast drinks before heading to Omote Sando.
Yoghurt milk drink (left) and veggie juice (right)
A pharmacy, a bank and an automated multilevel car park. These buildings felt so different from the corporate ones that we usually see in Sydney. Seeing all these made me realised that I am away from all the hustle bustle and my holiday mood started to spark.
Had the white beans Dorayaki here, piping hot and simply yummeh~
The most popular souvenir store here has got to be this one – Nagomi-Yoneya (なごみの米屋).
Peanut monaka is their top seller, with a peanut-shaped rice-based shell on the outside and sweet azuki bean paste on the inside. Their packaging is simply too cute! These monakas paired well with their free green tea teehee.
They also have ice cream filled monaka.
They are also famous for chestnut-based confectioneries, like the chestnut yokan (kuri-yokan) and even chestnut dorayaki (on the right).
And these delicately hand-crafted confectioneries.
But my eyes (and stomach) were attracted by these.
Shio-Mame Daifuku (塩豆大福) – daifuku with salted azuki beans inside
I simply love daifuku. (I really don’t think I had enough of these this trip T___T I should’ve hunted for more!) Bought a box of these for supper that night. Remember, they don’t stay fresh for long so consume them on the same day.
Started to rain as we walked out of Nagomi-Yoneya. Still doesn’t dampen our spirit to go to Shinshō-ji temple.
Roasted chestnuts are amazing on a cold rainy day.
Passed by this shop (さぼんさま) selling cute jellies and for a second there, we thought they were snacks. After looking closely, we recognised the words ‘facial cleanser’! These are actually facial cleanser jellies! You use them like any ordinary soap, except that they felt soft and bouncy in your palms (kinda stress-relieving). Different coloured balls have different scent and functions, some help to exfoliate and some to boost moisture. The most luscious has got to be this one, with gold flakes impregnated in it. I bet that will make your face all glowy (or shiny, in this case).
And we are here!
Washed our hands before the prayer.
And then it’s time for food hunting! Some calamari perhaps? 👧
Just kidding heh. Of course, it has to be grilled eel – unagi! There are a few unagi-ya at Omote Sando, serving freshly prepared and grilled live eels. Kawatoyo (川豊本店) had their men preparing unagi right in front of you, from slaying to grilling.
Look at that unagi sensei skillfully slaying the live unagi, and then slicing it into two halves and removing all the bones for you.
We didn’t have time to queue for Kawatoyo, so we had to go for another one two doors down, called Omiya (近江屋). They have plenty of seatings upstairs, even for a big party of 7 like us. We were not disappointed at all! It is truly, the best eel I have ever had. Ever. Verdict: 10/10. I will definitely come back for this. It is a little pricey though, around 2000 JPY per pax. But it is definitely worth your bucks.
I also tried eel liver soup for the first time. The soup is clear and bittersweet, and I don’t know if it has medicinal properties but I felt healthier after a bowl haha! After the savoury, it is time for dessert!
Golden sesame soft serve from ごま福堂. Yums! 🍦
Back at Narita station, something interesting caught my eye here. A vending machine selling Nanaya ななや matcha! For only ¥140 for a large size! Oh what?! Even after all that food, my stomach made some room for this green baby teehee. 🍵
We then headed back to Narita airport to catch our pre-booked shuttle van to our Airbnb at Tabata. Small place, but cozy and clean. Went to a small noodle place nearby called Takumiya 巧家 for dinner and their tonkotsu ramen is the bomb! So so good! 🍜
Even with all those photos, ordering on vending machines can be a challenge. We were lucky that the staff here speaks Chinese. 😅 This guy was really amazing, doing everything from cooking to serving to washing all by himself. Thumbs up! 👍👍 That tonkotsu ramen (left) was unexpectedly amazing. Their tsukemen (right) was a popular choice too. You eat that by dipping the noodles in the miso broth before slurping the noodles down.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow, the real journey begins!
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