Archive for the ‘Sight Seeing’ Category

Are you craving for good Chinese food in Tokyo?

As a Singaporean-born Chinese, I’m always in the mood for Chinese food, but sadly, there’re very few establishments that have authentic, affordable, and delicious Chinese dishes.

I’ve become jaded about sticky and sweet ma po tofu, starchy vegetable stir-fries, stale-looking cha han (fried rice) and fancy Japanesey dim sum.

For a change of scenery (and culinary palate), we took ourselves off to Yokohama’s Chinatown in search of a great meal.

If you are not fussed enough to go as far as Nikko or Kamakura for a day trip out of central Tokyo, Yokohama is an excellent and convenient destination that is just 20 minutes on the express train from Shibuya. Yokohama may be a also city but it has a certain quaintness about it — it’s quieter, more spacious, and moves at a more languid pace.

Here are a few pictures of Chinatown in all its red glory.

yokohama-chinatown

small-shops

We poked around and found authentic Chinese ingredients, like fried shallots, fiery-hot chili paste, and dried scallops, but strangely they mingled next to Thai curries and coconut milk.

The ubiquitous nikuban (meat bun) stalls were at almost every corner we turned. They looked fat and yummy.

nikuban

Although the restaurants on the main Chinatown street beckoned with their shiny new menus and extravagant offerings, my friend and I decided to dine at a hole in the wall type of Chinese eatery to get away from the common fare so readily available.

As we ambled down the dark little side lanes, we spotted lively shops promising delicious dishes with the aroma of garlic and oyster sauce wafting out. Rule of thumb while hunting: always pick a more crowded restaurant than an empty one. And so we did.

We got a hearty all-you-can-eat dim sum spread for only 2,500JPY.

har-gao

dumplings

fried-dumplings

fried-radish-cakes

spinach-dumplings

The only things that had a Japanese twist were the spinach dumplings. They used sticky mochi as the skin but they tasted pretty good anyway.

restaurant-name

restaurant-address

I don’t know the Japanese pronunciation of the shop’s name so here are pictures of the kanji and the address, in case you want to look for this place. I wouldn’t say it was out-of-this-world dim sum but it was very good for its price and the dumplings were all succulent and savory like they should be. The sizes are normal (read: not miniscule Japanese servings) so you will feel stuffed to the brim.

Tsukiji market auctions are open again

The auctions are the real reason to head to Tokyo’s famous fish market, Tsukiji — so I keep hearing.

Personally I’ve not been to the 5am auctions but I’ve been to the market twice early in the morning.

I realized that this experience is not for everyone. If you dislike seafood or are indifferent to it, you should skip this tourist attraction. You won’t have any regrets.

But if you love your fish the way I love my mine and the myriad of sea creatures Nature has to offer, it will be visual feast.

Yes, raw and barely alive, and I love it that way.

I’ve a couple of tips as a wee veteran:

*If you can’t stomach sushi first thing in the morning, just head over for an early lunch at around 11 or so.
*If you’re drunk and have a hare-brained idea to eat sushi after clubbing by way of the first train, don’t.
*If you dislike the smell of wet markets and raw meat, skip the wholesale section and just head to the sushi restaurants.

Lastly, don’t queue at the restaurants with the long lines — their sushi is not any better than the lesser known ones. They just didn’t make it to the Lonely Planet.

But since the auctions are open to the public again, I might venture out to take a peek at the boisterous daily event.

Photos: chillntravel, china chas, -nathan, yusheng, photojennic

Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills

Tokyo Metblog
This week I visited Tokyo City View for the first time. On the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills‘ Mori Tower, the 360 degree views of Tokyo are spectacular. I thought the overpriced admission admission fee was pretty remarkable as well, at 1500Yen per person.

Posted from my mobile phone

Sumida Tower

STT.jpg
Pictured is the New Tokyo Tower which will be constructed by 2011 next to Oshiage station in Sumida-ku.
It will be the tallest free-standing tower in the world and the tallest man-made structure in Japan: at 2001 feet, nearly twice the height of the existing Tokyo Tower. However I haven’t heard many opinions on it yet.
Inspirational, waste of money, needless Godzilla provocation? What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Shin-Tokyo Tower Co

Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens
An oasis of calm in the centre of Tokyo.
Hamarikyu Gardens are near Shiodome Station on the Yurikamome Line. Entry is 300Yen.
Posted from my mobile phone

Ryogoku, the Sumo Town

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Ryogoku Station

Ryogoku Station,
originally uploaded by lhuga.

I went to Ryogoku with my friends today.
This is the first time going there, and I was really surprised to see 2 paintings of Sumo Wrestler inside Ryogoku station.
This guy is the champion of March 1972.

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Pink Tokyo

Pink Tokyo
We are currently in peak Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season here in Tokyo. Check out Flickr to get your fill of pink. Otherwise follow this Sakura Guide and see it for yourself. Chidorigafuchi is my favourite spot.

Out on Sunday… Akihabara = Adult Toysrus !!!

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Akiba8.jpg

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So….my best friend and I went to Akihabara again…
what did we go there for… not to be looked after by those photographs of maids, nor go and buy tons of games or audios… we went there to actually see people ….

Akihabara is a well known spot for both Japanese and foreign tourists. This is where u can get the newest models of everything…. TV games, computers, audios etc etc…. You see crowds of people who have cameras hanging from their sholders…. many go there to buy cheapest and newest models of everything, but lately there are few other reasons for men to go there….

Yeap, the reason is the maid! Those girls have french maids costumes! Some others have costumes of animation characters/disney characters. They are so used to be taken photos, so when my girl friend asked them to take another pic, nobody hesitated. Would I ever do it? No way.. I am not keen on smiling to strangers, but also look after and give massages to those men…. totally not my type.

It is not good to stereotype guys there, but many tend to have certain characteristics…. they tend to be more indoor guys who are either very skinny or quite chubby…. many have straight black hair, wear glasses, no interests in fashion etc.etc……

I mean as long as they don`t harm me, I don`t care what they do… Akihabara is just simply a paradise for those so called TV game geeks, computer geeks and whatever u can imagine…..

Hakone in winter


Over the weekend I went on a short trip to Hakone, a region famous for its many onsen and spectacular view of Mount Fuji, as well as providing the backdrop for the yearly Hakone Ekiden. Hakone is about 90 minutes out of Tokyo, in the westernmost part of Kanagawa-ken. Though it’s not technically in Tokyo, it’s one of the closest resorts around for Tokyo denizens.

Getting to Hakone is cheap enough, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a tourist area just like any other, and once there you’ll find yourself paying for all variety of buses, cable cars and boat rides just to find something to do. The best thing to do is purchase the Hakone Free Pass and a spot on the Romance Car heading out of Shinjuku Station. It’ll cost you around 6500 yen, but it’s worth it unless you stay inside your hotel the entire time.
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No Yen? No Problem!

By most accounts, Tokyo is the most expensive city on Earth, but don’t let that put you off; you can enjoy Tokyo on a budget.
There are lots of things that you can do here for free. Here are some examples:
Free food, Internet access, sightseeing: TokyoEssentials
Videogames, events, tissues: PingMag

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