Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tokyo free and easy : Ameyoko Market

Ameyoko market.The name "Ameyoko" is a short form for "Ameya Yokocho" (candy store alley), as candies were traditionally sold there.

Take the Jr to Ueno (Hirokoji Exit and cross the road and walk alone the right lane) or Okachimachi (North exit and cross the road and walk alone the left side) station. Ameyoko is a long stretch of shops so both stations are fine.

I visit Ueno park before walking to Ameyoko Market. Hence, I got down from Ueno Station.

Reason why I love Ameyoko MArket

1. Food

Sashimi by the roadside.  Price range from around 800 yen to 100 yen. 
It is situated near the snack store. Place your order, find a seat and enjoy your food.
When I first visited Japan 8 years ago, lot of locals dine there. I think because of the influx of the tourist, most people who eat here are tourists and the food serving did become smaller. However, it is still sashimi at reasonable price and it is an interesting to try eating by the roadside. There are also a lot of similar small eateries serving this for people. There are eateries selling sushi and other food. No worries if you don't take raw food. There are also small shops selling takoyaki and other snacks. A great place for lunch and there are food to snack on while you shop.

2. Big supermarket with snacks and cuttlefish

I cant really pinpoint the exact location of the shop. But it is just beside the shrine. There is this big supermarket selling all sort of Japanese snack at reasonable price. You can cart home a lot of snacks at reasonable price and the best of all, the packaging are simple. You are not bringing back air and cardboards. The best part of all is you spent 10 000 yen( please check with the staff whether it is 5000 yen or 10000 yen as I can't remember), you get tax refund.  
I love cuttlefish and this is the place to get them at reasonable price.

3. Fresh seafood. 

You can either just take a look at them and just enjoy seeing the locals peddling their seafood. Or buy some and enjoy it in the hotel if your apartment has a kitchenette or microwave.
It is an interesting sight.
Avoid new year eve as it can get really crowded.

4. Shopping

 There are sport apparels, anello bags, luggage, clothes, spectacles shops. Some of the sport apparel are having quite good deals.  Be ready to shop.
There is a 100 yen shop located near the snack shop too. The selection may not be as good as daiso but there still some interesting finds.

Ameyoko has changed since I last visited 8 years ago. Now, it cater slightly more to tourists. However, it is still an interesting place to be at, with delicious food, shopping, snacks and fresh seafood. And it is conveniently located near the train station. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tokyo Free and Easy: Ueon Park

How to get there: Ueno JR line.

There are a lot of attractions at Ueno Jr line.
Firstly, Ueno park which is a great place for cherry blossoms. Ueno park's entrance is also free. Just follow the exit to Ueno park, cross the road and follow the crowd. You will get there in no time. You can also being food for a nice little picnic. However,  I went in November,  I only manage to catch autumn colours.
There are shrines, museums and a zoo nearby. Great for family with kids. 
Within walking distance, there is the Ameyoko market which has a lot of eateries, sells seafood, bags, sport apparels, snacks and a lot more.

The park is not very big. If you are fast, within half an hour. If you taking photos and strolling around slowly. Maybe an hour or two. If you trying to take the perfect ootd photo, is dependent on photographer.

The Tokyo national Museum is just nearby.

There are shrines at the park for you to explore. 

I did not visit the zoo and the museum so i can't say much. But I did hear my friends mentioned the kids have a great time there.

For more information

After the park, we walked a to Ameyoko market for lunch. Just walk along the main path, opposite the direction to the museum. From the founation, it wil take around 15minutes or so. We stopped by the shrines here and there so we took quite a while to reach Ameyoko Market

my post on Ameyoko Market

Japan Tokyo Free and Easy: Tokyu Stay Shinjuku

Some of the important places and distance from Shinjuku Tokyu Stay. The walk to the JR station and bus terminal should be around 10-15 minutes. The Shinjuku Gyoen( Koen) is around 10 minutes walk away. A great place to catch cherry blossoms and autumn leaves . There is a bus stop before you cross the road to Isetan on your right. The bus takes around 15 minutes to Meiji shrine. much faster and less hassle compare to the trains.

First impression of the Tokyo Stay. Great. Everything looks so clean and new. 

I book two different kind of room, one is the small double room and the twin room. The bigger room for my parents.
The different between the small double room is that there is two big chairs with the table so it is a great place for the whole family to have dinner or have a small discussion. The twin room also have a extra small room where the makeup table, washing machine.washer, microwave, trousers press and clothes hanger are. The small double room have everything except the makeup table but is crammed into a narrow walkway.
Both rooms also comes with a humidifier, one packet of detergent, safe and one free use of the instant coffee and a kettle.

This is the twin room. 

Double room and the small table for gathering

This is the small double room.

Small double room. The bed is use beside the table The white part is the first photo is the bed. The room is quite narrow,

 Free coffee every morning

Why I would recommend Tokyu stay.
1. It is just located behind the Shinjuku-3-chrome station, 1 minute walk  and there is an escalator leading up to the exit, although no escalator down. There is a lift like 4 minutes walk away. If you bringing elderly. This is a great hotel to stay.
2. It is located not far from JR station, if you exit at the JR station near to platform 1 to 2, it is only a 10 minutes walk away and if you are lazy, The bus terminal which has buses to the airport and other places like Mount Fuji are located 10 minutes walk away too.
3. There are convenient stores, eateries, small supermarket, drugstores, Shinjuku park, malls and also 100 yen shop located nearby.
4. There is a microwave and washer/dryer. I would sometimes like to buy food back to eat at the apartment in the morning before I set off. Too lazy to go out for breakfast. The microwave is really useful. The washer and dryer means I do not need to bring too much clothes, it is very important especially during winter.
5. The staff speaks good English.
6. They have real windows.

Why I would not recommend Tokyu stay.
1. There is only room service once a week.
2. The small double room is a bit crammed.