Thursday, February 23, 2012

Japan Day Fourteen: Time To Go Home

We had a 9:30 am flight out of Narita during our last day in Japan so we were already at the Shinjuku train station before 6 am. 

We took the 6:07 am express train to Narita Airport. Travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

Since it was very early, the train was practically empty...

For those who hope to do some last minute shopping, be warned that options at Terminal 2 of Narita Airport are rather limited.

Word of advice: Do not fly with Philippine Airlines when traveling to Japan. Aside from the inconvenient early flight out of Narita, food was terrible and service was unbelievably bad. 

After the magical two week Japan vacation, it was hard to get back to reality but seeing our adorable tinko eagerly waiting for us made the transition easier...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Japan Day Thirteen: Last Night in Tokyo

For breakfast, we had breads from Dominique Saibron which we bought the night before.

We had to take a quick breakfast because it was already our last whole day in Tokyo and we still had a lot of ground to cover.

First agenda of the day was to go to Tsukiji Market. Even from the underground train station, we could already smell the fishy aroma of the market.

Tsukiji Market is one of the largest wholesale fish and seafood markets in the world handling 400 types of seafood and over 2,000 tons of marine products daily. 

The market can get busy especially during the early morning hours but it was not a problem for us sleepyheads, as we reached Tsukiji at past 9 in the morning. We didn't bother waking up early because the tuna auction which happens at 5:20am daily was closed to tourists during our time in Tokyo.

Good thing many fresh seafood were still available when we arrived:

Having fully explored the wet area, we proceeded to the rows of sushi and sashimi joints situated near the market. Restaurant below is one of the most popular establishments in Tsukiji but we couldn't afford to wait 3 hours just to get a table.

We settled for this place which had a manageable 30 minute line.

To date this is the most compact joint I've been to. It couldn't be helped to bump into the other patrons in order for me to reach my seat.

Creamy Sesame Sauce

This was the first time Murtle and I had sashimi for brunch and it truly was a memorable meal. We had the freshest sashimi of our lives with everything turning out to be super sweet and oh-so soft. I can't help but daydream about the food we had at Tsukiji for it was perfect!
Murtle's Set

Tuna and Salmon Rice Bowl

My Set

Shrimp, Crab Meat, Scallops, Roe, Octopus, Tuna, etc.

From the wonderful sashimi brunch at Tsukiji, we headed to Akihibara. Akihibara is the center of the diehard anime and manga culture in Tokyo. As I'm not an anime fan, I strolled around just to get a vibe of the district.

Maid cafes are also popular in Akihabara with a lot of girls in cosplay gear promoting the establishments on the street.

We then went to the Imperial Palace 

and the Imperial Gardens.

We didn't stay for long though as it was drizzling.

Ginza is near the Imperial Palace but we couldn't figure out how to reach the shopping area by foot so we just took a cab. Ginza is the most famous upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in Tokyo feauring rows and rows of department stores, shops, and restaurants.

After doing little damage at Ginza, we realized how tired we were and decided to return to our hotel room to rest. It also dawned on us that we haven't had anything to eat since our sashimi brunch so we stopped for snacks at Shinjuku.
Mister Doughnut

Gindaco Takoyaki

Feeling refreshed after the hotel room visit, it was time for our last dinner in Tokyo. We chose to spend it at La Table de Joel Robuchon in Yebisu.

We had to take the lift and

walk into the beautiful lobby...

to reach La Table de Joel Robuchon, a 2 Michelin star restaurant.

Murtle and I both ordered from the set menu. The set we chose included amuse, appetizer, main course, dessert, plus coffee or tea accompanied by a selection of sweets.

Complimentary Bread


Le Haricot Vert:  Green Bean Salad Served with Duck Liver Shavings and Parmesan Cheese

Le Foie Gras de Canaro:  Seared Duck Liver with Cabbage and Smoked Bacon Cappuccino

La Selle D' Agneau:  Roasted Lamb Saddled with Eggplant Compote, Cumin, and Candied Lemon

Le Canard Challandais: Roasted Challans Duck Served with Braised Endive and an Orange Reduction

Le Chocolat:  Bitter Chocolate Tart with Pistachio Ice Cream

L'Ivoire: White Chocolate Ball Filled with a Herb Sherbet and Chartreuse Lime


Sugar Cubes


Robuchon was perfect in the sense that the calm and leisurely pace of dinner allowed us to slow down, relax, and just enjoy the last remaining moments we had in Tokyo. I have to admit though that I wasn't completely blown away with the food I had. 

In a city where there are more Michelin stars than Paris, I could only look back with regret. Oh well, at least Yebisu was pretty at night. 

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