While the temperature in Tokyo was nowhere close to being as cold as Toronto (-30˚C people!), it wasn’t quite as pleasant as I had hoped for with grey skies looming over the city during the first couple of days. And unlike Canada, the house I stayed at didn’t have the luxury of central heating.
Although it was far from downtown Tokyo and quite inconvenient to get around without a car, I had the best of time staying outside the city with my family friends. Aside from saving money, I had the opportunity to experience the true domestic Japanese culture. I’m talking sleeping on tatamis (with a comfy futon of course), watching tv by the kotatsu (a blanket covered-wooden table with a heat source underneath) and taking relaxing baths after a long day of touring the city.
So on my first day in Tokyo, I decided to hit up Shibuya, the shopping district. Avoiding the rain, I decided to go to a relatively new (and ultra hip) mall called Hikarie. It hosts many independent Japanese clothing and beauty boutiques from floors one to five and various restaurants and cafés on floors six and seven. The mall also houses a gallery space on the eighth floor, which is a great place to check out after a meal. After what seemed like forever commuting on the most complex train system I’ve ever experienced, it was noon by the time I arrived in Shibuya. And since I had breakfast quite early in the morning (#jetlagproblems), you can say I was ravenously hungry. With the abundance of restaurants to choose from, I settled on a ramen place – simple and delicious.
While the restaurant had a lunch special where you can order a bowl of ramen with a side order of their famous gyozas included, I opted just for the in-house special (my stomach was technically still on Canada time aka asleep). Use to seeing thicker ramen noodles, I was pleasantly surprised to see how thin the noodles were. I later found out that this restaurant serves Hakata style ramen, one of the top three styles of Japanese ramen that are distinct for their firm texture and thin, straight and white in appearance. Combined with the rich tonkotsu (pork bone) soup base, it was exactly what I needed after a morning of walking in the rain.
Location: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
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Till next time,