After two nights at Asakusa, we moved onto the Ginza district at a nearby airbnb. My partner wanted us to have a chance to stay in different areas instead of being in one single area, as we had in our previous trip to Tokyo. The Ginza area is an upmarket shopping district filled with high end fashion. However, more affordable options have been appearing, such as the flagship Uniqlo store, as well as other retailers.
Our airbnb was approximately 15 minutes walk from Ginza station. Our host had agreed to meet us at Ginza station and walk us to the apartment, which is really helpful to get your head around the area. It was raining heavily on the day, so she was nice enough to pick us up by car and drive us there.
What stood out though, was that she had left her car unattended with the hazards on, keys in the ignition, just sitting on the main commercial street of Ginza. She did this while waiting for us at the foot of the stairs at the station. Only in Japan right? If this was anywhere else in the world, im sure someone would either try to steal something from the car, or steam the car itself!
After a short 5 minute drive, we arrived at the apartment. We were instructed nicely not to tell anyone that we were airbnb customers. We were “just friends from overseas”. This made me feel a little concerned, and each time we ventured in and out of the building, I was a little nervous about running into anyone. Fortunately, this entire apartment block felt deserted the whole time, as we didn’t see one person, or hear a peep from any of the other apartments. Creepy!
The room itself was quite small, which is representative of Tokyo density i suppose. Nothing to complain about except the wet towel smell that came out of the air conditioner. The AC unit would also randomly turn on and off for us.
We started the day by going to Uniqlo. My partner wanted to go clothes shopping, so i tagged along and two hours later, we were done 🙂
We followed that up by going to the flagship Muji store, also in Ginza. This is one of those examples of Japan thats often hard to convey to people. Its not that theres a million sights for you to see, but its the random cool shit you stumble on. This Muji store was great! On the upper floors there was a section with very interesting English books, like subjects on relations between Japanese people and foreigners that work in Japan. While upstairs, there is a coffee vending machine where you can get hot/cold variations of instant sweet coffee. We basically sat here and read for a few hours!
If I was to explain that to someone in person, they would say that this was a waste of a day. Who reads on holidays while in Japan? I think its up to people to decide what and how they want to spend their break. If its reading in a Muji store, then who’s to judge right?
Feeling hungry, we decided to look for the legendary Tsukemen ramen outlet highlighted in David Chang’s documentary, mind of a chef. I must have seen that episode at least 10 times before going to Japan.
The walk took around 15 minutes, and after some confusion we figured out where it was. Tokyo station is a bit of an underground puzzle. The restaurants is located in the ramen street, filled with about 10 ramen stores all selling a regional variety. Of course we elected for the one with the longest line, serving Tsukemen.
Ramen was delicious, no doubt about it. Best meal i had in Japan. Piping hot pork broth with chewy ramen noodles. Photos describe it better than i can.
Ninja Restaurant is Lame
I can’t remember what we did next to fill in the hours, but we ended up at the Ninja restaurant in Akasaka. This place is pricey, but it was recommended to me by friends for a little fun.
Basically you are taken into a dark restaurant that is themed like a cave / ninja dungeon i suppose? Laughs occur here and there as the hosts and waiters do magic tricks. I can’t find any photos, and this post has taken weeks to get up, so im gonna leave it at this point 🙂