When in Manila, it’s easy to dream of travelling to Tokyo. Why not? Tokyo is the center of fashion and technology, where the old and the new meet and collide in a
way that’s uniquely Japanese. Although this isn’t likely to happen to anyone but me, what would you do if you were given just one night in Tokyo?
Have Breakfast at Family Mart
There’s nothing like the cool fluorescent lighting of a convenience store to kickstart your day. There are Family Marts and Lawson stores all over Japan, and breakfast is all about trying something you would never find in a Mini-Stop or 7-11.
Our first stop of the day was Meiji Jingu, right beside the Harajuku district in Shibuya. The temple is small and simple, but it has a calm, serene and prayerful feel. If you’re here on the weekend, you might be able to catch traditional wedding ceremonies. As for us, it was cold enough for us to still see patches of snow in the temples! You can only imagine how our hands felt when we had to cleanse them at the temple entrance! Near the entrance to the temple, there’s a whole row of giant sake jars. They belong to sumo wrestling champions who drink them in celebration of their win. People can buy prayers in the temple. There are prayers for luck, road safety and prosperity. As with most temples in Japan, there’s a wall where you can write prayers on wooden blocks and post them.
PASALUBONG STOP: Before leaving Meiji Temple, check out the souvenir shop for Cherry Blossom Tea and other traditional Japanese gifts.
Pause and take in the serene atmosphere of Meiji Jingu.
Walk around Harajuku District
One of everyone’s favorite fashion capitals, Harajuku district is a must-see. It’s right outside Meiji Temple, so get exploring! They say it’s best to go there on Sundays–we didn’t see much since it was Monday–because there are cosplayers and fashionistas alike who come out and play 50s music. We walked around the back streets of the shopping area to check out the small stores.
Street Photography becomes a sport at the Harajuku District.
Have Amazing Ramen for Lunch
Since you’re in Japan for one night, you’d be crazy to miss out on one of the best Japanese dishes out there. Instant ramen has nothing on this. In the Ebisu area, still in Shibuya, lies one of the best ramen joints in Japan. Step into Ippudo Ramen, a tiny, unassuming store in a tiny, unassuming street. Their bestseller is the Akamaru ramen (800 yen), which is pork-based. The soup is flavourful and delicious, and you can’t help but keep slurping. We ate this with their Gyoza so we were pretty stuffed. I’m no ramen expert (the only ramen I’ve tried before is Roku Ramen in Katipunan, and that doesn’t really count), but I could tell that this was a good dish.
Thick, sweet and absolutely filling.
I’m sure you will have a lot more time than we did on your one day trip. If so, continue to Shibuya station to meet up with the famous Hachiko statue and cross the Shibuya crossing ala Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation.