Happy new year! I rang in 2015 with family and friends in the capital, Tokyo. It was another short trip (only four nights) but despite this and our lack of plans prior to going, it turned out to be one of my favourite Tokyo stays yet.
We stayed a 10 minute walk out of Shinjuku, so our daily commute to the station was walking amongst the giants in the skyscraper district. There's nothing like a bunch of towering buildings to remind you you're not in Fukuoka anymore.
We spent our first full day exploring Kichijoji area with my brother. I'm so glad we were taken there, as I'd never heard of it before but loved it right away. There is a big youth presence in Kichijoji which means lots of cool cafes, restaurants and shops. I was more than happy to pop into a few of the local vintage and secondhand shops and came away with some bargains (a tsumori chisato bracelet for ¥800! A skirt by the Tokyo label Katie for ¥1,000!).
There is also a beautiful, large park called Inokashira Park which links Kichijoji with Mitaka (home to the Ghibli Museum). The sunshine and mild winter weather allowed us to spend the arvo wandering around the park, and we visited the Ghibli Museum for memories of our first time in Japan in 2009.
The next day was New Year's Eve, and we spent the morning at Roppongi Hills where we saw the Tim Burton exhibition and took in a 360 view from the impressive sky deck.
On our way from Roppongi to Daikanyama we stopped for what I like to call a "lady lunch" in Japan. This is a lunch set featuring a few small, delicious dishes, a soup and a drink. You'll find endless variations on the "lady lunch" theme at cafes all over Japan, but this one was well above average and we opted for the very cool futon seating area.
Next we stopped off at Daikanyama T-site, a three building haven of Tsutaya book stores, plus a Starbucks and some design shops and a great courtyard garden area. Here we met up with my brother again and spent the afternoon reading outside under huge heaters, taking turns going inside to get lost amongst the shelves of books. It reminded me heaps of the Takeo City Tsutaya library, and made me wish that either of these places were closer to my home so I could spend all my time there.
Dinner at a lovely izakaya was followed by drinks at my brother's place while we waited for 2015. Sometimes having little plans on New Year's Eve makes for a memorable, warm night.
New Year's Day we met up with my beautiful friend Natsuki, visiting Mt. Takao for hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year). The trek up to the shrine was a little steeper than my tired legs wanted, but we were rewarded with snow when we got there; A magical surprise which made for an unforgettable New Year's Day.
The final morning before we departed, Kam and I treated ourselves to delectable sweets at the Laduree store in Lumine 2 Building, Shinjuku. Years ago in Paris we were lucky enough to have a meal and yummy desserts at the original Laduree store in Champs d'Elysees. The desserts were just as incredible as I had remembered.
Thanks again Tokyo, see ya soon!