Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 16 & 17 – Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo)

Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 16 & 17 – Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo)

See: Japan Trip 2012 itinerary and summary

Day 16: December 11

This was our last official day in Japan. Our first stop would be Tokyo Sky Tree, which was completed in earlier in the year (2012), becoming the new tallest building in Tokyo (and Japan) and the new hot spot to visit. I knew it would be busy.


Tokyo Sky Tree is not as central as Tokyo Tower (which I didn’t visit the observatory level of this trip, but did go to the top for the previous trip. I’ll touch on a comparison later), but is built with a large shopping, dining and entertainment complex called Tokyo Solamachi. There’s also an aquarium. We were lucky that it was such a beautiful day. It’s really cool to walk up towards the tower and look up! To me it always feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, as surrounding buildings are fairly short and residential compared to the dense skyscraper suburbs.

Because Japan loves new attractions, the waiting queue was monstrous! I think if we had gone a few months earlier it would have been impossible to visit. We lined for close to an hour before getting tickets. There are actually reservations tickets (from two months in advance) and fast-pass tickets for foreigners, so during very busy times, purchasing tickets on the day may not be available if everyone’s purchased ahead.

We purchased tickets for the first and second observatory. These tickets are some of the most expensive admission tickets I’ve purchased in Japan. I would recommend not going beyond the first observatory if it’s not an exceptionally clear day, as you will probably not see much more. They have signs on the first observatory level every day that will let you know which iconic attractions are visible on the day (importantly, Mt Fuji).

As you can see, Mt Fuji was visible on this day (this was taken from the first observatory level)!



On the first observatory level, you can get your photo taken in a specially decorated area. It’s a bit cliche, but the staff will also take one on your own camera as a free service. It’s pretty difficult to get a good photo with a person and the background yourself. The staff have a decent spot set up, and they will use flash. If you don’t give them your camera on the wrong setting (whoops my fat thumb), you’ll probably get a really decent photo for free. We liked the photo they took on their professional camera, so we purchased it as a memento. On the second observatory level, there’s a glass floor to stand on and look down. One other reason why I don’t think visiting the second observatory level appreciably better is that it is ridiculously hot. This was a warm winter day, and being that high up and surrounded by nothing but glass in a confined space with hundreds of people… it was really hot and stifling. I can’t imagine how bad it would be during autumn, spring or summer!

Having been up both Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower, I think they are both unique experiences. Tokyo Sky Tree is less central and a lot taller, so you see more of the greater city of Tokyo, but less of the iconic details that you can see from the more central Tokyo Tower. If you’re not interested in ascending either, Tokyo Tower will always be the most iconic structure, and I think it’s absolutely worth wandering around in the nearby region to get those shots of the red tower against the city. Personally, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (see day 13 post) is actually my favourite building for city views of Tokyo, because the rooftop offers views undisturbed by a glass window, and you’re really in the heart of central Tokyo with great views of Tokyo Tower itself.

Following that, we had a quick lunch at a simple restaurant in Tokyo Solamachi.


The rest of the day was for us to just wander around Tokyo some more. We walked around Omotesando and Shibuya. It really was such a nice day.



By dinner time, we were in central Shibuya and found an okonomiyaki restaurant in Center-gai. Despite it being such a busy location, it was actually really great.



Every table had it’s own grill plate, and the okonomiyaki was divine!!! There’s nothing like it here.

After dinner, we walked around a bit more, enjoying the (crazy) hustle and bustle and city lights.



We returned to our hotel for our last sleep in Japan.

Day 17: December 12

We had a morning flight from Narita to Hong Kong. We took the JR Narita Express (NEX) from Shinjuku station (purchased the tickets the previous day, just to be on the safe side so there would be less to worry about), which was really convenient and so comfortable. It is, however, quite expensive and still takes 90 minutes.

At the airport, we had a farewell meal of ramen!


And that concludes the two-week trip in Japan! I was pleased with how it turned out and what we were able to fit in. It was my first time really travelling through multiple cities and using the JR pass. I was so glad to check a lot of things off my Japan bucket list. It was well worth doing it all myself after many, many hours of research. Though I realise I’m at a distinct advantage as it’s my third trip and can speak Japanese. Soon I will get started on posting about my 3-week Japan 2016 trip!

But maybe Hong Kong first…

Food lately: July 2017

Pork ragu open lasagne (Romulus & Remus, Richmond)

I could only pick one outstanding dish for the month. I think this was my first open lasagne. The pasta was silky smooth, while the ragu was hearty and had a good kick of chilli too. So yummy.

Various cakes from Ganache Chocolate and Zumbo

I was spoiled by cakes last month. T kindly bought me various mini cakes for my birthday.

Food lately: May & June 2017

Caballa Ahumada: House cold smoked Spanish mackerel with pine nut gazpacho sorbet (Movida Bar de Tapas, Melbourne CBD)

This was entirely not something I would have ordered. I can’t put my finger on it but in one mouthful, it was a beautiful combination of flavour, texture and contrasting temperature. The sorbet was definitely an inventive and unexpected twist. So yum!

Eggs and Waffle Benedict: Smoked ham and cheddar waffle, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise (Seven Seeds, Carlton)

Sounds simple and homely on paper, but the amount of flavour packed into those waffles and hollandaise made it incredible. One of my favourite brunch dishes!




Regular and deluxe sushi boxes from Omakase menu (Kisume, Melbourne CBD)

A glorious amount of sushi for six people. The seafood was really fresh and the variety of preparations was wonderful.

Food lately: March & April 2017

Long time no blog! I knew it would be difficult, but full time Masters and work is kicking my butt. I’m staying afloat better than I thought, though.

Actually I didn’t have any outstanding food dishes from March, so these are all really from April.

KFC: Kentucky Fried Cauliflower (Dexter, Preston)

The first time we naively rocked up to this establishment, we were told the next table was available at 9pm. We left, of course. For the next visit, I had to book three weeks ahead (because I also wanted a table, not bar seating). We rarely go to places that need booking far in advance, and if it’s that popular, we’re more used to having to line up/go early since “cool Melbourne” is all about “no bookings”. I was expecting great things, but also prepared for disappointment, because well… case in point: Chin Chin. I was blown away though, especially by our starters. The batter was so addictive and perfectly fried (I could eat it all day…). I especially loved that the cauliflowers (one of my favourite foods, btw) were in large chunks and not at all disguised or hidden by the batter.

Hot meat doughnut (Dexter, Preston)

For the sake of this post, I actually decided the KFC was my favourite dish of the night. But these meat doughnuts still deserve mention. The only thing we both hated was the sugar. I thought it was perfect enough (especially the dough) without having to be so overtly “doughnut-y” with all the sugar. The meat inside was so moist and packed with flavour. I can see these being a real signature menu item.

(I can’t find the name of this anywhere, but I think it was) Beef short ribs tacos with corn, chilli and pineapple salsa, pomegranate, yoghurt and lime (Left Field, Carnegie)

These were the best brunch tacos I’ve ever had! They were great sizes and had the perfect ratio of tortilla to filling. The filling was also quite delicate with a lot of elements. It had everything I love about a balanced dish – contrasting textural elements (smooth yoghurt and crunch from the pomegranate) and flavours (acidity, sweetness, richness, smokiness). I was quite impressed.

Bulgogi K-quesadilla (Chimac Plus, Abbotsford)

I’ve visited the original Chimac before and the menu is the same, I think. They do very good Korean fried chicken and Korean-Mexican fusion. I don’t think I’ve had the K-quesadilla before. The quesadilla was really well toasted and nothing fell out or came apart (I loved that, haha). It had a nice crunch too. Something about this fusion worked really well. The cheese was not too strong but complemented the subtle flavours of the bulgogi, and gosh those jalapenos were spicy.

Food Lately: February 2017

Cheesy Puds: Piped with prosciutto goats cheese & black olive goats cheese (Hercules Morse Kitchen + Bar, South Melbourne)

It was my first time ordering the cheesy puds from Hercules Morse. They were, once again, perfect little morsels. I loved the flavour combinations with the creamy and tangy goats cheese. I couldn’t decide on a favourite!

Mac ‘n’ cheese croquette (Kitty Burns, Abbotsford)

This was just a side I wanted to order. But it was pretty epic and delicious. Look at how perfect the shape is! It was wonderfully crispy, and the mac n cheese inside had a great consistency and flavour. The inside kept its integrity really well. How can you say no to this croquette? Yum.

Matcha soft serve (Yokozuna, Chadstone)

Perhaps unexpectedly, I still think that the best matcha soft serve in Melbourne is from all the restaurants that have this one particular machine. The soft serve texture and flavour is spot on, and it’s a fraction of the cost of the fancy places (that don’t even taste better). You just can’t beat this soft serve.

Chives dumplings (Paradai II Thai, Carnegie)

These were sooo good! They came out piping hot, and the skin was super crispy while the filling of chives was very flavoursome. I was pleasantly surprised that it was all chives (without excessive binding agents and fillers). These were winning starters!