Helloooooooo, Japan! After spending a few days in Hong Kong, I finally made it to my top dream destination! Seriously, ever since becoming infatuated with Japanese cuisine when I was little due to my parents bringing me to a particular restaurant and grocery store, I’ve always wanted to go to Japan.
I landed at Narita International Airport and lined up at a booth to purchase a Narita Express (N’EX) ticket to Shinjuku, Tokyo’s largest neighborhood. The platform was a couple levels down.
The fast and convenient limited express train directly connects Narita Airport with major areas in Tokyo. A one-way ticket to Shinjuku cost around 3,190 yen ($30). Seats are reserved.
It was a pleasant ride and took around an hour and a half. My sister already arrived from the Philippines earlier in the day and I was going to meet her at the hotel. I thought it was a short walk to the hotel, but ended up leaving through the far exit of the station and getting lost, dragging my luggage around the streets of Tokyo for 45 minutes.
It was sensory overload once I stepped out the station. I was instantly attracted to the bustling streets with bright neon lights, tall buildings, and crowds of people. Within Shinjuku is Kabuchiko. It’s a major entertainment district with numerous shops, bars, love hotels, 24-hour restaurants, and nightclubs. I always try to stay in the middle of all the action!
I eventually spotted our hotel. The Hotel Gracery is located smack dab in the middle of the Kabukicho entertainment district. It’s also known as the “Godzilla Hotel”.
The lobby was located on the 8th floor of the Shinkuku Toho Building. Godzilla everywhere!
If you step outside on the balcony of the 8th floor, you’ll see the famous Godzilla Head. I made my way up to the room where my sister was waiting.
Even though I was tired from the previous few days, I was super excited to explore Tokyo. We met in Thailand the year before, now we made it to Japan! We left the hotel for dinner and a show.
It was just the beginning of spotting all the cute random things around Japan.
There were so many places to eat. We just stopped by a random place that looked good and had a vegan option. We ended up going to Iwamoto Q – a small casual soba noodle joint.
It used a ticket machine like many eateries in Japan do. I was so excited to try it! You just pick what you want, insert your cash, take the ticket, and hand it to the person behind the counter.
I mentioned using cash. You’re gonna want to make sure you carry a good amount of cash in Japan. Most places are still cash only, especially restaurants. I ordered the Meat Tendon Set with hot Soba Noodles.
Tendon is tempura served over a bowl of rice. The breaded fried pork pieces were crispy and simply delicious.
My sister had the Grated Yam Soba.
Dinner was quick, simple, and yummy. We walked around until our showtime at the world-famous Robot Restaurant. It was definitely…interesting.
Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
1 Chome-19-1 Kabukicho
Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8466, Japan
1 Chome−4−8 Kabukicho
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan