It has been a while, but Happy Christmas to you all, blog mates! I can’t believe it is already Christmas, and that 2019 is around the corner. I’ve not been able to blog as much I’d have liked in the last few months, but I made time to blog about my trip to Tokyo this past Thanksgiving break. It was a nice getaway where I experienced wonderful events like trying airport lounges, flying business class, and visiting a butler cafe! I hope you’ll enjoy my newest adventure!
I had enough points to redeem a business class ticket with ANA. I was able to check out two lounges — Asiana Airlines Lounge, which came with my plane ticket, and Sky Hub Lounge, which is a Priority Pass lounge. Asiana had better seating and ambience, but Sky Hub had better food. I loved boarding before economy class, and when I arrived at my seat, I was simply appalled by the spacious leg room!
For food and drinks, they were served on real plates and we were given real silverware, glasses, and mugs. I tried the Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut Réserve with some ANA rice cracker. The other dishes were: spicy fried prawns, smoked duck with orange, fried eggplant, sautéed chicken with vinegar sauce, spinach roll, brownie, and green tea. The food was okay, not the best. Guess most airlines food are all subpar!
I was pleasantly surprised to see that business class means luggage coming out first on the carousel. I picked up my pocket wi-fi and exchanged some money. After seeing that the bus would have required me to wait two hours, I took the train to my hotel, and I encountered rush hour — that was not fun — but I made it to my hotel without any issues. I chose to stay at the Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu, a hotel I stayed at before in 2008. I really like this area because it’s quite central to the places I wanted to go! Plus, the metro is right across the street with access to two subway lines.
After checking into my room, I went exploring and reacquainted myself with the Akasaka area. I had dinner at CoCo Ichibanya and had some tonkatsu curry.
I chose to eat here because they had an English menu, haha!
Breakfast is included in my hotel stay. I had the option of an American breakfast buffet or a Japanese breakfast set. I chose the former because it also had the Japanese food corner, so I appreciated the variety of that buffet! After breakfast, I made my way to Ikebukuro and ended up walking around in a circle looking for Tokyu Hands. It was also raining a bit then, but it cleared up later, thank goodness! In Tokyu Hands, I did some shopping and even had liquid glass coating done on my phone screen. After, I went to Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store to look around and then went to a Glocal Coffee shop in Sunshine City to wait for my friend “Teru”.
Teru and I went to Swallowtail, a butler cafe in Ikebukuro’s Otome Road. I’d been looking forward to this experience. I couldn’t take any photos inside the cafe (boo!), but that didn’t stop me from taking a shot of its exterior :)
We both opted to do the Anne Maria afternoon tea set for 3,500 yen. My set came with:
– 3 types of sandwiches (duck pastrami and potato, burdock lotus root salad, and apple cream)
– Earl Grey scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam
– Hazelnut chocolate cream with matcha mousse
– Assam and oolong blended tea
The clotted cream was very interesting — I’d always wanted to try it and I got my chance in Tokyo! I really liked the burdock sandwich. The Earl Grey scone was also divine. The matcha mousse was delicious.
As for the actual butler experience — I felt awkward by the attention. For example, they carried our bags to the table and they wouldn’t let us pour our own tea. We weren’t even allowed to switch out our plates from the holder. Even going to the bathroom and coming back from there required an escort. All in all, I am glad I experienced this place minus the awkwardness. The whole place as fancy with beautiful designs. There were even chandeliers. The place had a good atmosphere. However, the attention given to us was way more than I could tolerate!
Next, Teru and I went shopping. We shopped at the new Animate in Ikebukuro. I only bought one thing there. The Yuri on Ice selections wasn’t great and they had no Hakuouki merchandises. We returned to Matsumoto Kiyoshi for actual skincare shopping and we continued to shop at various stores in Sunshine City.
We ended our evening at Koike, Teru’s favourite izakaya. That place was loud, but the food and drinks were good. I tried the plum, oolong, and lemon shochu cocktails. The plum one was great, and the oolong one was just odd but decent. For food, we ordered:
– French fries
– Slices of tomato with mayo
– Deep-fried shrimps
– Fried Rice
– Fish jerky things
All together, it cost less than $60 for both of us. It was a fun meal. Teru walked me to the metro, and I returned to my hotel.
When I returned to my hotel, I was going to just get ready for bed when I saw that there was a Don Quijote nearby that is opened for 24 hours. I hauled myself over there and shopped until after midnight!
I woke up and had breakfast — I focused on trying more of the Japanese dishes. Tired from my late-night shopping, I took a short nap.
I took the train to Tokyo Station to look at the old station for its architecture. It took my third trip to Tokyo to finally see this. It was really awesome seeing the building in person.
Next stop was Hamarikyu Gardens, a former imperial garden that is now opened to the public. I had a great nature walk there. It was so peaceful and relaxing. However, I still prefer Rikugien Gardens.
After, I returned to my hotel area. I had iced coffee at Tully’s and chilled out in my hotel lobby. Then I headed out to find the last two items on my shopping list. I went to several stores, including BIC Camera and Matsumoto Kiyoshi in Akasaka SACAS. I stopped by Excelsior Caffe for a late lunch — love their clam chowder — and then returned to my hotel room after buying some goodies at Family Mart.
I decided to get dinner later, and I went out to look for this tonkatsu restaurant, but I couldn’t find it or the place closed for good. I wandered around until I decided on Tendon Tenya for some veggie tempura and dipping soba. It was okay — not the best. I spent the rest of my evening in my room because I was knackered from the night before.
My final hotel breakfast — I made it count! I also made sure to finish packing up my stuff. Then I waited for my airport limousine bus and travelled comfortably. At the airport, I returned my pocket wi-fi and checked in with ANA without encountering any queue.
ANA Lounge was a lot better than the two I’d visited in Korea! This lounge had better food. I certainly made sure to enjoy it, which was good because the aeroplane food was not that great.
I made it home safely, and I unpacked my huge souvenir stash that consisted of gifts for other people. All in all, it was a terrific trip! I enjoyed seeing Tokyo again. But I think I was way more satisfied with my Osaka trip last year. I made some great memories, though, and I look forward to my next adventure . . . which will happen in London! Yes, I am bound for London this coming spring! I will finally leave the Pacific and head west. Hope you enjoyed my Tokyo adventure!