Tokyo Dome, Last Minute Shopping, Food Hall Lunch

by wired2theworld on September 16, 2011

Post image for Tokyo Dome, Last Minute Shopping, Food Hall Lunch

On our last day in Tokyo we have about half a day before we have to leave for the airport for a 7pm flight back to Los Angeles. The hotel has allowed us a (slightly) late checkout at 2pm, so we set out to do a little last minute shopping and sightseeing.

The first goal is to find a baseball hat with a Tokyo team logo on it for a friend which turns out to be much harder than it seems. We ask the concierge who, after a bit of research tells us we need to go to an official store at the Tokyo Dome where they sell licensed baseball gear.

Around the Shinkjuku train station there are a few sporting goods stores, but indeed, they only sell plain baseball caps. Using our JR passes, we take the train from Shinjuku station to the Tokyo Dome stop, about a half hour ride.

Tokyo JR Rail

On the JR line to the Tokyo Dome

Tokyo JR Rail

Sleeping on the job? Nah, just "resting"...

Once there, we find a couple of shops selling a very limited selection of hats which are (to me) crazy-expensive (about $45). David buys one for his friend but thankfully forgoes the one for himself.

Under the Tokyo Dome

Under the Tokyo Dome

On the way back to the train, we pass a street vendor with a cart selling cream filled pastries called obanyaki. We stopped and bought one, really having no idea what it would be like, but it was amazing! Warm, soft and filled with a slightly sweet pastry cream, you can’t go wrong there. He was also selling some filled with red bean paste.

Tokyo Obanyaki

Obanyaki

On the JR Train

David, taking a photo out of the front of the train.

Back onto the train where we went to the Harajuku stop, only to discover that even though it is Sunday, there were almost no people walking around in costume. From there, we took another walk down Takashita Dori and were going to head down to the Oriental Bazaar store, but decided we did not have time. Instead, we found a guy on the corner of Omote-Sando and Meiji-Dori selling vintage kimonos and robes. I bought a vinatge haori, which is hip length with hanging kimono style sleeves and typically worn like a jacket over a kimono.

Detail of Haori

Detail on haori.

The one I chose is a very simple and elegant black, with delicate embroidery on the back and lined a pink and white patterned silk, perfect as a dressy cover up on a night out. David chose a traditional cotton yakuta robe in blue and brown. As I paid, I realized that we were spending every last bit of our yen. Thankfully, we already had our tickets for the return airport bus. The only problem was going to be lunch…

We solved the cash dilemma on way back to the hotel, by stopping in one of the department store food halls connected to Shinjuku station to buy an assortment for lunch back in the room; freshly cooked gyoza and sushi made to order. Thankfully, we were able to pay for it with a credit card.

Tokyo food hall market

Tokyo food hall market

Tokyo food hall lunch

Lunch from the food hall.

View from Tokyo Hilton

A last look at our view from the Tokyo Hilton

The bus for the airport departs the hotel once an hour, but because of possible traffic they recommend you leave very early. Needless to say, we arrived very early (around 3:30pm) for our 7pm departure. We sat in the departure hall where there’s some really cool murals (below) and held on to our rented Mifi for the last couple of hours, then dropped it into mail box.

Mural at Narita

Mural at Narita

Our plane was not full and we were able to switch seats with the guy next to the window in my row so that David and I had 3 seats for the 2 of us. I slept more than expected and we arrived back in LA in a record 9 hours flight time.

To sum up the trip in six words; we cannot wait to go back.

Tokyo woman Obi

One final obi.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lynn September 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

I know what a labor of love these posts can be. Again, many thanks for taking the time to share. I love traveling with you and enjoyed seeing Japan through your eyes. Amazing trip details, incredible photos! Can’t wait for “our” next journey!

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2 wired2theworld September 16, 2011 at 8:54 am

Thanks so much Lynn! “Our” next trip is to Italy!

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3 Michael September 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I hear the pastries in Japan are amazing. Obanyaki looks delicious.
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4 wired2theworld September 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Michael, it was delicious! And yes, the pastries there, both Japanese and French, were incredible!

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5 Kent @ No Vacation Required September 18, 2011 at 7:52 am

Oh… it gets the “can’t wait to go back” stamp of approval. That says a lot. I hope to have the chance to learn more about your overall impressions. What made the biggest (most positive) impact? What makes you want to go back?

obanyaki = :)
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6 wired2theworld September 18, 2011 at 8:20 am

Kent, what got me was the diversity of cuisine and countryside that I was not expecting. We ate something completely different almost every day and it was almost all good. The country is a lot like California in that the climate and topography includes everything from tropical beaches to skiing in the mountains. I love the simple, clean and uncluttered design aesthetic. I love that things are so orderly, clean, safe and efficient there. I feel like we only got a taste of 1% of what is there and that there’s so much more to see and experience I definitely want to return.

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7 Kent @ No Vacation Required September 19, 2011 at 6:37 am

Interesting to hear that about the countryside, and I couldn’t agree more about the design aesthetic. You’ve inspired us to move Japan up on the list.
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8 Monika September 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Oh, I can see that it’s really delicious and I know what a labor of love these posts can be. Again, many thanks for taking the time to share. I love traveling with you and enjoyed seeing Japan through your eyes. Amazing trip details and a great incredible photos.

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9 jenjenk September 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm

YAY! so glad you liked it and that you decided to make the plunge and go! Although visiting japan is filled with family obligations for me [thankfully my family is GREAT and I enjoy spending time with them!!!], I still like going back time and time again!!
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10 Jarmo @ Artic Nomad September 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I love Japan, seeing all those photos brings back so many memories. I need to go there agian. The food in Japan is just amazing, maybe the best food in the world! Such a shame you didn’t find many people in costumes in Harajuku, it can be a bizarre sight :)
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11 wired2theworld September 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Jarmo-Yes, it’s so odd. We actually saw thousands of the Harajuku Girls on the first Sunday we were there, but they were nowhere to be found a week later.

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12 Sheila October 2, 2011 at 4:24 am

Oh, Tokyo!! I miss this place the most. *sigh* Thanks for sharing your pictures. I love looking at photos of Tokyo life taken by other travelers. I really wanna go back there soon!

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13 Edna October 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

How many times I’ve been at Japan and I love the place especially seeing all those photos brings back a lot of memories. I have to visit again with my husband. The meals in Japan is simply amazing, maybe the most effective food on earth! Great!

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14 David Bloger October 20, 2011 at 3:03 am

With its huge white dome roof, the city’s “Big Egg,” or Tokyo Dome, in Bunkyo Ward is definitely hard to miss. I want to visit Tokyo againnn! Love this post =)

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15 Karen October 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Thank you the tour in Tokyo. I think it is a fascinating place. I like the way it is so clean and busy. The dome looks amazing. I love the pictures of the food and kimono. I am curious what obanyaki taste like. I will definitely try one someday.

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