This post contains the stories of my Japan trip on day 1, 26 March 2017: from CGK to HKG to NRT, Asakusa.
We arrived in the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 20:30 on 25 of March, while our flight was for 00:05 the next date. After we entered the gate, I noticed a LOT of kids. Already my mood was kind of bad. That flight was going to be really noisy. Luckily, our seat were quite far from the kids. Phew. At least I could get some sleep.
When we arrived in Hong Kong International Airport at around 5 o’clock, almost none of the store were opened. I waited until the Starbucks went open at 7 and bought a breakfast croissant with ham and egg and cheese. Why is this not in Indonesia?! Why?!
(This part is annoying and disgusting) I kinda forgot the boarding time but there was something a lot more interesting than (obviously) the boarding time. When people queued, we saw this handsome tall guy in his mid-late 20s that look a lot like Korean actors. We were talking about how handsome he was when I saw his passport. We freakin googled which country that issued the passport and turned out that was a Japanese one. Daym. I was like, “Hey, what if we sat next to him on the airplane?” Guess what, we did! What a magnificent coincidence. Ha! He spoke really good English and had this really charming smile. Sadly he was wearing a wedding ring.
Upon arriving in Narita International Airport at 14:30, we spent a lot of time getting confused and stuff. After getting out from the immigration booth and took our luggage, first we activated the 7-day JR Pass and reserved our Shinkansen seats for Tokyo-Osaka (31 Mar) and Osaka-Tokyo (6 Mar). Then we bought our train tickets to Asakusa, our first Airbnb location. Anyway I brought one very large suitcase and one small one because I knew I’d be purchasing a lot of snacks throughout the trip. It didn’t seem like a good decision back then. It’s SO DAMN DIFFICULT to carry around 2 suitcases. Moreover, the train system was really confusing. We had to ask the train guys for the directions and which platforms we should wait on and stuff. You get absolutely no information from the ticket when you don’t know the language. My friend, Sonia, (thankfully) knows a little bit of Japanese but those kanjis are a lot on different level. Oh, Japan.
The first thing you’d notice when you enter a regular Japanese train is the amount of advertisements they put on everywhere. It was crazy. There were a lot of writings I didn’t understand, but obviously every inches of ads space were being used. I was really excited that I couldn’t stop looking at the landscape throughout the train ride. There were a lot of aesthetically-shaped houses, lots and lots of street ads, malls and other buildings. “I’m in Japan and I cannot believe this,” the things we said to each other. Oh, and a lot of Japanese people wear surgical masks. I didn’t know why but after looking it up, it’s somewhere between “don’t wanna harm other people with my cold and flu”, “don’t wanna be harmed with others’ cold and flu” and “don’t bother me”. Pretty normal, I guess.
Upon arriving in Asakusa station at around 17:00, we were really devastated because there were no freaking escalators of even lifts. We had to went up and down countless stairs. The weather was like 10 degrees celsius and I was sweating. Imagine that. The moment we finally got out of the station entrance/exit, it was raining (thankfully, not heavily). Couldn’t believe my luck.
Luckily our apartment was only about 400 meters from the station. We always had to cross the Asakusa red bridge during our stay in Asakusa and it felt cool. We always had to see the golden poop thing from Asahi beer building and we could always see the Tokyo Skytree from there. And the apartment was really nice. It has everything you need to actually live in there. At US$112 per night, I expected no less. And yes it was THAT expensive because spring is a total high season, and it was Asakusa anyway; one of the most expensive residence area in Tokyo. They usually reduce the price A LOT on low season.
At 18:00 we got out of our apartment and went to the Asakusa temple area—which was really close anyway—and immediately got drooled by the street food. We bought a sakura mochi (JPY 142, US$1.28), which I didn’t really like because of the pickle) and sweet potato taiyaki (JPY 180, US$ 1.62) which was the best and only taiyaki I ate during the trip. One thing to note, because we wanted to eat a lot kind of food, many of them were only eaten once throughout the entire trip. Japan’s culinary world is simply amazing.
We already planned to stop by this tendon restaurant and had to stroll around the Asakusa streets. It was really beautiful because the puddles reflected the lights, and every shops were designed so aesthetically satisfying to our eyes. Except, it was extremely cold at 7 degrees celsius with a lot of wind and a little rain I couldn’t really take pictures because my hands were freezing. I’m coming from a tropical country with the average temperature of 30 degrees so.
Finally we found and entered Tendon Tenya, a google-map-famous tendon restaurant. I ordered the seafood tendon (840 JPY, US$7.60) and gosh, I cannot say how scrumptious it was even though the crisp part was a little soggy. The seafood bowl was that good. Imagine if the crisp were actually crispy. We spent about an hour there because it was just too cold outside and the warmth of the tea and the place itself held us inside.
Anyways, we finished our dinner at around 20:00 and wandered around the Asakusa streets once again. We went in front of the temple and took pictures. The cherry blossom flowers were barely buds. Damn, we arrived a week earlier than the actual sakura schedule. That moment, we realised that our plans were entirely fucked. The weather were unpredictably colder this year so the sakura trees bloomed a week later than they were originally predicted. What a luck…
Anyway we continued our pace to the Asakusa station once again and went to Tokyo Skytree. Again, we got confused with the train system (I’ll explain later) and after asking numerous people and got confused on why the hell the train wouldn’t go on schedule, we finally managed to arrive in the freaking Tokyo Skytree at around 21:10. Our destination was actually Cheese Garden, a famous cheesecake cafe that offers a wide variety of cheesecakes (again, obviously. Pardon my language). We ordered a sample course with 5 types of cheese cake at JPY 1180 (US$ 10.65). They were just too heavenly compared to any cheesecakes you encounter in Indonesia. We ate the famous Cremia soft ice cream at JPY 540 (US$4.90) afterwards. That. Was. The. Best. Soft. Ice. Cream. In. The. Fucking. World. You can taste the quality of the milk and it was no joke. I’m no food blogger so I don’t really know how to describe things, but if you go to Japan, whether it is on budget or not, you MUST try it. I experienced the 5th foodgasm right away (and yes I had lots and lots of foodgasm in Japan). And damn, the mall was going to close at 22:00 so we had to go back.
Overall, although I only had about 4 hours to wander around Asakusa on that day, I was exceedingly ecstatic.
Disclaimer: All of the photos above were taken by my friend and me using Nikon D5500 and iPhone 5s. I reduced the quality of the pictures and videos to save my WordPress storage.