Tokyo Trip Posts are baaack!
And its been.. almost three months since our trip! But better late than never, right? I would really blog more if I could, but what with the moving and packing (yes, we’re moving house!) I barely have time to BREATHE and just do all the basic things to get through the day, so forgive this tardy Mama!
Our first day out in Tokyo was a drizzly, rainy one so instead of heading to the parks to search for hanami (it hadn’t bloomed yet, anyway) we decided to spend the day walking around Shibuya, Omotesando, and then Takeshita-Dori (Harajuku). These three hugely popular shopping places are actually very near and very walkable even if you have a toddler and no pram.
We made it a point to fill Sophie up with a good healthy breakfast every morning in case she didn’t want to eat at our lunch or dinner places because she wasn’t used to the food. Meal timings are a little more irregular when we are overseas too, and she’s often so excited by everything going on, so this is our tried and tested way of making sure she gets her veg and energy. 🙂
Supersweet fresh buttered broccoli, an onsen egg, and Japanese kiddie cheese which is less processed than adult cheese and very low in sodium! They have this here in Singapore too at Meidi-ya but its far less affordable. We got all our produce from Don Quijote (like I mentioned in my previous Tokyo post :))
Off we go!
A quick snap near Shibuya Crossing – we didn’t dare to take a photo on the actual crossing because there were just too many people! Gosh I look exhausted but Sophie-doll and I were clearly ready for a full day of shopping!
Spring weather is unpredictable especially in mid-March when its usually the “changing season” period of the year. So we packed many different kinds of layers which we would peel on and off (just like in Europe) according to how cold the wind was or in case of rain. We experienced four seasons in a day, often!
In this photo, she has a thermal layer, then a knit dress, and then thick comfy leggings and finally, a thermal puffer with a hood. That just about covers all situations 🙂
Our first stop – the Muji Multi-Level Megastore at Shibuya!
That’s six floors of Muji products plus a Muji Cafe! We always eat at Muji when we are in Hong Kong visiting my family because I just love their healthier and kid friendly meal choices plus their desserts are often quite wholesome and delicious. We also support their no-waste and eco-friendly concept and their homeware is just beautiful!
MUJI Shibuya Seibu Department store
Address: Tokyo Shibuya-ward Udagawa City 21-1
We made a bee-line for the 5th floor of Muji – the children’s section, to check out their wooden playground.
To be honest, I was quite underwhelmed when I first saw it. It was a small area, all the toys were the same, uniform birch white wood and devoid of color. But you know what? Sophie was completely occupied. I think K and I have been so carried away by the idea of bigger, louder, more vibrant, better that we forgot that children really need very little to be occupied and to learn.
In fact, because the toys were so simple, color free and plain, I could see her inventing and using her imagination more! The mini ball pit full of wooden balls started out as a “pool” and then she called it a giant “cornflake bowl” and started scooping out the balls and offering them to me, and finally they became vegetables to cook in “soup”.
I was so impressed and quite enlightened indeed! I guess I should have known better having done a lot of research on the Montessori method and chosen it for her, but you know, we tend to forget and get carried away in the tide of consumerism and marketing sometimes!
You can purchase beautifully made wooden toys on 5F along with some very chic, minimalist Muji kids clothes. We didn’t buy much as they were a little too thick for Singapore weather, but we did leave with a set of beautiful wooden legos and hand made crayons for Sophie’s Japanese friend, Alex-chan, who we were going to meet the next day!
There’s a huge, clean changing area on 5F at Muji where you can clean up, change your bub, etc, it’s all very well-thought out and designed like most places in Japan! If they had something like that in Singapore, I would be there everyday!
We had a wonderful, delicious lunch at Muji Cafe
Our little explorer plotting out our route for the day – nah, she was just doodling on a map!
It looks like our efforts to keep her at the table during mealtimes and suffering through all those tantrums has finally paid off – she can occupy herself at the table reading, drawing, or just chatting to us through most meals, making hot food finally a possibility for K and I !
What I love about Muji Meals is that so much care is taken into making sure they are nutritionally balanced, varied and yet delicious. I feel so satisfied after every meal there!
We ordered a ten-grain rice set with four sides
- Carrot and Peanut Salad *so refreshing! Like Japanese gado gado
- Mashed Kabocha (Sophie’s favourite!)
- Hokkaido Potato Croquette
- Tender Chicken and Spinach Hambaagu (Hamburg)
All washed down with a matcha latte and a velvety chocolate gateau for dessert!
Now you know what I mean by the meals leaving me feeling completely satisfied and quite virtuous? Not a single thing there is junk but yet it packs a punch in flavors and texture. When so much thought has gone into making complimentary cold and hot dishes, it shows!
Filled up and fueled up, we decided to walk on towards Omotesando (about a 15-20 minute leisurely stroll). It had turned warmer and the weather was just perfect for a walk, while Sophie snoozed in the Tula.
Omotesando is full of interesting, quirky, indie shops but we weren’t really intending to shop – but eat!
First stop, Luke’s Omotesando!
Since we weren’t going to go to New York anytime soon, we decided to join the 30 minute long queue to try out the lobster rolls. Since the weather was great and the lines orderly, whyever not?
Verdict? WOW. I was expecting a more lobster-mayo-all-the-trimmings experience but this was just pure fresh briny sweet lobster with barely a slick of seasoning on a super soft buttery grilled roll. You know it’s got to be GOOD if it’s this naked.
I wish we had ordered a second one 😭 and that Canada Dry ginger ale is the perfect accompaniment
6-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
We continued the walk to Takeshita-dori, just taking in the sights and enjoying the freshly planted spring flowers!
If you ask our Little Miss what the highlight of her day today was.. I’m pretty sure she would say it was this tub of freshly fried Calbee potato chips drizzled with Royce chocolate which we inhaled along Takeshita Dori. The perfect combination of sweet and salty! We ended up leaving with boxes of mixed potato jagabee for her to snack on for the rest of the trip! Too moreish!
Just look at that face!
Five years ago, coming to this street felt right down K’s and my alley. Five years later, I gotta say we are feeling quite thoroughly over aged to be here mingling with the cutesy (and childless) teenagers 😂 But if its your first time in Tokyo, its a must-go, just to experience the lolita and cosplay culture and ogle at the cutesy stores and crazy lingerie shops. And of course, to try out the overstuffed crepes (more of that on another post!)
Calbee Plus (Harajuku Takeshita Street Store)
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku Jingumae 1-16-8 (Along Takeshita St.)
Store Hours: 9:30-20:30, 7 Days a week
And that about concludes our little walkabout for the day! We headed home nice and early to get some rest because the next day we were headed to Tsukiji, Ginza, and then to Roppongi to meet Ai-chan and Alex-chan for Sophie’s first Tokyo playdate!