Shinjuku from the bridge of the South exit. That's the Park Hyatt in the distance. Our hotel was just past the corner on the left corner.
Thanks for all the comments on my first Tokyo post. I'm glad you didn't feel overloaded with photos! I thought I'd share some more of my favourite parts.
Our hotel was the Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku which was lovely. Small rooms but everywhere is small in Tokyo. It was very fancy and I managed to clear out the free toiletries every day and come home with 7 hairbrushes. Stop judging me! I can really recommend it, it was reasonably priced (which is rare for Tokyo, about £500-600 for 7 nights for a double room I think, double bed in Japan is more like a largeish single though). The location of the hotel was amazing. Firstly we had no problem at all finding it, compared to when I stayed in Ikebukuro in 2007. We got the train from the airport to Shinjuku station and the hotel is about a 5 minute walk from there. It was so good to be in Shinjuku, where you can get Yamanote line (JR train) which is basically a loop which takes you around anywhere you'd want to visit on a trip to Tokyo. It's the busiest train station in the world - apparently 2 million people pass through there every day.
Don Quijote Shinjuku (also in Akihabara if it's more convienient - actually the Akihabara one is way bigger and more exciting so go to it if you have to choose).
Japanese girls are OBSESSED with false eyelashes and contact lenses. I love my false lashes so this was great, but my eyeballs are too pointy for contacts. That's both a true fact AND a quote from Liz Lemon. We have so much in common.
Don Quijote is the most fun shop EVER! It's basically a maze of craziness and such a fire hazard that it'd never be allowed outside of Japan. You can buy anything here, and I mean anything. From laundry detergent to a Hello Kitty vibrator. I'm not even joking. You can check out a video of how mental it is here.
Shinjuku is also home to the Park Hyatt Hotel, as seen in the film Lost in Translation (one of my BA dissertation films). Lost in Translation is shot almost entirely in Shinjuku and neighbouring Shibuya. We went for drinks at the hotel on the last night as a treat. The New York bar is on the top floor and offers amazing views. If you're going get there before 8pm. At 8pm they charge a 2200yen/£19 cover charge (as there's live jazz). The cocktails alone are around £18-20 so unless money is not an issue I recommend going before the cover charge sets in. You can also get a spoonfull of caviar for £130 if you fancy it with your drink :P We went around 6pm as this way we got to see the sun setting and see the Tokyo skyline by day and night. The cocktails were delicious, it was so fancy. I felt a bit out of place but as with all Japanese staff they were very welcoming and polite. If you do go, I recommend the Climbing Rose cocktail. Or if you're after a relaxing time, you could make it Suntory time.
We went for dinner elsewhere (the bar food alone started at £50!) and I managed to embarrass myself by knocking over my full glass of coke and having to apologise (gomenasai!) profusely as I was so embarassed. And this was just a casual place - sooo glad I didn't do it in the Park Hyatt! I managed to pull a whole tablecloth and all the cutlery and glasses to the floor in a fancy restaurant here in Belfast once. So red faced.
How can I put this? Akihabara is basically THE MOST FUN PLACE EVER. It's otaku town, otaku meaning geek. It's full of shops selling manga, action figures, maid cafés (we went to one in 2007 and it sort of creeped me out to be honest), electronic shops, game centers and yummy places to eat. And giant pikachus to buy.
Also I got really excited because from a little googling I was able to find Ja La La, a cat café I wanted to go to. It was so awesome. Basically you pay by the hour (I like to call it cat brothel but this isn't recommended) and you get a drink and can play with the cats all you want. There are some rules so the cats stay happy, like you can't wake them up if they are sleeping and you can't use flash photography. You can buy snacks to feed them. I was in heaven! We went to another one in Odaiba but I'll post photos from that in the next post.
Amazing cuties at Ja La La
I was going to write about Ikebukuro here as well but it's already a bit full! I'll save it for next time :) Hope you liked this, ask away if you have any questions. At the end of these I might do a Japan guide on things like money, customs, travel etc. Does that sound like something you might like to read? x