[title] A Weekend in Tokyo [/title]
It only takes a weekend in Tokyo to show you why it’s the best city in the world. This past weekend is a perfect example of why Tokyo is one of my top favorite cities in the world. You will NEVER get bored here if you’re the type who likes constant stimulation and challenge. There are just so many fun things to do and it’s so easy to get lost in the city’s energy.
Stop 1: Brunch at Urth Caffe in Daikanyama
Any weekend in Tokyo won’t be complete without a good brunch. We woke up on Saturday morning and decided to brunch at Urth Caffe in Daikanyama. If you’re a fan of the series Entourage, or if you just love LA, then you probably know about this LA-style cafe. But Daikanyama is one of our favorite districts in Tokyo, hands down. Imagine West Hollywood having a twin sister on the other side of the world, and you’ll get the idea.
The neighborhood is filled with boutiques, fashion, vintage, art, and some pretty great places to eat. And oh yea, the coolest Tsutaya Book Store I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you can get lost fountain pen shopping for an hour, but its main attraction is its architecture and design.
We often spend hours wandering in and out of shops and little cafes before heading to Leonidas chocolatier to select a few of our favorites to nibble on during the train ride home. But having an Urth Caffe (2 of them now!) in Tokyo is seriously amazing considering the only locations that exist outside of LA are right here in Tokyo.
Here you’ll also find the same kinds of organic teas and coffee, but we go there for the tostada salad bowl which is absolutely to die for. But yesterday for some reason, we felt a little extra splurgy so I ordered a hot chocolate. And on top of that, we also ordered a miniature NY cheesecake.
FYI, the hot chocolate was A LOT better this time around. I think they changed up the recipe, but seriously, it tasted more like a chocolat chaud. It almost made me sick (but in a good way), kinda like how Angelina’s does in Paris.
You leave feeling high but also overdosed from too much chocolate. But I’ve also always admired the beautiful New York cheesecakes behind the window, yet for some reason, we never decided to splurge and order one until now. WOW. Sad we waited so long!
After brunch, we wandered into a shop called Tenoha & Style Store in the Tenoha complex. Tenoha houses a studio of furniture and home decor products designed by all kinds of local craftsman from around Japan. Of course I stumbled upon a set of quality hair brushes from Italy. I needed a new brush, my husband reminded me.
The last one I bought was five years ago, boar bristled. I love it, but it desperately needed replacing. After testing out some brushes, I settled on one from Acca Kappa, a company that’s designed hair brushes in Italy since 1869, or for 146 years!! I’m a sucker for anything with a history of craftsmanship and detail. It’s seriously hard to describe how perfect this hair brush is, but, for those savvy or detail-obsessed folks like myself, I do recommend checking out this brand.
Stop 2: Music Shopping & Yakitori in Shinjuku
After Daikanyama, we took the train a few stops to Shinjuku. One of our favorite hideaways in Tokyo is a back alley of 5 person bars and smoky yakitori joints off the North side of Shinjuku Station. It’s a narrow alley of one-man yakitori stands and if you get there early enough before dinner, you can actually grab a seat! We settled on one place that looked promising and ended up eating some of the best yakitori we’ve tried yet in Japan. You can’t complete a successful weekend in Tokyo without a stop in Shinjuku!
After a round of umeshu and yakitori skewered beef wrapped asparagus, we wandered first towards BIC Camera to check out some headphones because Daniel wanted some new ones. I usually shop at its competitor Yodobashi Camera, as I find the store has better deals, more accessories, and is generally more organized than BIC.
Yodobashi Camera is hands down my favorite store in all of Japan, and possibly in the world. I usually go there to play around on the camera floor with anything from lighting equipment to medium format cameras, but last night we headed to the audio floor – a floor I’ve never really explored before.
While Daniel was at BIC testing out some Bose headphones, I got sidetracked and ended up in the Hi-Resolution Audio section and stumbled upon a TEAC UD-501(S), Hi-Res Audio hooked up to a couple of speakers with a hi-res cord and a laptop to play with.
I sat down on a stool and played with the sound system and before long, thirty minutes somehow passed and I found myself in a trance-like state, unable to tear myself away from such beautifully crystalline sounds. Although BIC Camera is pretty chaotic on a Saturday night, I completely lost myself listening to a random sample of jazz selections by Japanese artists. Needless to say, this blew my mind and introduced me to an entirely new reality of music.
After BIC, we headed to Yodobashi Camera and ended up spending 2 hours testing headphones!! I did NOT at all plan on this, but we got carried away. If you’ve never been to the audio section of Yodobashi Camera, please jot that down on your list of things to see in Tokyo.
There are hundreds of different kinds of headphones, and until last night, I assumed they were virtually all the same. Well, no, I just didn’t care. However, my experience with hi-resolution audio changed everything. Daniel was pretty convinced on buying some noise canceling Bose headphones until I showed him the Hi-Res stuff. Oh MY God.
Two hours passed before we obsessively tested nearly every major brand of headphone from Bose, Bang & Olufson, Phillips, Sony, Beats, AKG, Shure, Sennheiser, and finally JVC. And yes, I will most definitely be writing a post about everything we compared, but all I can say is that we ended up with a pair of JVC HA-FX850 headphones.
To be honest, I wasn’t in the market at all for these yet I couldn’t tear myself away from the music. I absolutely melted listening to the JVC 850s and personally never knew audio like this existed. Holy shi*t it’s amazing. You can’t spend a better weekend in Tokyo than at Yodobashi Camera, playing with electronics.
I really liked the Bang & Olufsen, but they were my second favorite. The design is great and the sound is super clear, but I still preferred the JVC HA-FX850 by far.
Testing all the different JVC Wood variations.
Stop 3: Dinner in Ebisu at Lawry’s The Prime Rib Tokyo
The last stop on our exiting weekend in Tokoy was Ebisu which is a couple of stops away from Shinjuku. We joked about going to Lawry’s for dinner since it’s been a few months since our last visit and it’s one of our favorite places to eat. Yet, I was in UNIQLO fur-lined sweat pants and a purple Nike hoodie so I didn’t exactly feel dressed up enough for the elegant candle light dinner. But that didn’t stop us! It really wasn’t that bad actually.
We ended the night with a plate of Prime Rib, concluding a pretty damn perfect day. I didn’t grab any shots from dinner, although I did manage to take a bathroom selfie. I’ve got a terrible habit of taking bathroom selfies when I find interesting bathrooms! Anyway, it was a brilliant weekend in Tokyo so hopefully you can see why I love living here so much. 🙂
Details About Our Weekend in Tokyo
[infobox title='Lawrys The Prime Rib Tokyo'] [list][list_item icon="awesome-direction"]TRAIN: 3 minute walk via Ebisu Skywalk from Ebisu Station.[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-location"]ADDRESS: B2F Yebisu Garden Place Tower, 4-20-3 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo;[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-phone"]PHONE: 03-5488-8088[/list_item][/list][/infobox]
[infobox title='Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku'] [list][list_item icon="awesome-direction"]TRAIN: Shinjuku West Exit Camera Town[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-location"]ADDRESS: 〒160-0023 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 西新宿1-11-1[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-phone"]PHONE:03-3346-1010[/list_item][/list][/infobox]
[infobox title='Urth Caffe Daikanyama'] [list][list_item icon="awesome-direction"]STATION: Daikanyama[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-location"]ADDRESS: Tokyo, Shibuya, Sarugakucho, 8-9[/list_item][/list] [list][list_item icon="awesome-phone"]PHONE:03-5784-3301[/list_item][/list][/infobox]