DAY 20 A Lazy Day and Shinjuku Gyoen

DAY 20 A Lazy Day and Shinjuku Gyoen

November 2nd, 2019

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UNU farmers market
Shinjuku Gyoen

Hotel: Hotel Intergate Tokyo Kyobashi*

Food: Omusubi Gonbe Aoyama*, Chaya (Isetan location)*; Loving Hut Tokyo*

Today was one of those days where we were out all day but it felt like we didn’t achieve much. We left the hotel (no breakfast provided) around 09:15 and caught the subway to Shibuya station and checked out the famous statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited faithfully for his human to return. Loads of fellow tourists taking photos too:

We also crossed the famous Shibuya scramble crossing without realising we had crossed the famous Shibuya scramble crossing. I noticed this on the way back!

The purpose of the morning visit to Shibuya was to check out Omusubi Gonbe Aoyama, as I wanted to try their vegan options. Omusubi are rice ‘balls’ though triangular shaped. The store labelled the vegan and gluten free options clearly. I ordered the miso omusubi and the konbu. They were quite large so I kept it at two. Both were delicious but I preferred the miso:

After Omosubi we walked a short distance to the farmer’s market at the United Nations University. I’d hoped to see some of the stalls that have vegan baked goods but they weren’t there, but I did have a delicious baked sweet potato. I pointed out which one I wanted and it was weighed and priced at 300 yen. My Japan bucket list included eating a baked sweet potato, this one was a skinny version of what I had imagined, but it was delicious so all good:

From here we were back on the subway to Shinjuku Gyoen. We were there for nearly three hours, taking our time walking around or sitting on the grass and benches. The weather was perfect and there were lots of families having picnics:

We passed a stall selling amazake, a non-alcoholic fermented rice drink and it was also on my Japan bucket list. It was quite sweet and every now and then it smelled like miso. I don’t know if that’s strange because it didn’t have a miso taste but the taste was certainly unique.

At another stall, I got some warabi mochi which was also on the bucket list. This was loaded with kinako, which is roasted soy bean flour. I hope I translated correctly when I asked about animal products but my previous research showed that this is usually a plant based dessert.

As if I hadn’t eaten enough sweet stuff, after the gardens we stopped in at Chaya, on the top floor of the Isetan department store, for the strawberry shortcake (which is also gluten free). As part of the cake set I got the lavender apple tea. I’m glad I got to try this cake and agree with many that’s it’s a beautiful cake:

It was back to Shibuya to look at some souvenirs in a store we’d passed earlier which had been closed. Akita dogs (Hachiko himself) featured prominently and as I regretted not buying more Akita inu merch in Akita, I picked up a few small things.

By this time it was about 4:15. We hopped back on the subway to Jimbocho station for dinner at Japan’s only Loving Hut restaurant. In Melbourne we have three Loving Huts, and I eat there when I can.

For the Tokyo Loving Hut I wasn’t as hungry thanks to all the desserty stuff if the day, so I was only able to fit in the jumbo gyoza and soy meat skewers. I would have liked to try other meals but they’re only open on Saturday for a buffet lunch, then dinner service.

Walking from Jimbocho station to Loving Hut was quite a treat. The Jimbocho area is known for it’s many bookstores and old book stalls. The streets were lined with book stalls and lanterns, and lots of people browsing. It seemed like a really nice neighbourhood:

And then it was back to our hotel to pack and get an early night for the next day’s early bus to Kawaguchiko.

 

On to Day 21.

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