Wednesday, 18 October 2017

My Japanese Honeymoon: Day 1 - Shinjuku

After a long 11 and a half hour flight, we grabbed a cab to our first Air Bnb of the trip, situated in Shinjuku, Tokyo. After taking a shower and a nap, we headed out for a wander around Shinjuku. 

We were situated around a 15 minutes walk from the tourist hotspot 'Robot Restaurant', and around the same distance from the beautiful Shinjuku Park. Pretty convenient! Our host gave us a pocket WiFi which helped enormously for finding our way around, but this first day, we just decided to wander without any particular aim or destination in mind. So today, we visited two shrines - the Shojo-in Temple (complete with plenty of stray cats!), and the Harazono Jinja Shrine. Both were beautiful, and huge! I don't follow any kind of religion myself, but these two shrines were peaceful, and quiet places. I can understand why you'd visit these even just for a little bit of quiet 'me time'. 

For a completely opposite experience from the shrines, we visited the main section of Shinjuku. Here, you'll find the flashing lights, the loud music, and the busy streets...and I loved every minute of it. I've read several guides online that state that Shinjuku is pretty 'seedy', especially at night. Whilst it definitely had a lot of suspect massage shops, maid and hostess bars, I didn't really experience this. There's a pretty good atmosphere, it's tidy everywhere, and Shinjuku's lights at night time is pretty stunning. 

Of course, when in Japan, you have to experience some arcades! We wandered into a few on our walk, where we tried the claw machines (I won two Disney teddies!), played Luigi's Mansion Arcade (brilliant), the popular drumming rhythm game which name escapes me, and a boxing game. 

Luigi's Mansion Arcade
We also stumbled upon VR World, a place full of Vives set to various games. We bought a bunch of tickets to try a game in each of their areas - you could pick one game from each section. Mario Kart VR was fantastic. After getting over the initial blurriness, my eyes settled, and it genuinely feels like you're there on the course, driving a kart next to Mario, Bowser and the gang. In VR World, the staff kit you up with hand sensors (which transform into Mario gloves in-game), a VR headset, and you're also sitting in a full sized kart with the break and gas pedals. I want to try it again!

Me and my husband browsed plenty of shops in Shinjuku, too. The Saniro shop not far from the VR World was super-cute!

Food-wise, we stacked up on plenty of sweet treats in Lawsons. The donuts were delicious - the cream here is something else! A recommendation from Woolie from Super Best Friends Play in one of his Japan videos was to visit the Shinjuku Black Hole for dinner. Such a good decision! You pay for your food, then cook it up yourself in a griddle in the centre of the table. The beef we chose to cook up was the most tender, juiciest meat I've ever tasted. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Shinjuku, definitely give this a go.

Shinjuku Black Hole. Their food, and plum wine was perfect.

At the end of the day, we crashed in front of the TV watching crazy Japanese game shows in our flat here. 

Check out the next parts here!

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