Monday, August 13, 2012

Moving to Austin: Tokyo Layover


There were no lines at immigration and with no luggage to collect, I was at the train ticket around a quick ten minutes after getting off the plane. The original plan was to hope on the non-stop Skyliner train to Ueno. With the non-stop train only scheduled to leave in thirty minutes, the girl manning the ticket was kind enough to suggest through broken English and pointing at pictures for me to get on the much cheaper but slower local train that was leaving in the next 5 minutes and would get into Tokyo around the same time.

My brother who works in Tokyo was waiting for me at the Ueno train station. At this point, I let him play tour guide and just followed where ever he suggested to go to. After dropping my hand luggage at a locker at Ueno station, we got on another train to Shinjuku.

Shinjuku is primarily a business area so the area was relatively quiet on Sunday. None of the restaurants were opened yet by now and we just walked around and settled for some coffee while we caught up.

First up on the food trail was some sushi. There was already a long line when we arrived but thankfully, we were seated after only 10 minutes. The waiter did do a double take and wanted to make sure we could finish all the food we ordered as it was supposedly quite a large order. The sushi was fresh and best of all it was reasonably priced for a total of ~$40 USD for both of us.
Sushi restaurant



We next headed to the Sony building where after a quick but disappointing checkout of the latest Sony gadgets, we met up with my college roommate who was also working in Tokyo. Good quality ramen is always on the list of things to eat when I visit Japan so we next headed to a hole in whole ramen shop. Love having family and friends in Japan/Tokyo who can speak fluent Japanese to order the food and know where the good food is!

With still a couple of hours to go after lunch, we just chilled at a coffee place with some dessert.

After biding farewell to my roommate, my brother and I headed back to Ueno station. On the way, we saw some shops which look interesting from a far in the area and decided to walk around. We were still full from all the food but I couldn't resist getting an order of tako-tao/octopus balls. This was the first time I was having tako-tao in Tokyo itself and it was way crispier and flavorful but oilier than those I tried elsewhere. We only managed a ball each with my brother taking the rest back for his dinner/supper later today.

With all the food consume throughout the day, I dozed off the entire 45 minute trip express train trip back to Narita airport.

Express Train


  1. The octopus ball is called takoyaki, not tako tao. It's delicious and much better in Osaka or the Kansai area that my family is from. ;)

    1. I should add that I meant the Japanese name for the food is takoyaki.