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Washington Hotel & Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo

Washington Hotel is where we stayed in Akihabara. Located beside Akihabara Station, it is literally a minute walk from the JR Central Gate exit. Opposite the hotel is Uniqlo & Book-Off and you’ll be passing Family Mart on your way to Yodobashi Akiba which is also within a minute walk from the hotel.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

Washington Hotel, Akihabara.

Advanced booking for our room has been made months earlier. We’ve opted for ‘High Floor Room with Small Double Bed‘ which turns out to be a rather compact room. You can hardly open two luggage at once.The room rate was considered reasonable when taking into account the hotel is right smack in Akihabara, Tokyo and is just besides the train station. However this room, pale in comparison to Red Roof Plus Hotel we stayed in Osaka earlier.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

From the hotel, you just need to cross over to the other side for Akihabara station..

Washington Hotel Akihabara

Christmas decoration in place although it’s more than 1½ months to go.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

From the hotel entrance looking towards Yodobashi Akiba & Akihabara Station.

Check-in time is 2 pm which is an hour earlier than most other hotels. Check-in counter is on the 3rd floor and you can leave your begs there if you’re early. Two key cards to your room will be issued, per-programmed for your floor. Just tab onto the card reader, no need to push buttons in the elevator. The room was very quiet and totally dark when the drapes are pulled. Window has been soundproofed effectively to block outside noise. The bathroom is of good size, comes with a small bath tub & stand-up shower as well as a WC with bidget. Although the hotel being located beside  an elevated and underground train tracks, no vibrations were felt.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

Hallway to our room.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

A rather compact room but suffice for our needs. Must bear in mind we’re in Tokyo.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

Excellent soundproofing you can’t hear any outside noise at all.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

Small double bed, one side against the wall.

Washington Hotel Akihabara

LCD tv, mini fridge & water boiler provided.

Aslan Kebab
For Muslim guests staying at Washington Hotel, there is a Halal kebab stand diagonally opposite the hotel (right from exit). At Aslan Kebab, you can eat there or take-away. The kebab is reasonably priced and tasty. Alternatively, walk a few minutes to Halal Coco Curry House for a taste of Japanese curry or Google for a couple more kebab outlets near-by. Family Mart is in-front of the hotel and further up is 7-Eleven.

Aslan Kebab Akihabara

Aslan Kebab diagonally opposite the hotel, serves Halal doner kebab.

Aslan Kebab Akihabara

Menu & prices of kebab.

Aslan Kebab Akihabara

Location of Aslan Kebab & Family Mart.

Views From Our Room
Views from our room on the 13th floor faces LAOX department store to our right and to the left are office buildings beautifully lighted at night. Looking downwards, part of Akihabara Station comes to view. The best part is seeing the Shinkansen trains passing every 5-10 minutes. Never have we thought, the Shinkansen tickets being expansive, it would operate this frequent. Sadly, the Shinkansen do not stop at Akihabara. The nearest station it stops is Tokyo Station, 2 stops away.

View From Washington Hotel Akihabara

Our room facing LAOX department store.

View From Washington Hotel Akihabara

Views on the other side with office buildings and Sinkansen train tracks.

Akihabara station

Part of Akihabara Station visible from our room. This was taken very early in the morning. By 7 am, the whole length of the platform will be crowded with passengers.

Train lines serving Akihabara Station.

Train at Akihabara

Keihin-Tōhoku Line.

Train at Akihabara

Yamanote Line.

Train at Akihabara

Joban Line.

The various shapes, colours and combinations of the Shinkansen.

Shinkansen passing through Akihabara

Shinkansen passing through Akihabara

Shinkansen passing through Akihabara

Shinkansen passing through Akihabara

Shinkansen passing through Akihabara


Akihabara Electric Town
If you are looking to buy electronic goods, head over to Akihabara. Arguably the best place to shop for high-tech electronics and latest gadgets. Not only are the selection of products are huge, they are competitively priced as many shops compete among each other here. Big name retailers are Yodobashi Camera, BIC Camera, Laox & Labi among others. In-fact, Yodobashi is home to one of the largest electronics stores in the world. It has nine floors full of everything and anything electronics, camera, audio & video equipment, mobile phones, beauty gadgets, toys and the list goes on.

Yodobashi Akiba

Yodobashi Akiba.

Large stores like these accept credit card payments and offer tax free purchases for tourists provided you bring along your passport. Most of the electronics on sale are intended for domestic use that comes with Japanese manual and limited warranty. So be sure to check the voltage compatibility for use in your home country as Japan is on 120 volts. However, several stores do feature selections of international models running on 220 volts intended for overseas use.

Akihabara ‘Electric Town’ features hundreds of small electronics shops clustered together ranging from tiny one-man stall for the hobbyist and enthusiast to large electronics retailers for commercial customers. You can find electronics parts, components, LED lighting, ham & 2-way radios, air band scanners, test & measuring equipment, tools, etc to second-hand goods and electronic junk.

Akihabara is not a place for everyone. For the rest who are not electronic geeks, come for a quick visit and experience the dazzling lights (Insta worthy) during the night and do a little window shopping. For souvenirs head over to the five storey Don Quijote for a maze of varieties. If you are into electronic gaming, SEGA Gaming Center awaits you. There is also a huge Anime/Manga store and you can find people dressed up in maid and anime outfits ushering you to stop at their cafe.

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Night view of Akihabara Electric Town

Asakusa Walkaround. Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street & Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center

Right after lunch at Coco Curry House, we headed for Asakusa to enable us to return to our hotel early to avoid the evening rush hours.Taking the Hibiya Line from Akihabara, we needed to change to the Ginza line at Ueno station. Being a first timer, the change at Ueno was a little confusing and involves a fair bit of walking and direction seeking to get to the correct platform for Asakusa.

Asakusa

One of the platform we waited for our train but couldn’t recall which station.

Asakusa station.

Elevator Exit 3 of Asakusa station is 3.4 meters above sea level.

Asakusa

The inter-section of Kaminarimon Street facing Tokyo Skytree.

At Asakusa station, take exit 3 for the elevator and you’ll come out on the same side of the street that will take you to the Sansoji Temple. Taking a right and a 100 meters walk will take you to the Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) with that big red lantern. This is the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s most famous and popular temple.

Sansoji Temple

Kaminari Gate, the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple,

Nakamise Street
Past this gate you’ll be in the Nakamise shopping street, the oldest shopping street in Japan. It stretches over 250 meters from Kaminarimon to the main grounds of Sensoji Temple. It is lined with many shops which caters for local specialties and an array of tourist souvenirs. Choice of souvenirs depends on your liking but prices isn’t cheap. A few T-shirts and a number of small souvenirs will rapidly escalate to more than ¥10,000

Nakamise street

Nakamise shopping street just after the Kaminari Gate. The second of the large entrance gate to the temple is in the background.

Nakamise street

The crowd of visitors at Nakamise shopping street. In the background is Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center building .

One of the stores at Nakamise selling samurai swords.

Sensoji Temple
Sensoji (‘ji’ means temple) is Tokyo’s most famous and popular temple. It was built in the 7th century, and is one of its oldest, although the current buildings are postwar reconstructions. It is the oldest of all Buddhist temple in Tokyo and also comprises of a five storey pagoda within it’s compound.

Sansoji Temple

Hozomon gate, the second of the large entrance gate to Sensoji temple.

Sansoji Temple

Another big lantern at Hozomon gate.

Sansoji Temple

A close-up of the lantern.

Sansoji Temple

The five storey 53.32 meters pagoda of Sensoji.

Sansoji Temple

After the Hozoman gate is the main hall where prayers are held.

Sansoji Temple

Lanterns with writings hang on bamboo poles.

Sensoji Temple

Useful map of Sensoji Temple complex.

Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center
The Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center is a distinctive seven storey building in Asakusa. It is located directly opposite the Kaminari Gate of Senso-ji Temple. The building features an observation deck on 8F with an observatory terrace with nice views of the area surrounding Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street, Asahi (Gold building) and Tokyo Skytree.

Access to the observation deck is free to all visitors. You go up by elevators but expect queue as one would, for anything that’s free. What would usually be a desperate battle against the crowds at Nakamise Street or Sensoji to get a perfect photo, from the terrace it’s non-issue as nobody will be obstructing your view here. There are also seating areas with benches for you to rest after a long walk around Asakusa.

Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center

The unique design of Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center.

Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center

Proceeding straight from the elevator and looking down you’ll get a full view from Kaminari Gate to Sensoji temple and in between.

To your right is the Tokyo Skytree and the golden building of Asahi.

Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center

Tokyo Skytree, Asahi building and part of Sumida river.

Halal Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, Akihabara

Having arrived in Haneda, we went straight to Akihabara Washington Hotel to drop our baggage. For lunch, we headed to Coco Curry House which is less than 5 minutes walk from our hotel. This chain restaurant specialises in Japanese style curry rice and has two halal outlets. The first being in Akihabara and the other, a newly opened branch at Shinjuku. Their halal outlets are differentiated by a GREEN coloured signboard, while the non-halal with a yellow signboard.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Approaching Coco Curry House halal outlet with the green signboard.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

1F Uchiomatsunaga Bldg, 16 Kanda-matsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


Access to Halal Coco Curry House:

Exit Akihabara Station via JR Central Gate. Cross the street to Yodobashi Akiba and turn left. Walk along Yodobashi frontage until you reach an inter-section and turn right. Walk straight +/- 50m till you reach another inter-section. Turn left and you will pass Towarow Plaza building. Walk straight ahead a little bit more till you reach Coco Curry House to your left. Look out for it’s GREEN signboard.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Walking route from Akihabara JR Central Gate exit to Halal Coco Curry House

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Sample of their food displayed outside.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Some of the varieties of curry offered at Coco Curry House.

Typical to many Japanese restaurants, the outlet is small, clean and you eat on the counter top. The restaurant can accommodate 10 customers but they also cater for take-away. Deprived of ingredients like fresh coconut milk & fresh herbs, their curry has their own unique flavour which I would give 85% authenticity compared to the curry we have in Malaysia. Apologies, but I find it difficult to concur with my fellow countrymen/women that the flavour of Coco’s curry is insanely delicious (sedap gila). This can probably be true, if someone who had stayed in Japan a long time and have been accustomed to the local flavours.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Counter style eat-in with 10 seats.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

A handful of customers before lunch hour.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

Compact kitchen of the restaurant.

Our order of vegetable curry with chicken cutlet was cooked to precision with the use of timers for deep frying of the chicken and the cooking of the curry. Once ready, all were placed onto a plate and served. Be careful, the curry is piping hot, it will burn your tongue. This dish costs ¥1,180 for the basic plate. Warm or cold water is served free. For more info on this restaurant, click here.

Halal Coco Curry House, Akihabara

My plate of vegetable curry with chicken cutlet.

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