With no itinerary for the rest of the day, we made our way to my wife niece’s house in Tokyo. We took the bus instead of being picked-up to experience riding one in Tokyo. It’s a straight forward matter of getting on the right numbered bus and getting off at the right bus stop. The Shibuya bus stand is right in-front of Shibuya JR train station exit. Pre-paid Icoca card were used for ticket payment.
We have heard that in Japan, pre-loved items are of good quality, reasonably priced, are original and no fakes. With that in mind, wife’s niece drove us to Book Off Super Bazaar located at Kawasaki, a 45 minutes drive away. Kawasaki is mid way between Tokyo & Yokohama. While I have toys and gadgets in mind, wife is itching for an LV.
The ‘Damier Azur’ range of LV. ¥53k & ¥56k respectively.
Book Off is Japan’s largest chain store for pre-loved items primarily dealing in books, CDs, DVDs, video games and game consoles. In their larger stores called ‘Super Bazaar’, they also sell mobile phones, consumer electronics, musical instruments, toys, fashion, shoes, brand name items and precious metals to name a few. Super Bazaar typically occupies a whole floor of a mall carrying a wider range of product categories. You could easily spend hours browsing one section to the other in their Super Bazaar. Other than Book Off, this chain group also has Hard Off, Off House, Hobby Off, Garage Off, Mode Off as well as Liquor Off, each specialising in different range of products.
All branded items such as handbags, purses, wallets, watches and other high priced items are displayed in locked showcases. Louis Vuitton has quiet a large selection but other brands such as Coach, Hermes, Gucci, Prada & Furla are also on sale albeit in smaller numbers. Quite a large selection of watches are also available. And did we mention for tourist, you’ll shop duty free. There are lots of pre-loved stores around Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, various 2nd street as well as chain store Don Quijote. It all boils down to your convenience, preference and budget where you’ll end up going to.
Nicely arranged in glass showcases.
A couple of LV travel begs are also available.
The whole stretch of LV’s on display right till the back.
Purses and wallets.
More purses and wallets to choose from.
This section for guitar enthusiast.
Fishing rods and reels.
A long row of golfing equipment.
Rows and rows of infant & toddler needs
At a smaller Book Off stores, this is the only range of items you’ll find. Books, CD’s, DVD’s, Video Games, etc.
Begs & briefcases.
Section for winter apparels.
The extensive range of TOMY trains.
Yet an extensive range of TOMY train accessories.
A rather small section of figurines.
Wife ended up with an LV handbag, comes complete with dust bag and myself a bagful of TOMY train accessories. Having spent more than two hours at Book Off, we had dinner at Yakiniku Panga, which serves Halal Wagyu located close to our hotel at Akihabara. After that hearty dinner, thanks to wife’s niece, husband and their children, we were dropped off in-front of our hotel. It was a sad moment to leave them as we will be flying home the next day.
Passed by Tokyo Tower on the way to Yakiniku Wagyu.
Couldn’t say it’s within walking distance from our hotel, but it’s a mere 4 minutes drive away.
Returning from Kawaguchiko we reached Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal around lunch time. The bus terminal is located on 4F of the JRShinjuku station ‘New South Gate’. Getting off the bus, take the escalator beside the Information Center down to the train platform. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest station, but one should not be intimidated by that status. To ensure you don’t get lost within the station, just inquire at the several information counters and in good English they will direct you to the correct train platform for your destination. Within 30 minutes, we arrived at our hotel in Akihabara.
Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal, JR Shinjuku station ‘New South Gate’ credit:gotokyo.org
We will be continuing our stay at WashingtonAkihabara for a further two nights before returning home. Prior to visiting Kawaguchiko, we had stayed four nights making our total stay in this hotel six nights. We have no itinerary for the rest of the day as well as for the next with an exception of visiting my wife’s niece working in Tokyo, if time permits. For the rest of the day, it’s just walking around Akihabara soaking in the atmosphere.
The next day, our final day in Tokyo, we headed to Shibuya again just to wander around. A shop selling vegetable and fruits beside Mark City East Mall got our attention. This shop sells varieties of vegetables and fruits just meters from Shibuya crossing. The produce are fresh looking and in Japan you have no worries buying anything pre packed. You can be assured of not finding bad produce placed at the bottom of the package.
Next to Mark City East Mall. Credit:Google
We then proceeded to LABI Shibuya Department store, an electrical outlet similar in concept to Yodobashi/BIC Camera. LABI is smaller then the two but products are priced competitively as well. The one item that caught my wife’s interest was a digital kitchen timer. Although the product is all labeled in Japanese as well as it’s instruction leaflet, it wasn’t difficult to figure how to operate it. Comes with battery, ¥753 well spent.
From LABI, we crossed the street and walked straight ahead. Not far from the main street, next to McDonald’s is Mamo Kebab Cafe selling Halal kebab. Priced competitively and tasted good, kebab is what we had for lunch.
Having no more itinerary for the day, we made our way to my wife’s niece house who later drove us to scout for some pre-loved items. Lovers of pre-loved LV, hang on for the next post. Yes, LV as in Louis Vuitton.
The Kebab outlet. Go up 2F for seating area.
Our Kebab cost ¥700 inclusive of tax.
Part of their menu.
LABI Department Store as seen from the Kebab outlet. Out of frame, left is ABC Mart, to the right is McDonald’s.
Taking the JR Line from Akihabara to Shibuya, we exited the station via the South Ticket Gate at Tokyu Department Store and came across this statue that looks like a human face with wavy hair. This statue resembles the ‘Moai’ figures found on Easter Island. Here it’s called ‘Moyai’, a Japanese word meaning to ‘work together’ in the dialect of the people of Niijima Island.
The statue was donated to Tokyo in 1980 by the people of Niijima amid celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the transfer of administrative jurisdiction to the Prefecture to Tokyo. The island is about 160km south of Tokyo and known for its beautiful white beaches and clear sea waters. The statue is carved from an extremely rare volcanic rock found only on Niijima Island.
Walking around Tokyu Department Store from the Moyai statue to the other side facing Shibuya intersection, is yet another statue. This is the famous Hachiko dog statue. In the 1920s, this dog would journey to Shibuya Station to wait for his master to arrive back from his daily commute. One day his master did not return from work, having suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. This did not deter Hachiko to return to the same spot to wait for his master every day for the next nine years. The memory of this dog has gone on to become a Japanese symbol of enduring loyalty.
Hachiko Memorial statue.
Close to the Hachiko statue, just next to the Shibuya pedestrian crossing is statues of ‘Children Playing on Earth’. The statue represent children playing on top of the world. No details relating to this statue could be found.
Children Playing on Earth.
The Shibuya crossing is where four streets converge to one point. To assist pedestrians to cross from one street to the other, four pedestrian crossing connects each of the streets plus one that goes diagonally. Welcome to the worlds’ busiest crossing sending people in all directions when the traffic light goes green for pedestrians. Hundreds of people, three thousand during peak time cross at once, yet the ‘Shibuya Scramble’ manages to avoid bumping into each other.
Crossing in-front of ‘Children Playing on Earth’. Waiting for the traffic lights to turn green to cross. ‘Shibuya 109’ straight ahead.
Pedestrians crossing the street on green.
Crossing in-front of Starbucks.
In-front of Starbucks looking towards Shibuya Mark City.
Forever 21 behind Starbucks.
Mag’s Park @ Magnet
After being part of the Shibuya Scramble and experiencing it at street level, why not have a bird’s eye view of the crossing from Mag’s Park rooftop of Magnet Building. Take the elevator to 7F, exit and turn left and walk across the food-court/cafe for the ’emergency exit’ door. Walk up one level for the rooftop terrace viewing deck. No ticket is required as of November 2018. The viewing deck is glass shielded and does pose glares when photographing during the day. Using a polariser may help to reduce this. Be aware that the tall buildings surrounding the crossing cast partial shadow onto the street making exposure tricky.
‘Magnet’ Building directly in-front of ‘Children Playing on Earth’.
Go up to 7F for the free viewing deck.
Shibuya crossing when it turns green for pedestrians.
A close-up shot of the Shibuya Scramble.
Another shot from Magnet viewing deck.
Buildings across the viewing deck.
View towards Shibuya 109 from Magnet
Looking towards Tsutaya across Magnet.
Overhead crossing between Shibuya Station & Shibuya Mark City.
Street level view of shops.
Drug store along the street.
Since we are not into shopping, we just walked around Shibuya and did street level window shopping to soak in the atmosphere. After experiencing a couple more of ‘Shibuya Scramble’ and few selfies at the crossing, we headed for Harajuku a train stop away on the JR Line.
Harajuku is renowned for it’s teenage culture and shopping. It is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles but also offers shopping for adults. The focal point of Harajuku’s teenage culture is Takeshita Street a narrow 350 meter long street located in-front of Harajuku station. It is lined with many fashion boutiques, trendy shops, pre-loved clothing stores, cafes and fast food outlets, crepe stands, all geared towards Tokyo’s young shoppers. Because of the street’s popularity, it becomes extremely busy and crowded most of the time. Daiso was so packed one could hardly move and the queue for payment at 7-Eleven snakes around the aisles. NO, for our age, we don’t ‘dig’ Harajuku. Time to visit Shinjuku.
The ‘European’ looking JR Harajuku station. This is Omotesando exit &150 m to the right is Takeshita exit. Credit:wikipedia.org
Start of the crowded Takeshita Street in-front of Takeshita exit of Shinjuku station.
There are a number of cafe as well as fast food outlets at Takeshita Street.
The river of crowd restrict movement.
One of the shops at Takeshita Street.
Escape the hectic of Takeshita Street into the pathway leading to Jardin de Luseine (restaurant)..
Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. It is served close to a dozen railway and subway lines and also houses one of Tokyo’s major terminal for long distance highway buses. A large bus terminal known as Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (SEBT) is located on 4F of the JR Shinjuku railway station.
JR Shinjuku Station. Way to Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal on 4F is via the escalator on the left one floor up..
Docomo Tower straight ahead from outside the station.
JR Headquarter & Hotel Century Southern Tower as seen form Shinjuku Station terrace.
Times Square with Takashimaya to the left of the station.
Being just beside the station, we visited the 15 floors Takashimaya Department store within the ‘Times Square’ complex. Not only are the products on sale here are high-end, the prices are too, so again just window shopping. Other big name outlets nearby the station are Yodobashi Camera, BIC Camera & Don Quijote to name a few but they also have branches in Akihabara close to our hotel.
We decided not to venture any further out of the station but to return to our hotel. Although Shinjuku station is dubbed the busiest train station in the world, we did not get lost and made our way to platform 13 for the Chou Line for Akihabara. We ended our fourth day in Tokyo and the 11th in Japan at Shinjuku. Tomorrow we’ll head to Kawaguchiko for Mount Fuji.