October 9-11, 2017
This reasonably priced modern hotel, located directly across the street from the Imperial Palace Hotel, has easy access to many of Tokyo’s top sights and neighborhoods, including the Ginza shopping district directly to the east and the Imperial Palace and Gardens a short walk to the northwest. The Tsukiji market is about a 20 minute walk through Ginza or a short subway ride.
The very small rooms are modern with the general Japanese amenities, including a toothbrush and water boiler. A massaging chair is an extra bonus. The bed, something larger than double but smaller than a queen, is against the wall that divides the room and the bathroom, making it a little tricky for two people to get in and out of bed.
The small bathroom with very little counter space has a large picture window to make your space feel bigger when the shade is up, but then you are looking into your bathroom. Despite the small size the room is comfortable and I would stay here again.
A note on pricing, I reserved a room here on 3 separate occasions and got very different pricing each time. The last time in October was under $100 US a night.
Dinner at Kurumaya in Shinjiku. This upscale Japanese establishment is a nice way to end a trip. The understated upstairs dining room is classically Japanese with minimal decoration but open enough to casually observe other patrons, most of whom were Japanese at quiet business dinners or special occasions. Service is formal but they are quite friendly to picture taking tourists and speak enough English, aided by an English language menu, to make a pleasant evening.
Sukiyaki is one of their specialties. The richly marbled beef (get Wagyu for the ultimate experience) is cooked table side
with onions and mushrooms in a sweet, salty sukiyaki sauce. A fresh egg is beaten for you to dip the meat in before eating.
A luscious extravagant treat! We shared one order of sukiyaki along with an order of
tempura – shrimp, fish and vegies –
and an exquisite grilled black cod. Everything was beautifully done. Probably not the way the Japanese would order a meal but for us it was perfect.
Dinner at one of the many restaurants along the train tracks south of Yurakucho Station. This small plate yakatori is just one of many places along the tracks. Although not much English is spoken they have an English menu with pictures. These small plate establishments are a nice way to sample a variety of dishes or have a lighter meal.
We ordered a few chicken skewers, shishito peppers, cucumber salad, and a super yummy super spicy chicken leg all washed down with a cold beer and sake.
Dean and Deluca for breakfast. Located at the south end of the Yurakucho Station this Dean and Deluca is an easy alternative to the lines at the Starbucks up the street. A large latte is a bargain at 450 yen.
The cinnamon roll with pecans, raisins and a burnt sugar crust is a taste of home. The egg on toast, however, was runny by Western standards.
For our last meal in Japan we headed back to our street of many restaurants next to our hotel. i.e. along the west side of the tracks south of Yurakucho Station. We wanted ramen and found an unassuming spot Kimaru that looked like they served up good noodles. No English was spoken to us, but none was needed.
Pictures on the vending machine allowed us to order two bowls of noodle soup
and a plate of gyoza (dumplings). Most ramen dishes are pork and the reddish ones are spicy. Once you order and pay at the vending machine give the tickets to a server and take a seat. A few minutes later they bring you a steaming bowl of noodles. A great ending to a great trip.