Our very first day in Japan was cold and wet, the skies an extraordinary grey. Such unfortunate weather begged the question: what does one do in Tokyo when it’s raining? We had a bit of trouble deciding what our itinerary would be like since the weather ruled several of our plans out, but we eventually powered through the gloom and managed fill our day with plenty of activities. Here’s a quick list of what we did!
1. Himonoya, Shibuya
The first thing we did was have brunch in bustling Shibuya. We found a spectacular old-fashioned tavern-like place, dimly lit and surrounded by dark textured walls that constantly had water trickling down them, providing the coziest of atmospheres. Himonoya serves grilled food items, mainly fish and squid, but they also grill sausages and rice balls (yaki onigiri) among other things. Their menu is surprisingly affordable.
2. Shopping in Harajuku
Straight after brunch, we hopped onto a train and headed to Harajuku Station, just one stop away from Shibuya Station via the JR East Yamanote Line. Because of the drizzle, Harajuku wasn’t as busy as usual, which meant less of a crowd to fight our way through. After slipping and sliding our way past all the clothing, bag and shoe stores along Takeshita Street (and purchasing a couple of things along the way), we ventured towards Yoyogi Park.
3. Yoyogi Park & Meiji Jingu
Yoyogi Park is just a short walk from Harajuku Station. It is an extensive, thickly-wooded park that acts as a sanctuary for wild birds and, most notably, houses the grand Meiji Shrine. The dark skies and light drizzle gave us some very interesting opportunities to take some moody, dramatic pictures of the area.
4. Tonkatsu Wako, Shinjuku
We had dinner in Shinjuku at Tonkatsu Wako, a chain restaurant that specialises in breaded, deep fried pork cutlets (tonkatsu). This particular outlet is located in the SUBNADE underground shopping mall conveniently connected to Shinjuku Station. Their pork cutlets are perfectly light, crisp and airy on the outside, and satisfyingly tender and juicy on the inside. Most set meals are priced under ¥2000, and you get rice and soup on the side to boot!