Thanks to Roomorama, I was given sponsored accommodation in Tokyo. I previously introduced Roomorama & the accommodation options it provides for the frequent traveller. You can read all about it here:
And so, I've been corresponding with my Tokyo apartment host, Marika, before the trip to clarify queries about the apartment. She gave directions from the Narita airport to the apartment, as well as a set of Japanese instructions and address to show to taxi driver in case we got lost. Thankfully, we managed to take the trains and walked to the right place without having to do that. Taxi rides are extremely expensive in Japan. My brother just told me a few days back that his girlfriend spent $80 on a 20-minute cab ride to meet him. That's how scarily expensive it is over there.
Finally reached the 'office' of my host after asking around for directions. However, our host was not in, and we had to leave our luggage there and take a walk around the neighbourhood while waiting for her. Official check-in time was 3pm, but we reached at 10am. She probably forgot that I was arriving early.
When we finally met her, she was very apologetic that we had waited for her that she offered to let us use a bigger apartment instead of the original loft room that we booked. We were of course thrilled!
Along the way as she walked us to our apartment, she explained to us that the neighbourhood had a very glorious past - Apparently, this neighbourhood was home to the ninjas! The whole place was constructed with many small alleys that looked like they would lead to a dead-end, but actually every alley was connected to another alley. It was purposely made to be so to confuse outsiders, so that they would lose their way, get trapped inside and make it easy for the ninjas to attack and terminate them. We were both wow-ed by its history! Thereafter, the neighbourhood continued to be inhabited by descendants of ninjas! How cool is that??!
Saw this super cool house along the way! I'm sure it's built and lived in by an architect.
And also met a very cool man who sat on the road.
And then, we reached our apartment!
The inside looked like this:
The bedroom we slept in.
Another bedroom-cum-living room which the host told us that we were not supposed to use, because we only paid for one room. But we were the only occupants in the house anyway.
Door veils with traditional Japanese prints, which scared me sometimes in the middle of the night. =.=
Bathroom with a mini bath tub. Japanese houses are really small, and their furniture and furnishings are made in such a way to accommodate their small size. Quite cute actually.
The toilet was in another room. The toilet bowl had all the wonderful facilities such as seat warmer, water spurts to wash your butts, etc. Behind that toilet bowl was a super mini sink to wash your hands in.
There was also a kitchen in the house which I forgot to take photograph of. It came with a mini dining table, stove, sink & fridge. So, from one room, we were 'upgraded' to a house. Free wifi is provided as well in the house. Not bad a deal, I say. =) Hotels in Japan can be extremely expensive, amongst other things. If you are looking for one in a good location, it gets even pricier. My accommodation was conveniently located in Ichigaya, which was 2 stations away from Shinjuku, and an interchange for several subway lines. For S$100+ per night, this was considered a very worthwhile accommodation option. If you are planning an overseas trip soon, why not consider Roomorama as well? You might be able to find something that's more comfortable for your pocket as well. :)
Continuing from yesterday's post, I'm going to show you more of Ichigaya today. We explored the area a fair bit on foot, and found the place rather charming. :)
At the traffic junction and on the pavements, there is a path for bicycles, apart from that for pedestrians. Very orderly.
Next to the Ichigaya train station is a lake and we passed by it everyday. A really nice and serene place. :)
And then we visited our first shrine in Tokyo. Very peaceful and quiet place. All the Japanese we saw approached it with great reverence and respect.
I had to climb this long flight of stairs to get to the shrine - Not exactly enjoyable.
Lots of wishes and prayers written on wooden plaques and hung here.
Just like a scene out of the Japanese drama serials we've been watching since young. =P
One of the nights, we had our dinner at this restaurant near to Ichigaya train station. Their prices were one of the more reasonable ones we've seen in Tokyo, and their food was pretty decent! Hubby even said the ramen was one of the best he's eaten. If you happened to be at Ichigaya area, look out for this restaurant.
Pretty yummy gyoza - came as a set with hubby's ramen.
I ordered stir-fried pork slices with rice. Huge portion and delicious.
Miso soup came complimentary.
Hubby's ramen came topped with lots of beansprouts, much to his delight. The soup base was SO flavourful! Again, very huge portion. This + gyoza cost about 800 yen (about S$13). Very worth it by Tokyo standard!
Ending off today's post with the first drink I bought from the vending machine. Most drinks cost on an average of 140yen (S$2.25).
Tokyo guide to continue tomorrow. :)