🇯🇵 Shibuya, Odaiba, Ikebukuro & Asakusa

This post is the eleventh in a series on our honeymoon trip in Japan. My previous post was about visiting Tsukiji fish market, Ginza, and Roppongi, and prior to that I shared some helpful tips about Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. You can find all our honeymoon-related posts on my blog at #thecookeshoneymoon. ☺

A busy intersection at night time with a lot of pedestrian traffic. Three crossings span out straight in front, at 10 o’clock, and 2 o’oclock. High-rise shopping buildings are ahead up ahead.

I decided to bundle a handful of areas in Tokyo into one post. Let’s be honest – we can’t cover all of Tokyo in one trip, and we definitely, often, visited several areas in one day. Most of this post covers Shibuya though… 😜

Shibuya

We went to Shibuya a lot during our trip. Of course, one reason was to check out the Shibuya scramble crossing. It’s at a large intersection right near Shibuya train station, and every time the lights turn green for the pedestrians, thousands of people cross it at a time. Believe me, when you’re in the thick of it, it doesn’t feel like a thousand, but grab a spot at the second level of the Starbucks nearby, or from the train station, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s mesmerising. It’s a popular spot for photos, too. You might even see some people racing across for fun.

A view of a street intersection through a glass window at night. A very large amount of people cover the areas of the intersection where crossings are marked. Some buses can be seen on the right, moving in the direction of where the photo was taken from. Multi-storey buildings with neon signs of store logos are in the background. Some reflections are visible in the foreground
Shibuya crossing from the train station
A boy and a girl smiling, wearing dark clothes. In the background are a lot of people walking.
Selfie as we walked across the street

Shibuya is also a hot shopping spot. We visited the big clothing stores – Shibuya 109, and Shibuya 109 MENS. It’s a bit unfortunate that the men’s clothing store is so much smaller than the women’s!

On our first night in Tokyo we caught the train to Shibuya and had dinner at a standing sushi bar. Standing sushi bars in Tokyo are quite common. The quality of the sushi is tops.

Four pieces of nigiri sushi on a large green leaf. Two are raw salmon, orange in colour, and the other two are grilled eel.
Fresh salmon and eel sushi
An angled side view of a standing sushi bar. There is a chef behind the counter dressed in white, some sheets of paper and pens on the glass counter, and various raw fish in the glass counter display. There are some condiments and sauces on the opposite side of the glass counter.
The chef at work

During our stay we also visited a restaurant called Uobei Sushi. It was a really cheap sushi joint, where the seats were in long rows, all accompanied by a screen. After ordering from the screen, your order came out of the kitchen via a little train on a conveyor belt, stopping at eye level at your seat. It was really cool!

Close up view of someone holding a small white plate with a subtle textured checkered pattern, with two pieces of nigiri sushi, topped with small beef patties and yellow sauce. In the background is a sushi bar setting, with a computer screen, another plate of six maki rolls, and a small stack of empty plates in the same pattern.
We already ate a lot of plates, as you can see!

The sushi was also extremely affordable. OK, not just affordable but practically dirt cheap. We spent around $20 between the two of us, but were very full afterwards. The quality of the sushi was also excellent. It had been a rainy day and there was a bit of a wait, but very well worth it.

In Japan, there is a discount store chain called Don Quijote. There is a large one in Shibuya called MEGA Don Quijote, and I think we must have went there a handful of times. It’s fascinating just to browse through all the… I’m inclined to say “browse through all the shit”, because you can find anything here. Electronics, cosmetics, food scrubs, nail polish, matcha Kit Kats, beer, wine, designer handbags, camping gear, dress-up costumes, bras, alarm clocks, chocolate, candy, rice, cereal – you name it, they probably have it. Don Quijote stores are packed top to bottom with goods.

I didn’t even know what to make of it at first. People rave about it, and yes the products are not necessarily discount quality, even though they are all sold for a discount price. But it’s a real adventure going into one of these stores because it is super overwhelming, but like I said – fascinating. It’s like a supermarket, chemist, and department store on the cheap.

I do recommend browsing a Don Quijote if you find yourself in Japan!

Another place we ate at in Shibuya was a restaurant specialising in kobe beef. Of course it was not going to amount to the experience we had in Kōbe, but we still enjoyed our meal. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, and asked where we were travelling from. We noticed that they asked other foreigners too, and they asked those from non-English-speaking countries how to say hello in their language, and then enthusiastically repeated it.

Two slices of red raw meat on a hot grill, with some smoke rising from them.
Cooking Kobe beef

I also really, really, really wanted to get photobooth photos with Nick. We have a small collection from over the years, haha. And what better place to do it than in Japan. 😂 In Japan, men are welcome to come into the photobooths but only if they are accompanied by a female friend. You’ll see a lot of school-aged couples visit them.

The photos made Nick look really feminine and like he had makeup on. ☺️✌️ After that we treated ourselves to a spot of dessert, at a chain called Choco Cro. Again, parfaits! I told you they are popular.

A hand holding two sheets with two sets of photos with a young couple (a boy and girl) smiling. Some of the photos are decorated with animal ears and colourful backgrounds. In the background is a big brown teddy bear and a big golden brown teddy bear.
ARE WE NOT JUST THE CUTEST COUPLE EVER? 😘
A parfait sitting on a round wooden table in a cafe setting. The parfait is presented in a glass that has curved edges. Flakes fill the bottom of the glass, it is topped with white cream, a round ball of ice cream, chopped strawberries and red strawberry sauce.
Nick’s weakness 😜

Odaiba

Odaiba is a shopping and entertainment district on a manmade island. There are a handful of shopping complexes, including one that has a LEGO store! There are some very nice views here. To get to Odaiba we took an automated train across the Rainbow Bridge, called the Yurikamome. You can also get to Odaiba by boat or train.

A view of a bridge on the water. There is an island of trees in the foreground. The sky is light blue with many white clouds.
The Rainbow Bridge, from Odaiba, in the afternoon
An elevated path with a black railing on either side curves to the right. There are the tops of trees on either side of the path. In the distance are high-rise buildings, one of which has a spherical feature on it. It is dusk and the blue sky looks dim.
Some of the buildings in Odaiba
A girl and boy, smiling. They are both wearing dark clothes. The girl has a big black scarf around her neck. The boy has sunglasses on top of his head and his arm around the girl. In the background is a view of a skyline on the water, and a bridge.
It was pretty cold. Not cold enough for a selfie haha

Rainbow Bridge connects the island to the mainland, and you can see it from Odaiba. There is a small replica of the Statue of Liberty too.

This is just my opinion, but I didn’t find Odaiba all that exciting. We walked around and window shopped, spent some time in the LEGO store, but didn’t stick around for any entertainment really. It might be more your cup of tea than mine!

A city skyline at night. There is a bridge visible, lit up, and many high-rise buildings with the lights on. In the foreground the shadows of some trees are visible.
I guess we stayed until the sun set? 😜

Ikebukuro

Our main reason for going to Ikebukuro was to go to the famous Pokémon store. I’m not a big fan of Pokémon but I did enjoy watching the television series when I was younger. I also collected a lot of cards and figurines. When the next 150 Pokémon rolled around, my interest kinda dropped.

We had heard about the Pokémon store in YouTube videos but it was smaller than we expected. It must have just looked really big in the videos. I took a photo of Nick with Ditto. 😎

A man with dark hair wearing a navy jacket, smiling, holding a big pink blob-shaped plushie toy with a smiling face.
😏

A weird thing happened when we were in the shopping complex, too. There were crowds of young, school-aged people, mostly girls, holding their phones up, anticipating something near a stage. There wasn’t anything on the stage and it didn’t look like anyone was coming out for a whole ten minutes. There was, however, some animated show on a giant screen on the stage. Not really sure what they were waiting for? It seemed like a virtual band? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Asakusa

The famous Buddhist temple Sensō-ji is in Asakusa, and we stopped by for a visit. A funny thing happened on our way there, as we were walking from a restaurant in the area. We witnessed a lot of fire trucks making their way to the same area. It was rare that we had seen fire trucks in Japan during our visit. It looked like they were heading straight down the street we were planning to walk down.

A street view with a street leading to the left, and a pedestrian crossing. There are a lot of red fire trucks in a line up the street. A police officer can be seen standing on the road.
What is going on?
Apartment buildings at a residential intersection with access to one street blocked off by yellow tape. A small group of schoolkids are in front of the tape. Firefighters stand behind the tape, looking up at the second storey of an apartment building. The front of fire truck can be seen inside the street that is blocked off.
Thankfully I’m pretty sure they had it under control.

It turns out that there was a fire in an apartment building, on the second or third storey, not very high up off the ground. We couldn’t tell if anyone was injured but the firefighters made it to the apartment and it seemed that they had it under control. So many people in the street stopped to watch, though, including some intrigued primary school students.

A Japanese temple with crowds of people in front of it, on a day when the sky is clear.
Sensō-ji

There are a lot of attractions in Asakusa but we only took the time to walk down Nakamise shopping street, which is near Sensō-ji.

A street of shops, many of which have signage in Japanese, and red lanterns hanging from above their shop entrances. Some people walk down the path in front of the shops.
The shops have a lot of food and souvenirs
A street full of schoolchildren and people, with shops lining the sides. The shops have Japanese signage above them.
Nakamise street is super popular

We stopped by an ice cream shop. I ordered a sakura flavoured soft serve ice cream. It was really nice, not too sweet. 🌸 I enjoy Japanese desserts because they are often less sweet than western desserts.

An ice cream cone in someone’s hand. The ice cream is light pink and is served soft-serve style.
Sakura soft serve!

I think we were mostly shopped-out from our trip already, and weren’t really interested in exploring much more of Asakusa, but it was worth checking out!

Well! There is another post. I have two posts left in this series. 🙂 (LOL FINALLY GURL.) And then I’ll be shutting up about Japan, at least until the next one. I guess you could say I’m back to “regular blogging” after that, but then, even then, I don’t know what “regular blogging” is supposed to mean. I think it just means it won’t be me harping on about how I haven’t finished all these honeymoon posts.

Part of me is actually a teeny tiny bit tired of having not writing these posts soon after coming back. I kept putting it off. 😅

CATCH YA ON THE FLIP. 🥞


Photos in this post were taken by me or Nick on our iPhone 7s.

Although we returned from our honeymoon four months ago, you can see the rest of our honeymoon adventures with the hashtag #thecookeshoneymoon on Twitter (mostly me) or on Instagram (mostly Nick). 💖

Other posts in this series:

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Comments on this post

I loved reading this post. It sounds like you had a good time and there is so much to see and do! I think I would get lost for hours in shops that sold a lot of things (especially cute/kawaii items). 😍

I really wish I could’ve seen more in Tokyo, but my time was limited and I went without much of a plan or a list of things I wanted to see (besides the crossing). I loved Shibuya! I definitely agree that when you’re in the thick of the crossing it doesn’t feel like that many people, but when you look at it from a distance it’s amazing how many cross at one time. I actually met my boyfriend at the crossing but the problem was we were on opposite sides — so we had to meet somewhere in the middle of all of those people, ha. My favorite thing was all of the foreigners taking photos and videos of themselves crossing, but Japanese people crossing like it’s no big deal. Really, it is just a traffic crossing, but the entire area is just so incredible and fun.

We had shabu shabu at a place called Shabu Zen which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the main Shibuya scramble. Super yummy 🤤 I also had the chance to hit Shinjuku and Tochou on Friday night, but mostly just walked around. Coming from Osaka, I felt that Tokyo holds a similar city vibe but also has a life all its own. I really want to go back!

It’s a bummer that Odaiba wasn’t too interesting for you, but that’s how it goes. Some cities are more interesting than others. For example, I find Kobe quite boring, but some people think it’s a ton of fun. I’m also not the biggest fan of Kyoto, though I don’t mind going every so often since it is incredibly close.

PURIKURA! So fun! 😄 I’ve only done it once, but it was a blast. I did it with my two Japanese friends and they loved how it completely changed my face so I didn’t even look like myself. I think purikura definitely caters to Asian features because it makes non-Asian features look a little strange (sorry Nick, haha). But I think it’s fun all the same and it’s really cheap! I love the added ability to decorate all of the photos.