In my fast and loose ‘Mind Itinerary’, I had pencilled in Monday for a trip to Sea Disney in Tokyo. However, after one day on the ground, what we really wanted to do was simply see and experience more of Tokyo.
So, we ditched Disney and saved hundreds of dollars. The kids did not care and Dave and I were infinitely happier!
We began everyday in Tokyo with a visit to the most amaze bakery about 20 paces from our front door. I had NO idea that bakeries were a thing here, and my god, everything that comes out of Japanese ovens is fit for the gods I tell you! The Arteria Bakery was divine, the best pastries, breads, curry buns, melonpam, blueberry and apple pies………we tried it all. Yes. We. Did.
Dave had to work, so the kids and I headed off on foot, navigating the 30-minute walk to Ikebukuro where the boys were super excited to experience J-World, an anime theme park featuring Dragon Ball Z – off course. I find Google Maps a bit dodgy at home in NZ, but here the app works perfectly. We were navigated through gorgeous, quiet wee residential streets and alleys, just as spic ‘n span as the rest of Tokyo, and made it to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro in no time. I’ve realised on this trip the beauty of having no car! Exploring on foot is such a pleasure here and gives a real sense of what life is actually like here in Tokyo.
We had unwittingly stumbled upon a kids-go-free day at J-world so we were off to a great start. Ethan loved this place, Nixon enjoyed it even with only a cursory knowledge of anime, however, give it a miss if you or the kids are not fans as it will all go right over your head as there is no English translation or context. That said, the boys were happy so I was super happy!
Sunshine City is a HUGE mall, it was a struggle to navigate but we found the restaurant level and I braved ordering food without Dave for the first time. The kid’s option was easily identifiable by the Hello Kitty plate and was so perfect for Nix. It came with a giant tempura shrimp, about 10 fries, a small hamburger patty and some rice, dessert and orange juice. Literally ALL of Nixon’s favourite foods, neatly separated how he likes it. The dessert was a strange custard that he wasn’t a fan of, but aside from that 10/10.
I had a good look at the menu before ordering and noticed that there were two prices; one for the individual item and one for the ‘set’ which included rice and miso soup. As Ethan is not a fan of miso and the rice servings are huge, we ordered one set and one individual item and saved around 200¥!
After a quick visit to the Pokemon shop (soooo cute!) we headed upstairs to the Sunshine City Aquarium located on the roof of the mall. We absolutely LOVED this place. Skip the sea lions and penguins and head for the aquarium tanks. There were so many fish, reptiles and amphibians here that we had never seen before it was amazing for my animal-mad boys. A leopard shark, huge sunfish, giant spider crabs, poisonous frogs and so much more. It def got us pumped for the big aquarium visit to come in Osaka.
Whilst in Ikebukuro we headed straight to the heart of this shopping mecca and soaked it all in. There was a girl on the street with an owl advertising the ‘Owl Cafe’ nearby, there was an 8 story department store dedicated to DIY and basically, home and lifestyle called Tokyu Hands. I could have spent hours in here but I was with 3 boys so time was limited lol. Ethan was granted his final Dragon Ball Z shopping mission and found a figure he wanted in the giant Animate store. He was happy and I was happy the search was over.
The neighbourhoods between Ikebukuro and our accommodation were so pleasant we opted to walk the 30 minutes home again and pick up some don bowls for dinner on the way home.
I know no-one will believe this but, the only shopping I’ve done for myself is a $5 floppy felt hat on clearance from Uniqlo!!! Shock horror I know. Not even ANY sneakers!
There are 12 more days though.
Day 2 = AWESOME.