Arriving in Tokyo & Shinjuku Arcades Video
Japan video about arriving in Tokyo and hitting the arcades in Shinjuku, along with a room tour of the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel in Kabukicho.
Kyoto to Tokyo on the Bullet Train
After looking round Gion in the morning, we took the shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto to Tokyo. It takes about 2.5 hours and is covered by the JR Pass. We took the Hikari, which is the fastest train you can take with the JR Pass. I’d investigated stopovers to do more sightseeing on the way, but with our suitcases we decided to go directly to Tokyo.
Again, I enjoyed travelling in the daytime on the shinkansen. When we first arrived it was dark, so we didn’t get a chance to see the scenery. On the way, you can see the landscape change, with towns and mountains, and even glimpse Japanese castles and Mount Fuji! I loved tracking our progress on Google Maps – it’s amazing to see how fast you’re travelling. It’s really smooth and comfortable, and there’s enough legroom to put your suitcase by your knees.
One of the treats I was excited to try was an ekiben: an eki- (station) bento (lunchbox). It’s a boxed lunch that you can only get at shinkansen stations. They look so fancy (just take a look on Google images)! There are lots of different types, and some come in reusable boxes or even ceramic pots that you can keep.
You can find ekiben in stations where you can catch the bullet train. Follow signs to the shinkansen section, and the shop will be on the way somewhere – usually it’s one shop selling lots of different types. There’s a famous shop in Tokyo Station called “Ekibenya Matsuri” that sells boxes from around Japan.
We were in a rush so I didn’t have time to find a vegetarian one (which I’ve heard is available at Kyoto Station). The one in the video is an Osaka ekiben. It’s actually a pretty big lunch. I ate some of the non-fish items – avoiding the scary-looking tentacle! It was delicious, especially the honey mochi, and I’d love to try another one. They’re a little pricey for lunch, at around 1000 yen and upwards, but I think it’s worth trying!
Shinjuku Granbell Hotel
The hotel in the video is the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel, which as you can see was a really good place to stay – I have no complaints! Like a lot of Japanese hotels, the rooms are small but it was perfectly clean, comfortable and actually pretty stylish.
The Granbell is near Higashi-Shinjuku Station – which is the only slight downside as you’ll need to change at Tochomae for the majority of metro journeys. You can easily walk to the main area of Shinjuku, which is one of the biggest centres in Tokyo, or even the main Shinjuku Station if you want to.
Shinjuku Granbell Hotel is in Kabukicho, which is the red light district, but as long as you use your common sense it’s perfectly safe and I felt happy walking around there at night-time. The hotel’s in a quieter area than the main part of Kabukicho where the bars are. It’s in the middle of an area of love hotels, which you can recognise by the signs advertising rates for a “rest” or “stay”. Some of them are quite grand and over-the-top and it’s actually pretty interesting to see them!
As you know, I love okonomiyaki, and we met up with our friends at the place in MyLord department store, where we’ve been before. It’s fun to cook your own at the table, but be warned – it gets really hot sitting right by the grill!
Arcades in Shinjuku
Arcades are everywhere in Shinjuku and all the main areas of Tokyo. They’re open late and a fun place to go in the evening. Even late at night, Shinjuku’s still swarming with people – far more than in Kyoto.
In the arcades you can try UFO catchers, gachapon, video games and purikura photo booths. It’s lots of fun if you have a pocket full of 100 yen coins.
We found an arcade in Kabukicho full of Amuse plushies. They’re so cute but I’m hopeless at UFO claw machines! The kawaii plushies weren’t stacked in a way that’s as easy to win as some arcades, but I loved seeing all the cute hamsters and alpacas.
It felt good to be back in Tokyo. I enjoyed Kyoto and visiting some really different and amazing places, but the modern side is why I love Japan, and going to Tokyo felt like going home in a way.
More Tokyo Videos
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