Tokyo May 2016 Day 8: My 30th birthday!
Wednesday was my 30th birthday and what better way to spend your birthday than in Tokyo. This was the last full day of our holiday and we always make sure we do some amazing things on our last day. That combined with it being my birthday ensured it was to be a perfect day. You can read about how we spent the previous day here.
Tom has been out on his own briefly in the afternoon the previous day and I woke to balloons and a beautiful light cream cake in the shape of a cute little lion. We gorged on this and I opened my cards and gifts before getting ready.
Originally I had penciled in a dog café where for a small price you can rent a dog for an hour and walk it in a park. I’d put some serious thought into this activity during our time in Japan and came to the conclusion as although it would be fun walking a toy poodle and I have no doubt that they are well cared for by the café, if these dogs are taken out by strangers speaking different languages all day every day then actually this concept is quite cruel so we decided to avoid this.
The next item on the birthday itinerary was the Pompompurin Cafe in Harajuku which was one stop on the JR line from Yoyogi where our apartment was. Therefore we chose to walk there as a replacement activity for the dog walk, and it was a beautiful sunny morning. The best thing about this walk is that it was through Yoyogi Park. This is one of Tokyo's largest parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and wooded areas. It is a great place for jogging, picnicking and other outdoor activities and there are a lot of attractions within the park including Meji Shrine.
We chose not to visit the shrine as we had been many times before and just enjoyed casually strolling through and arrived in Harajuku at around 11am. Luckily for us this was just as the cafe was opening and there was no queue.
Building where the café is located:
As it was my birthday I ordered for both of us and obviously went for the two cutest meals on the menu and a caramel latte:
My meal was a ‘picnic set’ and was very tasty:
Tom’s was a thai curry with rice and as he’s not a big fan of thai curry I ended up eating most of it!
I was feeling pretty full after this meal on top of cake for breakfast so we then went home for a little while and sat on the roof reading.
In the afternoon we went to Odaiba, one of our favourite parts of Tokyo. Odaiba (お台場) is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. There are various ways of getting there including the subway and monorail but our favourite is the slightly terrifying walk across the Rainbow Bridge.
The Rainbow Bridge as its name suggests is a suspension bridge shaped and decorated to look like a rainbow. The bridge carries the Shuto Expressway’s No. 11 Daiba Route on the upper deck and the Tokyo Waterfront New Transit Waterfront Line, or Yurikamome, on the lower deck. It is officially called “Tokyo Wan Renraku-kyo” (Tokyo Bay Connector Bridge).
Pictures from previous trips:
The walk is free, covers 1.7 kilometres and can be completed in around 25 minutes. There are benches placed along the walk to enjoy the view and you have the option of walking on the north or south side. We’ve done the south side before so this time we opted for the north side where you get a fantastic view of Tokyo:
The older we get it seems the more scared of heights we become, and although I was (for a change) comfortable walking across the bridge it took Tom some time to build up the confidence to stand by the edge! Don't judge until you've tried it, the height of the bridge combined with the noise, vibrations and gales generated by the huge lorries that zoom past ensure this walk is not for the feint hearted! When we got to the other side we spent the afternoon on the beach and perusing the shops.
View from the beach:
Our dinner destination was Kushiya Monogatari. We’d visited in 2015 and loved it and were desperate to eat there again but wanted to save it for my birthday so the visit was much overdue. This is a hugely popular Osaka-based chain that lets you select your own kushiage skewers to be cooked at your table. Select from a wide variety of meat and vegetables, return to your table, dip in batter and breadcrumbs, cook and then dunk in one of their many sauces. If that doesn’t whet your appetite then they also have unlimited soft drinks, ice cream and a chocolate fountain!
Full of skewers we next went to an amusement arcade in the same shopping centre where the restaurant was located. Here we spent our remaining hours playing on the games machines before heading home to pack our suitcases ready for our flight home the next morning.
All in all it was a wonderful day and served as the perfect end to our fourth trip to Tokyo. I just wish all birthdays were like this one!