The hotels in Japan all seem to come with Pajamas! Yukata, I suppose, but these are like extra long, button-up sleep shirts with 3/4 length sleeves. (Maybe they are full-length sleeves on a non-monkey armed person? Unsure.)
I of course had to try them out! And also there are slippers! They fit size 8 lady feet! They do not fit size 13 man feet.
Also: bidets. I had to work up the courage to try it, but, you guys? I think they are really on to something. They don’t understand how to sell a ticket online because they have been perfecting the bathroom experience.
Also: the hair dryer was incredibly underwhelming. I thought I had come to the land of my hair people (I have twice as much hair as your average human … and each strand is twice as thick … drying my hair is exhausting …) and so I was super excited about the hair dryer sitch. Alas, hotel hair dryers in Japan leave just as much to be desired as the ones in the US.
Breakfast at the Tokyo Prince Hotel? Awesome spread. Western food! Eastern food! Something for everyone at the buffet. So I did what any Asianish-American lady would do: served myself up a bowl of piping hot steamed rice, snagged some butter from the Western toast station, and added some sugar (meant for coffee, I’m sure) from our table. Breakfast butter-sugar rice! (Ok, so probably that has an actual name? I just know it as ‘how I like to eat rice at breakfast.’) Also I loaded up on bacon and fresh fruit. (Tip: fruit is really expensive in Japan. If you have a hotel breakfast buffet, take advantage!)
Y’all, I ate butter-sugar rice every morning we had a breakfast buffet. So good. Also a complete abomination? But so good.
Probably we stopped in the hotel basement Lawson (I LOVED that the hotel had its own Lawson!!) for some bottled water and snacks.
Before we headed out, we swapped out the husband’s sim card for a Japanese one. We had ordered it beforehand and had it shipped to us, just to make things easier. So we had internet and maps and access to google translate everywhere we went! Pretty awesome! And a world of difference from our 5th anniversary trip to Italy where we rented a blackberry so we’d have access to email. EMAIL. No internet. JUST OUR EMAIL. 10 years ago. The world is such a different place, in just 10 years!
Our hotel was a bit of a walk (15 minutes?) to the Hamamatsucho train station, but we had our maps, the weather was perfect, so off we went!
At the station, we struggled with the ticket machine for a bit. From his research, the husband knew we wanted Suica cards, and that we’d start out with $20 on them and add more as we needed it. The menus weren’t super intuitive, but we eventually figured it out and got our cards. (We later learned from another couple on our trip that you can order Suica cards ahead of time and have them shipped to you in the US. Probably for a nice up-charge, but, no fighting with machines!)
So we found the right train, hopped on board, and a few stops later we were in Akihabara. Nerd capital of the world, so, yeah, of course that’s where we started.
First stop was the Mandarake Complex, 8 floors of anime collectibles. Each floor was small, but crowded with … so much. Some of it I recognized, some of it I didn’t. Totoro, that fried egg with a butt, vintage video games, comics, just all completely unnecessary but oh-so-fun stuff! We stopped at a wall of capsule vending machines and found the perfect souvenir. Seriously, this little guy still goes with me everywhere I go.
Next up was Yodobashi Camera. So spacious! Floors and floors of department store goods, not just cameras. Also books, stationery, beauty products, refrigerators, phones, watches … if you want it, they have it.
Lunch at McDonald’s, nothing to write home about there …
And an owl cafe! Not sure why it’s called a ‘cafe’ (they do have a vending machine for drinks?) but they delivered on the owl front!
We rounded out Akihabara with a stop at Don Quijote. If Yodobashi Camera is spacious and classy, Don Quijote is … brash and cluttered? But you have to stop in, it’s like nothing else. The aisles are mazes, the store is floor after floor stacked on top of each other, you never know what you’ll find. It is claustrophobic, but also amazing! Snacks, toiletries, clothes, halloween costumes, toys, they got it!
We snagged some adorable toothbrush covers, they are open-mouthed cats that eat your toothbrush head when it’s packed away in your bag. But also, they eat the bottom of your toothbrush and stand it straight up on the hotel bathroom counter to dry. They are adorable and genius.
My fitbit history tells me that took us over 10 thousand steps, so we likely called it a day and headed back to the hotel to meet our tour group and for our Gate 1 welcome dinner!