Arriving at Narita T3, we took the free shuttle bus to T2, from which we caught the Keisei Access Train to Nihombashi (1,330¥/S$15.47). Our hotel was on the Tozai Line, right beside Toyocho station, hence it made more sense to take a direct train to Nihombashi rather than change at Tokyo station.
We dropped off our bags at the reception area and headed to Shinjuku for lunch. After exiting through Exit A1 of Shinjuku station, we crossed the bridge to Takashimaya Times Square (we found out later that Shinjuku Sanchome station has a direct link), and took the lift up to the 14th floor.
Katsukura Kyoto (on the 14th floor of Takashimaya Times Square) had a long queue when we arrived, but the queue was moving so it was bearable.
We got the Katsukura Meal (tender fillet katsu & lobster katsu) for 2,360¥ (S$27.45). The pork was succulent and juicy, while the lobster had the right amount of chewiness when biting into it. The outer layer (fried tempura) was flaky and crispy, truly one of the best fried tempura I’ve had so far.
The miso soup was also delicious, and I had two helpings of it (free refills hooray)! The barley rice was also very fragrant and had a soft texture to it that I liked. We both didn’t manage to finish the mountain of cabbage though. :p
After a very satisfying lunch, we went to walk around Shinjuku, shopping as we went along.
As it was nearing dusk, we left for Roppongi Hills as we wanted to catch the sunset from the Sky Deck. Tickets cost us 2,100¥ (S$24.42). We went straight up to the Sky Deck, and did not waste our time with the Observation Deck (indoors), since the reflection from the glass would have resulted in ugly pictures.
There’s also a clear view of Tokyo Tower from the Sky Deck, which looked positively beautiful when lit up and surrounded by a sea of glimmering city lights.
There is also an official photographer at the Sky Deck. If you like what you see, you can purchase it later when you exit (for 2,000¥). The same photographer will also help you take a picture using your own camera, so you aren’t really obliged to buy the official photo.
Anyway our “unofficial” photo turned out way better than the official one! :p
We found out that Japanese really love their Christmas markets, as there was yet another one right outside Roppongi Hills!
We took the subway down to Ginza after that, and spent a while roaming the streets and admiring the Christmas decorations lining them.
It was getting late, and we were starting to get hungry, so we decided to head down to Tokyo station to grab dinner. It was then off to the hotel to check in and crash for the night!
Summary of Day 1:
- Shinjuku + Takashimaya Times Square
Katsukura Kyoto Restaurant