Saturday, June 23, 2018

Getting Around Tokyo

Tokyo is a metro with population exceeds 13 millions. The streets are packed with high rises, and the subways are interconnected with many different lines commuting thousands of people at the same time. We would like to share our experience in accommodation, food, transportation, and shopping for our 6-day trip in Tokyo.


Room can get very expensive in some of the places. Lucky we found a nice apartment via The price was very reasonable- three rooms, one small kitchen, laundry facilities, two toilets, and one bath room, with around RM 450 per night. The 2-storey apartment is located in Ikebukuro, 10 minutes by foot from Ikebukuro Station. There are several convenient shops nearby, and the major shopping malls at Ikebukuro are around 10 - 15 minutes away by foot. The nearest food street is just two blocks away (around 5 minutes by foot).

Outlook of the apartment (behind the blue vending machine).

Peaceful neighbourhood.

The kitchen with cooking tools (upper left), small dining area (upper right), laundry washing machine with detergent (lower right), and three bed rooms with air conditioners.

The north entrance of Ikebukuro Station (upper left). From the station, we can access to most of the places in Tokyo. We can see Tobu Mall with the blue signage from afar (upper right). Tobu is one of the big malls that sit right above Ikebukuro Station. The streets around Ikebukuro were busy. Mega Donki with a blue penguin sign provides huge range of local products. The shop can be reached via east gate of the station.

Night market and food street at Ikebukuro (upper row). The street is located outside of the north gate of Ikebukoro Station. If you wish to have a night stroll to experience the busy marketplace in Japan, you can explore the shopping area and pedestrian streets opposite of the east gate of Ikebukuro Station. 

Ikebukuro is relatively quiet and peaceful compared to the city center of Tokyo. The station, however, is the second busiest station in Japan. It is the second busiest station in the world as well. The station converges several railways and Metro Lines, thus it is very convenient for us to travel to other places in Tokyo from the station. 


We like Japanese food. Japanese food like sushi and sashimi are unique, but no more indigenous due to globalization of Japanese cuisine. Is there any difference between Japanese food in Malaysia compared to Tokyo? Not much difference for us, except for sushi and ramen. 

Ramen in Tokyo really different from what we have in Malaysia. First, the noodle is more elastic, and the broth is more concentrated. We have various of choices as well, such as beef, anchovies, and pork. We visited three ramen shops in Tokyo, all of them had their own ramen with special flavour. The ramen shops were small, with only one single row of seat like a bar (upper left). We have to select and pay for our food at the payment machine before entering the shop  (upper right). Ramen was served in soup (lower right) or dry. Ramen is definitely a must try food in Tokyo.

Sushi is another must try food in Tokyo. The fish used for sushi in Tokyo was more juicy and creamy, and the rice ball tasted better and less sticky compared to what we had in Malaysia. We tried sushi at Ikebukuro (upper left), where sushi were served on rotating conveyor belt (upper right). The price was determined by the colour of the plate (lower right). We bought sushi from the supermarket as well. The taste was good as well. The taste of sushi bought from convenient shops however, was disappointing. 

We tried rice with salmon sashimi (upper left), red tuna (upper right), fried chicken (lower right) and pork chop at Shinjuku. The dishes with sashimi were good.

We tried beef rice (upper left), rice with seaweed (upper right), takoyaki (lower right), and dry udon with onion and egg at Solamachi food court. 

Beside eateries and food courts, we tried the food purchased from Tobu Supermarket and convenient shops as well. These food required preheating with microwave. Some of the food we tried- stir fry squids with vegetable (upper left), rice with sashimi (upper right), rice with pork (lower right), and dumplings. The price, around 300 to 700 Yen. 

We had a buffet lunch at Buffet Restaurant Supreme (upper left). The restaurant located at 11th floor of Tobu Departmental Store, right above Ikebukuro Station. The atmosphere was relaxing (upper right), and the variety of food was good (lower right). The price was 2200 Yen per person, with time limit of 90 minutes per session. There was an extra charge of 200 Yen for soft drinks.

We tried many street food and snacks as well, including the grill beef and pork at Shibuya (upper left), kibi dango at Asakusa (upper right), Hello Kitty popcorn from Hello Kitty Shop (lower right), and dorayaki from convenient shop. The grill beef and pork were nice. The rest, well, you can just try it for fun.

One good thing about eatery at Tokyo- many of them have the food display outside their shop. The portion of the real food was more or less the same.


In Tokyo, there are two choices for transportation. Either we use the metro transit, or we walk. The taxi fee is really expensive and we just want to save the money for anything else. Staying somewhere nearby Metro Station or JR Station will make our life much easier to travel around Tokyo. We stayed at an apartment nearby Ikebukuro Station, which we could access to both Metro and JR lines.

Tokyo Metro offers 3-day hop-on-hop-off unlimited pass, with the price of 7200 Yen. However, there is a better deal. We bought Tokyo Subway 72-hour unlimited pass from Haneda Airport with just 1500 Yen! The pass is valid for 72 hours, for Metro subway and Toei Subway in Tokyo. We can buy the ticket from the Tourist Information Center at Haneda Airport.

We can buy the unlimited pass for subway from Tourist Information Center at Haneda Airport (upper left). The ticket will be activated upon our first usage. We didn't want to activate the ticket for the first day, so we bought one-way ticket from airport to Ikebukuro (upper right). It cost us 260 Yen per person. Boarding on the right train was challenging at first, as English signage was limited. It turned easier after a few rides. The couch was filled with advertisements, mainly in Japanese (lower right). It took us around one and a half hour to reach Ikebukuro.

The subway system in Tokyo is integrated with shops, stalls, supermarkets, and connections to shopping malls and offices.

Eateries at the underground level of shopping mall, which can be accessed easily from subway station.

The walking underground is a comfortable choice in Tokyo. We can move from place to place without exposing ourselves to nature elements. However, we will miss the scenery on the surface. 

Exit to the surface brought us the view of Tokyo Railway Station. We would have missed this historical building if we continued to walk underground.

Be mindful that our destination might not be exactly on the top of subway station. We might need to walk for 10 - 20 minutes to reach there. Lucky, the street was safe and friendly for pedestrian.


We didn't do much shopping in this trip. Anyway, we found that Shibuya was a good place to hunt for fair price items, especially at Mega Donki and Daiso. There is a Mega Donki store in Ikebukuro as well. We found that overall price for the food and souvenirs were cheaper in Ikebukuro, compared to Shinjuku and Shibuya.

We shopped a lot in convenient shops- snacks, rice, noodle, sushi, coffee, milk, fruit juice, sandwich, fresh vegetable, fruits, yogurt, Coca-Cola, and many more. Beside well-known 7-11, we could find Moles and Lawson Store around Ikebukuro. Lawson 100 is the one we like- most of the items were sold with 100 Yen.

Another shop with all the items sold with 100 Yen is Daiso. The shop is located in Shibuya. From the station, we need to brave ourselves through the Shibuya-crossing to reach Daiso.

Daiso is located at the end of the main street at Shibuya. Compared to the Daiso stores in Malaysia, the items available are a bit different, and the price, cheaper.

Mega Donki is another store that we would recommend in Shibuya. The store is available in Ikebukuro as well.

Shops with cute items, toys (upper left), special cartoon brand (upper right), comics in Japanese (lower right), and even shops for clip-doll-machine (or claw crane, skill crane, teddy picker) are available along the street. Of course, there are stores selling tech gadget, such as Bic Camera, stores selling various of objects like Tokyu Hands, clothes such as Uniqlo, scatters along the street.

Last but not least, Tokyo has various vending machines, selling various items, from drinks, snacks, toys, to many more other things that beyond our imagination. 

Most of the people we met in Tokyo could merely speak in English. However, we could still communicate with each others using photos, body language, translation apps, and a lot of expression. The people were friendly and polite. 

We might share more  about our experience staying in Ikebukuro, well, stay with us :)

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