Monthly Archives: April 2015

Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi

Evening planning

When I went back to the Ryokan from the pub on my second day in Japan, I got internet connection in my room through ADSL phone line. This was because the Ryokan didn’t offer wi-fi. I did a bit of research on internet where I could go the day after because it was going to be Monday and Mari had to work. I had to pass 2 full days in Tokyo by myself and meet Mari for dinner on Tuesday evening before leaving Tokyo for Kyoto.

I was willing to see if I could manage to see some cosplays and my research told me that I should go to Harajuku and looking on internet I found some other places to go, such as Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store and Ginza. After the research, I switched on the TV and watch a little bit of anime before going to bed. I had the whole night to think where to go first and how to plan my day, even though I really don’t like to plan in advance my travelling experience because I know that I can still find amazing places even without doing any research.

Monday morning travel

Looking at the train map in the morning, I realised that the best thing to do that made me waste less time, it was to visit the places that I had in my mind through a specific order, this would also allow me to visit more areas of London.

I decided that the first destination on my third day would be visiting one of the most imposing department stores in the world: Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi. Therefore, my first train stop would be Mitsukoshi Mae (or Mitsukoshimae) in the Nihonbashi area (‘Mae’ means ‘in front of’, ‘Nihon’ means ‘Japan’ and to be honest, I don’t know what ‘bashi’ means).

The travel has been a pleasant journey and looking outside of the window that monday morning, where the high rising building ended, the green of the Imperial Palace Garden started to show. At that point I realised that Tokyo was not only a city made from bricks and steel, but nature was also present in that amazing city. To make the journey more pleasant, the train that took me to destination was not crowded because I had just missed the rush hour so I could seat and relax on the train.

Imposing Building

I came out from the train station as soon as I arrived at destination. The exit was next to a big junction and in front of me, on the other side of the junction, I could see an imposing building, it was:

  • Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store!!!!

From the outside it looked impressive and perfect in design with its rounded front (as seen in picture 1).

Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi
(Picture 1: Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi)

Due to the large volume of traffic and waiting for the green traffic pedestrian light to come out, it took me few minutes to across the road (including the minute used to take the photo above).

Posh and Perfection

Once acrossed the road, I entered the building from the front door. Irasshaimase (welcome to our store) was heard from the people working as receptionists at the entrance. At that moment I realised that the interior must have been very posh. The receptionists were wearing smart and professional clothes.

Passed the reception, I decided to have a quick look at all floors. I didn’t get the chance to visit everything due to time constraint, however, I still managed to reach the top floor.

Everything inside the store seemed to be in the right place, if I have to name 1 or 2 department stores that can be compared, I would say Harrods and Selfridges in London. I didn’t really feel very comfortable to be inside a place like that and therefore my visit to the store was very short and I left soon after.

Next: (Walking Around Mitsukoshi)

Japanese Style British Pub

I miss England

While leaving the Ninja Restaurant, Mari told me how she missed England. At that moment I told her that near the Ryokan in Yotsuya I saw a British pub and if she wanted we could go there to have a pint of beer before going back home. She liked the idea and we headed to Yotsuya. Yotsuya was just 1 train stop away from Akasaka, so we headed to the train station and few minutes later we were there. Once we were in Yotsuya we walked on the pavement on a busy road that leads Yotsuya to Shinjuku.

British or Japanese?

We arrived at the pub few minutes later. Inside, the pub was very clean, it had tall tables and high seats where people can enjoy their beer. Inside there were only few Japanese people drinking plus the 2 male bartenders. Thinking about British pubs, the first thing that came into my mind was to go at the bar, order the drinks and pay there. Instead, we headed to one of the high tables, sat there and one of the bar tender came to our table to take our order. I found it a bit unusual but I got used straight away. The athmosphere was quiet with some music on the background (I cannot recall what music they were playing). Then the bartender came with the two pints, one for me and one for Mari, and we had a chat. We stayed at the pub for about half an hour, paid at the end then left the pub and went our separate ways.

Pubs in Japan

The athmosphere in the Japanese pubs is different from their British counterpart. That pub was very relaxing and people don’t have to go to the bar leaving their friends sitting alone lonley while ordering and therefore making the experience more intimate. Also the pub itself was much cleaner and not as noisy than those found in UK. The whole experience was different, even going alone, there are more opportunities to befriend to people never met before, especially if you are a foreigner in Japan. It is an experience that is worth trying.