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Trip: Tokyo [Part II] 2015

Part II

From the bustling Tokyo city and then to a smaller city town, we took the local subway route to one of the popular streets that have multiple small restaurants that offer monja on their menus.

"Monjayaki" or loosely termed as "Monja" is similar to Okonomiyaki where it is a Japanese savoury pancake with more of a dough-like consistency that all gets cooked in front of you on the hot plate.

We watch as the benito flakes do a little ditty dance whilst the ingredients cook over the plate. Eventually the pancake-like mixture thickens up and you grip the utensils given to give them abit of a stir up.

Back over in Shibuya-ward, we ventured down the street from our Godzilla hotel to find some sushi and sashimi. We walked into a sushi place that seemed decent. The fish was fresh, and the staff were friendly and spoke a little bit of broken English and it seemed like a mixture of Japanese and foreigners would pass-by into that shop. We ordered a tempura set and some sashimi to nibble on before we were going to the Japanese cat cafe Calico!

Being crazy cat fans and sorely missing our feline who sadly passed away a year ago, we were in need of some cuddles from Japanese cool cats. The cat cafe is hidden away on a fifth floor from a main street going through a building that has different businesses on each floor. The cat cafe staff advised us that some cats flagged with a red handkerchief couldn't be hand fed treats due to dietary requirements. But otherwise, we can pat and treat them to purchasable snacks whilst interacting with them.

Most of them are friendly and timid and whenever you kneel down to pay attention to them it is often greeted with a soft meow or purr. There was plenty of cats to mix with - fluffy tailed, short haired and fat and small!

There is also this lovely (and so very busy!) cross section thats famous in photographs of Shibuya which I've pictured. The cross walk can be overlooked from the many angles of shopping malls on each corner, specifically for us we made sure to go back and try the L'Occitane Cafe because when we walked by the first time, we thought it was unusual for a body/fragrance store to also run a food and beverage cafe.

They had a really light, cool menu for summer to match the humid weather at the time. For lunch, we had mock-tail mojitos and lemon iced tea with a set menu deal with salads and toasted breads. It was quite a nice cute lofty-beach themed place that overlooked the busy city area.

Taking the Shinkensen fast rail train to do a short break into Kyoto was an interesting trip. Firstly, our bad, we mistimed ourselves and had booked reserved seats only to miss out on our train. So, we hopped onto the next one but it was fully booked. We went up and down on that train to try and find a seat but ended up leaving our bags in a storage and sitting the hours on the carriage floors. My poor brother was so stressed by this! Because I was paranoid about our bags being kept away from where we stood. In the end, a very lovely train supervisor helped him maneuver the bags when we arrived in Kyoto.

Our hotel in Kyoto was a favourite because of its location and the facilities were stunning. Minimalistic in style, the trendy Sakura Terrace Gallery is a newly renovated hotel that had two wings of hotel rooms and an atrium lobby with complimentary refreshments stocked daily in the lobby and also what I really enjoyed, a snack bar and such an affordable dinner evening we had enjoyed.

The staff had great English language skills as well which was a plus. Most of the clientele seemed to look like westerners to begin with. The restaurant offers a "welcome drink" upon arrival and the dishes were so affordable when converted to Australian dollar and the qaulity of the food - sublime. The sashimi we had, the best sashimi flesh we have come across unlike even in Sydney!

The next day we travelled to Inari, Kyoto. This is famous for the Inari temple which we climbed. The weather was hot and humid but it didn't stop the Japanese from wearing their kimono and yukatas. Lots of ladies in their traditional wear and a umbrella to shade the sunlight. In summer, we had noticed, a lot of ladies wore it out during our nights travelling by train and I found it was because there were several summer festivals that they attend.

Wish we had had more time within Kyoto to have had traveled a little further in.

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