Tokyo Trip On a Budget: DAY 1 (Shibuya)

filipina traveller at shibuya crossing at night

Several weeks before our trip, we booked an AirBnB apartment for the 3 nights that we would be staying in Tokyo. For me, AirBnB is great news for cheapskate travelers who either don’t want to couch surf or stay in a dingy hostel room. You can get decent and sometimes very cozy apartments for a very low price. Fortunately, we found this very cute apartment located in Shibuya, which is actually one of the most ideal neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo.

NARITA AIRPORT. We arrived late morning in Tokyo from Manila. As soon as we’ve cleared immigration and got our luggage, we went to the Airport Limousine bus ticket booths located just outside the arrival area. We bought one-way bus tickets from Terminal 2 to Shibuya Hotel Excel Tokyu for ¥ 3,100 ($ 26/ ₱ 1154) each. Obviously, this was not our hotel, but our apartment was just an 8-minute walk from there.

CAFÉ CROISSANT. While waiting for our 1:00 PM bus, we had a light lunch at Café Croissant at the airport. I admit that my first meal in Japan was not Japanese food but this was also the last Western food I ate on our whole trip. I really love the Starbucks Discoveries Matcha Latte they sell in 7Eleven and Family Mart, I wish we had it here.

Convenience stores here make me happier than they should.

AIRPORT LIMOUSINE BUS. Third world country citizens that we are, we weren’t very prepared for the spring weather of Tokyo. What more if we went during winter. We waited for the bus outside the airport while we held each others’ hands for warmth. The bus arrived on time and they helped us put our wheeled luggage underneath.

I mostly slept through the almost one hour trip, but I was able to take photos before arriving at Shibuya Hotel. They dropped us off the 5th floor of the hotel and goshdarnit was it freezing cold and windy. From there we went down the hotel and walked our way to the apartment.

SHIBUYA MYCASTLE APARTMENT. Our AirBnB host gave us instructions how to get from the hotel to her apartment. She actually sent me a photo album of the landmarks that we were going to pass upon arriving at her place. It was really awesome crossing the famous Shibuya scramble for the first time. After 15 minutes of walking and being lost at some point, we finally arrived.

Our host told us not to talk to the receptionist or anyone in the building, so we had to figure out how to get her key from the lockers and get to her top floor apartment. All of this mind boggling experience was worth it when we saw this view.

We entered the apartment and it was exactly how it was in the pictures. There were 3 of us, so two took the double bed and my other friend set up the futon on the floor. Our host let us borrow the pocket wifi as well, so awesomesauce.

GENKI SUSHI. We were starving because it was silly to have light lunch after all. One of the main food destinations in our agenda was Genki Sushi. I can’t express enough how much I adore this sushi place. It’s cheap, it’s yummy, and it’s a very cool way to serve sushi. We just walked from our apartment to get here. They give you a number and you sit down on the corresponding seat number. You choose your order by clicking their touch screen menu and you just have to wait a few minutes before the conveyor belt brings your sushi.

You enjoy this savory sushi plate and go to the cashier and give your number so they can bill you. Then you walk out very satisfied.

TOKYU HANDS. This 9-storey department store literally has everything. It was just a few minutes’ walk away from Genki Sushi so we burned all our gained calories there. It’s great for window shopping but I also bought some brush pens which are amazing by the way. I regret that I didn’t hoard more.

APPLE STORE SHIBUYA. I thought I lost my Lightning to SD iPad connector so I passed by this Apple Store in Shibuya to buy one. Here, not just the products are sexy, the store itself is very sexy. An Apple Genius helped me with the connector I wanted to buy and I was amazed to see that they use their phones to swipe credit cards. Maybe it’s common there, but obviously not in the PH.

HACHIKO STATUE. We crossed the Shibuya Scramble again to take a look at the Hachiko statue, a small monument of the most loyal dog in the world. It’s worth a photo stop but it can get pretty crowded.

H&M SHIBUYA. We bought gloves because our hands were turning purple and some tights to double up with the ones we brought.

CLUB SEGA. Before heading back home, we saw a Club Sega arcade across the street. I had read before that this was one of the places where you can get a purikura taken. We went inside and we didn’t see any photo booths but we went to the basement and we were surprised to see this purikura paradise. There were lots of booths with different themes to choose from. For three girls traveling in Tokyo, this is definitely a must-do.

We bought some instant noodles from Family Mart and had midnight snack at the apartment before hitting the sack. My feet were really sore and I was so tired from all the walking so I was surprised I had a hard time falling asleep. Probably from excitement because Day 2 was Tokyo Disneyland and Akihabara Day.

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