BRIAN LOVES TOKYO’S BLEND OF ENERGY AND TRANQUILLITY
Brian is an Inside Japan tour leader based in Tokyo, Japan. We asked him to let us in on some of his favourite bits of the J-Pop & Go! group tour – a tall order on such a fantastic itinerary! Here’s what he said…
Tokyo is my favourite by far. I love the transportation system. There is a train station for just about every place in the city. I love food and Tokyo has it all. From the fancy Michelin star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop shops. The options are endless.
Every once in a while I like to enjoy a little nightlife. Tokyo is truly a city that never sleeps. If I’m looking for a crazy night out then Tokyo is the place to be. No matter what day of the week it is there will always be a bunch a people out at a club, bar, or live house having fun.
Nowadays I like to enjoy some peace and quiet with my family. I like to step away for the crowds and all the madness and go to a nice park, shrine or temple to relax. It’s really great to have time to take everything in and reflect. Tokyo is the place where I met my friends, it’s the place where I got married, and it’s the place I’m going to live the rest of my days because I love Tokyo and I love Japan.
The Robot Restaurant experience is something that is hard to put into words. It’s almost as if you stepped into a time machine and someone slipped something into your drink as well. I tell tour groups that you can take as many pictures and videos as you want but you’ll never be able to capture what is going to happen to you. There are so many things going on all at once that you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Welcome to the Robot Restaurant!
“Melon pan” ice cream is a gift from the gods. It actually has nothing to do with melon except for the shape. It’s fresh baked cookie bread with ice cream inside. It has a slightly crunchy outer layer and a soft warm doughy inside. Oh, and did I mention it has ice cream inside too? Yay!!! The crunchy outside with the warm gooey inside and the ice cream provide all the right textures and flavours. It leaves you saying, “Yep, I need another one.”
The Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo is by far one of the coolest places I’ve stayed at. Not only is it conveniently located next to Nakano Broadway (a prime spot for manga buffs and video game nerds) and the station but it has everything you could every want inside.
Can’t sleep? Well maybe the all night bowling alley on the bottom two floors will do the trick. There is also an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, rooftop tennis court, darts, fitness center, and of course internet cafés and restaurants with happy hours. What more could you ask for – a concert hall?? Oh yeah, they have that too. Nice rooms, beautiful views of the city, a great place to stay.
Champion Bar in the Golden Gai area of Shinjuku is my favorite place to go out for a good time with friends. It’s the only place I know of that people sing karaoke in front of the whole bar. It’s not like the usual karaoke you pay for in Japan where you have to pay per hour for a private room. All you have to do is just pay 100 yen per song, really simple. It’s a great place to see drunk Japanese business men singing Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and other popular artists.
All the drinks are 500 yen. I personally like to pay 2,000 yen upfront to get a discount for five drink tickets. The tickets never expire so you can use them whenever you want. My friends and I usually just split them up. Everyone is there to just have a good time so if you’re not good at singing, you’ll fit right in. Every night though there are always a couple people you would never expect that completely bring the house down so even if you’re not into singing, it’s still fun to watch.
Outside Champion Bar
These are just a few of Brian’s high points from the tour – there are so many more you could choose! If you’re interested in booking a place on our next J-Pop & Go! tour, get in touch with one of our travel consultants or click here to find out more.