The day started with a short walk to the Shibuya train station so my sister and I could get our Japan Rail Pass that we would begin using the following week as we explored cities south of Tokyo by rail. I had purchased this pass weeks in advance and just had to trade the voucher in get the real pass.

We explored some of the shops in Shibuya, such as the famous Shibuya 109 men's department store that's right in front of Shibuya crossing. It was floors and floors of clothing stores.

Tokyo Station 東京駅, Marunouchi

We took the metro to the Tokyo Station stop to checkout one of the larger stations in Tokyo before walking to the famous Tokyo International Forum building. Tokyo Station was in more of a business district and felt much less populous compared to the previous shopping districts we had been exploring.

Tokyo International Forum

The Moscone Center of Tokyo, the International Forum is a general purpose conference hall used for various events. During our visit there was a large Hitachi conference taking place.

Imperial Palace Gardens

Then we went back to the Imperial Palace Gardens. It was closed the first time we tried to visit.

Shinjuku 新宿区

We took another train to checkout Shinjuku, home of the busiest train station and home to many business headquarters such as Subaru. But we came to Shinjuku for one main reason — to get a look at the 50-story Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower. My sister Regina is an architect so this was a must-see.

Before leaving Shinjuku we tried to find a fast-food place called Kin no Kura Jr where you order izakaya-style Japanese pub food on a touch screen display (and all items are just ¥270) that we had heard so much about. Unfortunately we couldn't find it, so we ended up at MOS Burger for a quick bite.

Harajuku & Omotesandō

We didn't explore too much of Harajuku the last time we were in the area to we decided to head back and aimlessly wander around the many alleys. Without a doubt, Harajuku is the young fashion center of Tokyo. Lots of teenagers wearing eccentric outfits, notably girls dressed up as dolls.

Our stroll took us through Omotesandō to find some of the more elaborate retail buildings like the Omotesandō Prada and the Spiral building. In the middle of residential housing alleys we saw a small coffee kiosk called Omotesandō Koffee.

Even though it was seemingly hidden, at least a dozen people came through during our 15 minute break there. My cappuccino was top-notch.

Back at the Cerulean Hotel in Shibuya, Anand and I got a drink at the top floor hotel bar before all heading out to dinner at an izakaya style restaurant called Gonpachi. Another Gonpachi location (Roppongi) became famous after it was featured in the movie Kill Bill.

Gonpachi
Gonpachi