Sengakuji is famous for being the graveyard of the Fourty-Seven Ronin, which is a fascinating but bloody tale from Japanese history. If you have seen the recent movie of that name, I can assure you that that movie is steaming pile of inaccurate poop, but Keanu Reeves is very pretty. I shudder to think of the number of people going to Sengakuji looking for his character's grave these days... hot tip, his character is fictional.
After this we took a subway to visit the famous Nihonbashi Bridge, and a visit to the super swanky department store Mitsukoshi (it has big lions out the front). The department store is actually pretty impressive (and expensive), but does have a gorgeous floor of kimono displays and a roof garden. They also had Le Creuset in all the colours of the rainbow, including the marshmallow pink that I love so much. We don't have that colour here in Australia.
Afterwards, I caught the subway out to the Tokyo branch of Loving Hut. This is a tiny little restaurant, up some stairs, which had one little table with two chairs and counter seating around the windows seating maybe another six. There were several dinner sets to choose from, including some things that were similar to the Loving Hut at home, so I tried the Fish Sandwich for something different. This was OK, though the tartar sauce was really more like a pickle/mustard sauce. It came with a cup of chowder and some nice sides including seaweed salad, curry chunks and some sort of sweet soy slices. For the dessert I chose a chocolate coconut pudding, which was very nice. The also had 'cheesecake' for dessert, but it looked exactly like the one they have here in Australia, which is apparently imported from Taiwan frozen and really isn't very nice.
The following morning I did something a bit different for breakfast and ordered off the hotel menu. Normally I had just been eating assorted bread, spreads, fruit and tea for breakfast before heading out, but the hotel had a 'healthy breakfast' on the menu and had a good grasp of making food for vegans (no bonito in the miso!). It was nice to be able to enjoy a Japanese-style breakfast for at least one morning.
After breakfast I went for a walk to the Imperial Palace and visited the lovely East Garden there.
For lunch we caught the subway to Roppongi and went to Roti, where I had the Vegan Burger. This is a veggie burger with smoked eggplant dip and tahini sauce on a pita bun, plus fries!
Afterwards we had a wander through the giant Roppongi Hills shopping centre before heading out to International House (where my mother has spent many trips to Japan for research) to see a dance performance by Min Tanaka. It was... interesting. In a beautiful setting, being danced in the gardens at International House, but not quite my style of dance. Still, we had a lot of fun afterwards with our different interpretation of what the dance might have meant.
Roppongi is also the home of Eat More Greens, a vegetarian cafe that my mum had been to before. We arrived when they were serving their 'Tea Time' menu, so perfect for some afternoon tea. I had a Tiramisu, which had banana mousse and fruit cake, making it in no way traditional but still very tasty. I also tried some corn tea, which was quite nice. I got a takeaway vegan taco meat meal which I took back to the hotel and ate for dinner while watching NCIS on TV. They also have a bakery section, so I picked up fruit and nut scone, oatmeal choc-chip cookie sesame cookie and a red bean and green tea bagel. Not everything there is vegan, and something that appear labelled as vegan have honey in them, so keep an eye out when you are ordering.
The next day I was on my own, so I headed back to the Shibuya/Shinjuku area. Again, it was raining a bit. But I think that Shibuya crossing is more awesome with umbrellas. I meandered around the 109 shopping centre, which is full of incredibly hip and tiny clothes and insane amounts of kawaii.
For lunch I caught the JR to Harajuku and went to Hanada Rosso, a great little restaurant. Follow the instructions on Happy Cow on how to get there, and it is easy to find. I had the most amazing tofu burger, it was so delicious! Plus it was served on spaghetti. It also came with brown rice and miso vegetable soup. I had some pumpkin and maple ice cream to finish, which was a bit icy but had nice flavours. Lots of pumpkin everything due to it being autumn.
It was also the day of the Halloween Parade, which was pretty fun to watch go by.
There were some actual Harajuku Girls at the bridge in Harajuku! This was exciting. Plus people everywhere were dressed up in Halloween costumes. Definitely a fun day to be out people watching!
For afternoon tea I went to Salon de Nanadecor, and adorable tea salon set up in an organic cotton clothes shop. There was very little English, and I had very little Japanese, but I did manage to order this amazing soy blancmange with strawberry and some sort of lovely tea. It is a bit off the main drag to get to, but it is a very lovely place to stop by for some tea.
The next post will be the last of my Japanese adventures!