I love Tokyo. This is the fifth time I’ve been there but this is the first time that I’ve been there during sakura season. The best part about the trip is that the cherry blossoms were supposed to be in full bloom that very week that we’re there. Unfortunately, forecasts are typically proven wrong and it wasn’t until the last day of the trip that we got to see a line of cherry blossoms at naka-meguro. Even then, it might have been me but I expected them to be more pink than white.



So beautiful. Not my picture so kudos to whoever took this. (source)


Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself very much despite getting a cold the day before I was set to leave for the trip. I suppose it was the thrill of the trip that cured me because, by the second day of the trip, I was feeling a lot better than when we left Singapore.

Besides the sakura, other highlights of this trip include:

1. Sakura Onsen.

Despite its name, you don’t get to see any cherry blossoms. What you do get is a lovely onsen (public bath) experience that’s conveniently located on the JR Yamanote line. It helped that we were staying in the heart of Shibuya so we had a direct line that was only a few stops to Sugamo station where the onsen is.



The lovely entrance of the onsen. (source)



2. Yona Yona Beerworks

I went to this bar while the missus spent some time shopping around Shinjuku. This place is right beside Bicqlo, the collaboration between Bic Camera (an electronics store) and Uniqlo. I had their lager, which was fantastic, and an order of their stewed pork belly. The pork belly was done right- lightly seared on a grill before being dropped into stew in a bath of dark soy sauce and mirin.



This was the counter I was at. Lovely view of all their taps. (source)


3. Hidemi Sugino

I marked Hidemi Sugino’s place on the map the last two times we visited Tokyo but never found the chance to visit. See, the place is popular that a line forms before the opening time of 11 am. It also doesn’t help that a certain cake of his (the Ambroisie) is made in limited quantities.

Anyway, we got greedy and ordered four cakes. My suggestion is to just go for the Ambroisie which is what won Hidemi Sugino the La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie way back in 1991.



I wish I took a pic of this. (source)


4. gram pancakes

I saw these jiggly, fluffy pancakes in a video on facebook and knew that I had to try them. They were divine. A stack of three airy, pancakes, made to perfection. Basically, it was like having a cotton candy pancake. Amazing.



Tower of awesomeness (source)


Of course, there were old favourites such as:

-ichiran ramen (we went twice!)
– tendon at kaneko hannosuke
– tsukemen at roukurinsha
– katsu curry at hungry bear restaurant in Disneyland

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the heart of Shibuya. I totally got us lost looking for the place but once we found it and got our bearings, we realised how convenient the location was. Just 7 mins from the JR Shibuya station and a stone’s throw from eateries like Viron and the upper end of ‘center-gai’, we couldn’t have asked for a better location. Having a washer in the apartment also meant a lot of time saved doing the laundry and the apartment was pretty clean and surroundings were quite quiet.

The trip was wonderful but of course, it was only wonderful because of the company. However, just like the fleeting bloom of the sakura, the trip came to an end all too quick. The trick to seeing the beauty in sakura is in realising that the brief moment of full bloom is a perfect metaphor for life and that savouring each moment is key because all moments, no matter how long they may seem, are a transition to the next stop in life.