Following on from Eating in Tokyo – Part 5 – Narisawa…
Akihabara is otherwise known as ‘electric town’, (what Akiba in Civic is named after), and is the geek hub of Tokyo. Obviously it looks a lot more electric by night when everything is all lit up.
My sister loves anime and manga so this was her paradise. Multiple buildings filled with manga from top to bottom.
The Akihabara JR train station looks out onto a street with this Pablo Mini shop selling cheese tarts. You can’t miss the bright yellow shop. It was quite busy with a small queue to the side when I first passed the shop. On passing it again later that day, I decided it was time for a cheese tart snack.
I was happy to find matcha cheese tarts waiting to be eaten in the window.
While standing in the queue, I was given a menu from one of the staff wearing a bright yellow uniform. You could buy a 6-pack with an assortment of the plain, chocolate and matcha flavours.
I just really wanted to try the matcha and chocolate tarts. I know I should have tried the plain one too but I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it.
The matcha tart (¥213) was deliciously gooey and creamy. It wasn’t too cheesy considering it was a cheese tart. It tasted more like warm matcha cream. Very addictive. Similarly, the chocolate tart was just as warm, gooey and chocolatety. I’m still dreaming about them…so good.
There were plenty of ‘maids’ all dressed up on the streets handing out flyers enticing mainly men to go into a maid cafe. It’s nothing illegal. A maid cafe is a regular cafe but with the wait staff dressed up in full on cute and short maid outfits and will dote on you, treating you like their master or mistress. The ‘maids’ don’t like having their photo taken but I managed a very sneaky and very blurred shot below. I felt a little weird going into a maid cafe with my sister, but maybe next time I’ll try it if I’m with a male friend.
I passed by another cafe with the below food displays in the window. Dessert stuffed into half a loaf of bread/brioche. I was too full after the Pablo Mini tarts, but I will definitely need to try this on my next trip.
There are bunny cafes and cat cafes, but did you know there’s now a hedgehog café in Tokyo? I found out from a friend who sent me a news article on it. I did a search for Harry Hedgehog and came across the address for the café. It just so happens to be next door to a bunny café, so you could visit both! At about 4pm, there was a queue with 2 people in front of us. We were all tourists and excited to try out the latest craze.
After about a 25 minute wait, it was our turn to head up stairs. The café is small fitting about 10-12 people. The cost was ¥1000 for 30 minutes (on weekdays. It was more for weekends) just to hold them. Taking photos on your phone was free of charge, but photos using a DSLR camera cost a bit extra. A short form had to be filled out ticking our options. There was also another cost if you wanted to buy food for the hedgehogs to eat. In terms of food for humans, there were drinks and I believe some snack food.
But we were there to hold and play with some hedgehogs. There were about a dozen hedgehogs that we could choose from, with several more resting in cages underneath blankets to the side. We were told to scoop them up from underneath their bellies as they do have prickly needles.
I picked the white albino one and our guide picked him up for us and placed him in his own little box before handing it to us. The poor thing squirmed quite a bit and didn’t really want to be held. He would often curl into a ball as a defence mechanism. I couldn’t help but feel guilty that all of these hedgehogs were being picked up and patted against their will. One of the rules was we weren’t allowed to just swap hedgehogs. They had to be put back into their individual boxes and handed back to the host.
My sister’s grey hedgehog was a bit more amicable and adventurous after pooping on her.
We thought 30 minutes there was plenty of time to hold a few hedgehogs. We also got to meet a few other tourists from around the world. Fortunately there was a bathroom where we could wash our hands afterwards. You can check out their website for more information.
As mentioned above, my sister loves her anime and manga. We just happened to be in Tokyo at the same time that Anime Japan (an international anime convention) was being held in Odaiba. It was her one ‘must do’ activity so I tagged along to keep her company. And I will never do it again. As we were international guests, we were not allowed to buy tickets overseas. I think there was a short window for buying tickets when we got there but either we didn’t have the time or tickets had sold out. As our train passed Tokyo Bigsight (Japan’s largest exhibition and convention centre), we saw swarms of people all walking towards the same place. Big gulp. After queuing to get our admission tickets, we joined the sea of people in an unbelievable queue where we waited 2hrs. No joke.
Not knowing much about anime and manga, except for the Studio Ghibli, Sailor Moon type anime, I walked around and there was a lot of merchandise to be bought. My sister said there were lots of new anime being promoted but nothing that she really wanted. And we left after 30 minutes! Not worth it. Ah well. Anyway, it was past lunch time and our closest food option was at a shopping complex called Aqua City, so we jumped back on the train to get there. Apparently there was a whole floor with a ramen food theme park? I’m pretty sure we walked every floor seeking something yummy and don’t remember coming across it. My sister being an otaku (obsessed with anime/manga) wanted to try one of the numerous omelette dishes found in Japan so we queued up (another queue!) at Kobe Motomachi Doria.
The omelette like dishes are otherwise known as omurice (an omelette covering rice). I was happy to just sit down.
I picked the sukiyaki beef doria (¥1,390) using Kuroge premium Japanese beef and stirred egg in broth. It came in a little iron pot with a small flame underneath to keep it hot. I was disappointed with the extremely limited portion of beef provided. Other than that, the sukiyaki was absolutely delicious and there was a lot of rice underneath. Very tasty and hearty Japanese comfort food.
My sister chose something similar – the yaki omelette doria (¥1,390) with thinly sliced Kuroge beef and scallions in sukiyaki sauce. For some reason, the sauce was very cheesy and it got a little sickening to eat halfway through the dish.
That’s it for the Tokyo series! Moving onto my food adventures in Nagano and Matsumoto next…
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