So… You’ve finally booked that flight to Tokyo and it’s still a few months away. You’re all excited for this trip but you’re not too sure what you want to do when you’re there. After all, it’s your very first time right? Here are some things that you definitely need to do when you’re in Tokyo for the very first time!
1. Eat halal authentic Japanese food
Ramen, yakiniku, tempura, Japanese curry… You want it, you can have it! These foods are not only super yummy but they are also halal-certified!
You definitely need to try the ramen in milky broth here – spicy and super yummy! The runny yolk complement the ramen perfectly as it is well-cooked. The Japanese curry is tasty too – do ask to add meat (at an additional cost) if you love meat like me! You should also give the chicken karaage and dumpling a try. This is definitely filling for two people!
#HHWT Tip: A prayer space is available here but only a prayer mat is provided.
Opening Hours: 11.30 am to 10.30 pm daily
How to get there:
Luna Hala Café
If you intend to visit the Tsukiji Fish market, you would definitely have read that the sushi sold at the stalls there are not permissible for Muslims to consume. This is due to the fact that mirin is being used in the preparation of the sushi. But don’t fret! You can still have some seafood in the area.
The moment we entered the café (it is located at the side of a small hotel), the server presented us with a halal menu – I think they are used to getting Muslim customers and can recognise one when they see us ? We ordered the Grilled Salmon set and we absolutely love it! It may look simple but it was very, very delicious!! Oishii!
#HHWT Tip: They only serve the meals with chopsticks and no spoons. According to the Japanese way of eating, we are supposed to eat the rice with the bowl close to our faces and drink the soup straight from the bowl. Even though it might be awkward at first, it's definitely fun to try this out!
Opening Hours: 7 am to 10 am (breakfast) and 11 am to 2 pm (lunch)
How to get there:
Homemade Udon Noodles KINEYAMUGIMARU
If you’re flying in to Tokyo via Narita Airport, you definitely have to try the udon here! They not only serve udon, but they also serve onigiri and various tempura items!!! I could finally eat halal onigiri.
I ordered the beef udon and the noodles were sooooo springy – this makes the udon even more delicious. On top of that, I also took the tempura (squid, mushroom, prawn AND fish cake) and the onigiri (salmon and bonito flakes). Okay, I know I sound like a glutton but I kept the onigiri for the flight back home k. Hehe ?
To place an order, decide on the toppings for the udon as well as the size. You will then be served with a bowl of udon with toppings sans broth. Then, pick your own onigiri and tempura (self-service). Make payment and then proceed to the broth station and dispense as much (or as little) broth you like!
P.S. It is a Japanese tradition that you should slurp your noodles if they are yummy! We tried – but failed miserably. Haha.
Opening Hours:7.30 am to 9 pm (Last Order is at 8.30 pm.)
How to get there: 5th Floor of Narita Airport Terminal 1.
#HHWT Tip: A multi-faith prayer space is also available on the same floor! Do bring your own sejadah and telekung.
Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka
This has got to be my favourite ramen – it is tomato-based and it is spicy for real. Heh. And the best part is? It comes in a set, complete with grilled chicken AND yakitori! Oh… The owners are really friendly too :)
Another unique thing about this ramen place is that they also serve a bowl of rice, which is topped with some tofu and an egg yolk. This is to make ochazuke, where the broth is poured of the rice and enjoyed that way. Definitely something new but certainly very delicious!
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday – 12.30 pm to 3 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm
Saturday and Sunday – 12.30 pm to 10 pm Closed on Fridays
How to get there:
#HHWT Tip: It’s also very near the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden :D
Besides these, don't forget to check out more halal Japanese restaurants in Tokyo!
2. Scour the streets of Harajuku
Well… This is the place that inspired Gwen Stefani to produce the song ‘Harajuku Girls’. This is also the place where you can do your shopping, eat crepes and take in the sights!
Shops, such as H&M and F21, are lined up along the streets. If you are a kid at heart, you should definitely check out Kiddy Land! You’ll be spoilt for choices here.
And if you want something cheaper, go to Takeshita Dori! The Daiso here occupies 4 storeys and trust me, there'll be something to get for everyone back home! In Takeshita Dori, the whole street is covered with many trendy shops, crepe stalls as well as used clothes stores. Speaking of crepes, here’s one that we tried!
Note: This crepe is not halal-certified. However, I asked the lady tending the shop if they used alcohol in the process of making the crepes or in the ice-cream itself and she said no.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary according to the different shops in the area.
How to get there: Get on the JR Yamanote Line and go to Harajuku Station. Once there, just explore the whole place.
3. Spend your day(s) in Shibuya
You definitely need more than one day to explore all the shopping places! There's F21, H&M, ABC-Mart… Just to name a few. There's also a lot of 100-yen shops and Daiso! Another great shopping place would have to be Tokyu Hands!! You can find practically everything here. Look, I'm not kidding!
#HHWT Tip: You’ll pass along many other shops. Just go in to whichever tickles your fancy!
Opening Hours:10 am to 8.30 pm
How to get there:
Oh… Shibuya is also where you can see (or just cross) the busy Shibuya crossing and be amazed by it.
Besides this, you can also see the statue of Hachiko – the loyal dog who waited for his master for a long time, without knowing that the latter has passed on ?
How to get there: Get on the JR Yamamote Line and alight at Shibuya Station.
4. Indulge in the shopping madness in Asakusa
Why madness? Cos there'll be soooo many things to see and buy! The whole street of Nakamise is lined with small shops selling a lot of souvenirs.
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[Also read: Why You Should Visit Traditional Asakusa
How to get there:
And if that's not enough, there's also Don Quijote (which opens for 24 hours!!!) where you can buy a lot of stuffs – kitchen equipment, stationeries, snacks… You name it, they have it!
Oh… You can also get halal-certified items like ramen, udon and soba here too! Definitely good for souvenirs :)
[Also read: The Ultimate Guide To Shopping In Tokyo]
Yummy Japanese crackers (also known as arare) are being sold here at Hyobando. These are ideal as souvenirs! Or if you are like me, it’s definitely a yummy snack. HEHE.
#HHWT Tip: Do refrain from taking photos of the shops – the shop owners are really strict about this!
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 8pm
How to get there: It’s the second shop from the gate on Nakamise Shopping Street when you first walk in!
5. Go to DisneySea!
Opening Hours: Check out their website here to check the opening hours as the opening hours vary from time to time!
How to get there: Take the train to Maihama Station. From there, change to the Disney Resort Line and proceed to Tokyo DisneySea Station!
6. Get to your intended places by taking the train
Trains will be most efficient way for you to get around Tokyo. They are very punctual and you don't have to wait very long for the next one.
Credit: The Tokyo Times
You can get a PASMO card or a SUICA card to travel on the trains. The cards work just like the EZ Link cards in Singapore/Oyster card in London, and can be bought at any of the ticketing machines at any stations. Do note that you need to pay a deposit of 500¥ when you first buy the card.
#HHWT Tip: Get in line while waiting for the train. You’ll notice that Japanese would never cut your queue!
7. Have a (toilet) break
I’m pretty sure there are times when you are outside (in Singapore) and you need to go to the toilet badly. But you refrain from doing so when you think about the situation you might face. *shudders*
Well… there’s no need for you to think twice when you’re in Tokyo because the public toilets are EXTREMELY clean. Most of the toilets are also equipped with bidets and some even comes with the drying function!
So there you have it – 7 things you need to do on your first trip to Tokyo! Of course, the list can be longer but I don't want to overwhelm you ? Enjoy yourselves on your trip!
Bonus Tip: If you plan to be in Tokyo during the winter season, you will be able to immerse yourself in the beautiful illuminations! What could be better than being in the cold with these views? :D