Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tokyo Marathon 2017: Day 1 Part 2 - Checked into Shiba Inu AirBnb

I had forgotten about the hustle and bustle of Shibuya station or the hordes of people parked around the famous Hachiko statue or just waiting to cross the world's biggest intersection. There I was with my red hardcase luggage staring in awe at the lights and sounds of Shibuya before something at the Hachiko statue caught my eye.

Cat! OMG, you fluffy furball that instantly made me miss my cats at home. It just sat on the pedestal of the statue, nested between the dog's legs as flocks of people stopped to take pictures of it and with it.

It was almost 6pm, the time I was to check in to my Airbnb in the Tomigaya neighbourhood, a good 15 minutes walk from Shibuya crossing. To my horror, I found out that it required an uphill walk with my luggage in tow and had no choice but to power through. It was winter in Japan then but after that walk, it felt like summer.

In my hurry to get to the house, I didn't notice how the area changed from busy city life to a quiet neighbourhood street with spots of combini marts and little cafes now and then. I did much later on when I headed back to Shibuya for dinner. Thank goodness for Google Maps and my mobile wifi from Travel Recommends for without those, I would have been lost.

I found my Airbnb house, entered the little gate and knocked the door. Immediately I could hear someone calling me to come in and I did, only to be ambush for two furballs upon entering. My Airbnb has two beautiful Shiba Inus, Kanye and Baldrick both of whom were lovely companions during my stay there.

Host, Romen greeted me warmly and even helped me carry my 12kg luggage up the stairs to my room. He gave me the keys to the room and to the house with a quick rundown of the house rules before he left me to unpack and rest.

I was tempted to just stay in with the dogs but my grumbling tummy drove me back to Shibuya for some delicious Ichiran Ramen. There were two outlets in Shibuya and my previous visit included a 30 minutes wait for a place to sit. This time, I found the other outlet in an isolated alleyway and didn't have to queue at all. I was slurping on my bowl of delicious ramen in no time at all. I absolutely loved the fact that the place was made for solo diners and during my own dining experience, made no interaction with anyone. Except maybe for the fellow left handed girl beside me who kept nudging me by accident.

I proceeded to explore Shibuya a little and brought my PASMO and SUICA cards to help with getting around Tokyo. While I was aware of the Metro passes and tourist cards, the uncertainty of my itinerary left me wanting for flexibility and margin of error in case I got lost. Besides, those passes were only worth it if you intended to travel a lot from place to place and with a marathon looming, sightseeing wasn't in my plans this time.

Travel Tips:
PASMO and SUICA cards are reloaded cards that can be used to pay for subways, buses, trains and even food and drinks from vending machines and at certain shops. So cool right. PASMO works for the metro line of subways while SUICA can be used for the JR Lines and its partners which was why having both cards allowed for an easier transit and shorter travelling time to anywhere.

The coolest part though was you can customise your cards with your names. They can be reused with each top-up and are valid for 10 years from the last time of use.

If you want to know which Airbnb I stayed at, just drop me an email at tania.wee@hotmail.com.

Read my Tokyo Marathon posts:
Day 1 - Flying with ANA
Day 1 (part 2) - Checked into Shiba Inu AirBnB
Day 2 (part 1) - Things to do in Shinjuku and Odaiba

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