Perhaps one of the newest and most sought-after tourist spots in Tokyo is the Sky Tree. This tower stands taller than the Tokyo tower. That being said, most visitors go here to see the entire view of the metropolis and other sights like the Mt. Fuji. A word of advice though, you have to expect a long queue before going up the tower especially for walk-in guests. Some people reserve their tickets ahead and they probably don’t need to line for a long time to enjoy the view of Tokyo. Also, the tickets are a bit pricey so instead of going up, we just opted to look around the shops to buy souvenirs and to do a bit of window shopping.
When buying here, tourists can apply for a tax refund as long as they have bought goods for a total of 5,000 Yen. Stores will provide you with a tax refund form and you have to keep all your receipts when applying for this; you also need to present your passport in the tax refund office. You can always ask the friendly staff in the shops for the location of the said office.
In most Japanese food stores, free taste is offered. In this store below, I tried almost ALL of the stuff here. Be careful of their wasabi coated nuts though!
|Different flavored nuts|
In the Filipino culture, most people who travel somewhere are usually expected to bring home souvenirs (pasalubong) for the families and friends; however, I do not recommend you to do your “pasalubong” shopping here as the goods sold here are not quite affordable especially if you have a tight budget. Although, you can buy some things here for your very special loved ones if you want.
|Pokemon store (How nostalgic!)|
|Try their premium matcha ice cream|
|Other matcha goods|
Because we were trying to be as productive as we can for the day, we did not stay long here. Our next stop was the famous Akihabara. The haven of lovers of anime, electronic goods, fashion and probably any other pop culture known in Japan.
In Akihabara, you have to expect the unexpected. You’ll see a lot of people wearing different fashion styles that are out of the norm in Japan. You’ll see buildings dedicated to one product. We entered a building which was mainly a store that sells mangas.
|The store for camera afficionados|
|Star Wars toy collection in a KyotoAni store|
Our main objective in Akihabara was to go to a maid cafe. To be honest, I felt both excited and embarrassed to go there. I was curious enough to go there but I was not ready to experience what they offer in this place. Pictures and videos are not allowed inside the cafe so I’ll just try my best to describe the whole situation.
Since it was Halloween time, the maids were wearing their Halloween costumes. Their menu isn’t really that special but I think people do not go there to eat or drink. They most definitely go here to be entertained. Well, in our case, we were really entertained. There aren’t any performances but the service they provide was totally out of the ordinary. You’ll be given a card that you can use in the other branches of the maid cafe. Also, you can have your picture taken with your favorite maid. However, since it was our first time to go there, we do not have our “favorite” maid. Instead, they provided us with a catalog of their maids and we just have to choose who we “like”.
|My souvenir from the Maid cafe!|
Guests are allowed to stay in the cafe for an hour only to accommodate the other customers waiting in line outside the cafe. I must say, I do now understand why this kind of business is booming in Japan. Frankly speaking though, once is enough for me.