Mount Takao

One of our first destinations in Tokyo was Mount Takao (高尾山, Takaosan) which was about an hour’s train ride from Shinjuku. It was fun standing in the first carriage that’s just behind the driver!

At Mount Takao, there are eight trails ranging from 900m to 18.5km that will lead you up to the summit as well as a chair lift and cable railway that will bring you to the halfway mark. We decided to take the chair lifts up (it is too scary to take it down the steep slope) and cable railway down, so that we can try both. 🙂It took us about an hour to hike our way up, and boy was it a great way to exercise in the cool weather and escape from the urban area for the day! We could see the mountains through the foggy day although we were not sure if Mount Fuji was one of them. I’m sure it will be very pretty when the tree leaves change colour in the later part of autumn.

Our reward for surviving the hike with my heavy camera gear? Delicious black bean snack that looks like an angry bird!

Tips:

  • Visit Mount Takao on a weekday to avoid the crowd
  • There are many shops along the way and traditional snacks in the surrounding area so you don’t need to pack much food or drinks for the hike
  • The purple soft serve ice cream was not nice unless you like ice cream that taste like bubblegum
  • You can wash your shoes with a brush at the tap in the station
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Gyoza crazy moments in Tokyo

I would have been happy with normal gyoza, but the curious side of me ordered the different ones every time. This furry looking gyoza was delish! The use of takopachi ingredients – Japanese mayonnaise with seaweed and dried bonito flakes – brought a whole new level of yummy to the classic pan fried gyoza.

And we didn’t just stop at ramen joints to enjoy gyoza. A special trip was made to the gyoza food museum in Namco Namjatown. It was like a food place where everyone sold gyoza. You can either eat at the individual stores, or order takeaway and feast at a general eating area.

Here’s what we tried:

Mini gyoza in beer broth

Lemony gyoza

Shrimp Gyoza that are wrapped like spring rolls

A set of cheesy gyoza, cold udon and lemonade

Ah, I really miss gyoza!

Related post: A taste of Japan: Ramen

A taste of Japan: Ramen

Tokyo was a blast. None of our meals was disappointing even though we usually order by pointing at the pictures since we can’t read japanese other than the occassional characters that are similar to chinese.

I can’t tell you exactly what we tried but we went for quite a few ramen joints. Our first dinner in Tokyo was the spicy tofu ramen that was just across our hotel. We also had spicy cream based ramen that was flat like mee pok the next day for lunch, and I think the rainy day made the pipping hot noodles tasted even better. Priced between 15 to 35 SGD (750 – 2000 yen), most of them had strong flavor which can at times be too salty.

Shoyu RamenKara miso RamenCha-suCha-suCha-suOur friend in Tokyo also brought us to Santouka Ramen that was located in a discreet alley between the shopping malls in Harajuku. He mentioned that it is a popular ramen chain in Tokyo and the Japanese, especially young adults, enjoy eating ramen. There were the usual broth like shio (salt), miso (soybean) and shoyu (soy sauce) as well as kara-miso (spicy miso) and a dry ramen that you can dip into the sauce. It may not seem very special (i blame globalisation) but I don’t think it will be easy to replicate the heavenly cha-su anywhere else. The meat was so soft that it simply melted the moment we place it in our mouth and the fats turn into yummy goo that’s worth any extra cholesterol.

Wow, I just realise that they have two outlets in Singapore! Maybe I should try it soon to taste the difference. 🙂

  • 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-76, The CENTRAL, Singapore 059817
  • 21 Cuppage Road, Cuppage Terrace, Singapore 229452