To round out the Japan blog series in no particular order I would like to review a few items we found to be “uniquely Japan.”
Welcome to the future.
Our last night in Kyoto we stayed in a capsule hotel because I wanted to experience this quirky type of accommodation. The one we stayed in was quite nice with individual lockers and clean shower facilities, it was also BY FAR the most affordable place we stayed in our entire trip at $38/person per night. There were two parts of our stay that did not make it the most comfortable however:
- there was no a/c option so you were at the mercy of whomever had control of the building temperature (we both found it to be a bit too warm).
- The one we stayed in was basically a glorified hostel dorm set-up, so people coming in and being loud in the middle of the night might wake you up…or they may wake you up in the morning like the person in the capsule next to me who had their phone alarm go off at 5:00am continuously for the next hour and either slept through it or was not there to turn it off.
Needless to say, it was not the best sleep we ever got. I think there might be more sophisticated options we would explore in the future if we ever get the urge to try it again (a/c control being a mandatory requirement).
Conveyor Belt Sushi
Also known as the “sushi-go-round,” conveyor belt sushi was one of my favorite restaurant experiences in Japan because it was both delicious and affordable. You basically just watch the sushi go by and grab any and all plates you want to eat. David had at least two in his possession at any given time. In our case there were three types of plates: the cheap sushi with no wassabi, the cheap sushi with wassabi, and the expensive sushi. After you are done they count up the number of cheap/expensive plates you have and charge you accordingly. In short, it was amazing.
Of course, no trip to Japan is complete without eating some ramen. We tried a few different restaurants, but one type that we thought was particularly unique was the “vending machine style” ramen. You wait in line to approach these vending machines that dispense tickets for the different ramen options and other add-ons. Once you have your tickets you wait in line for a seat at a bar like this which has a small window that opens up. The person on the other side collects your tickets and brings you food accordingly and you can continue to buy more at this point if you are still hungry. There were a bunch of rows set-up like this in the restaurant and the place was absolutely packed (~45 minute wait). It was really good ramen though!
While filled with all assortments of electronic stores, Akihabara has also become an anime/manga fanatics paradise. This was David’s swan song of sorts for Japan as we literally visited the morning before our flight back to China. We had plenty of fun procuring various nerd collectibles as well as literally trying our hand at catching some pikachu in an arcade. Overall, it was definitely worth a visit.
We spent the rest of the time in the arcade watching Japanese people go to town on all the games. We were intimidated to say the least…