Tokyo 2013 : A Pilgrimage of Ramen, Patisseries & Depachikas! — A Sneak Preview
Hello everyone! Kindly excuse us for the long absence! Just realised that it had been 3 weeks since we last posted, only because we had been terribly busy trying to clear our work and run errands before we take a much
deserved awaited break to Tokyo! The trip was planned to take place ahead of the hanami season as it was the only time when both of us could make it! Alas thanks literally to the freak weather, the cherry blossoms bloomed much earlier in Japan this year, allowing us to enjoy their beauty, amidst other spectacular floral displays along the way. The downside is, we had to cut back on several pastry joints which we had slated to visit. Nonetheless we had a really good time in Tokyo!
This trip to Tokyo is all about pastries, ramen and depachikas! We absolutely love depachikas in Japan, so they are surely a “must go” whenever we are in Japan! J lamented that we didn’t get to try any ramen joints during our last trip so I made sure that we had enough ramen this time round for J to remember by! And 5 years ago during our first trip to Tokyo, which incidentally marks the commencement of this blog, I wasn’t much into fine pastry making then. But I do remember being much in awe with what I saw at the display windows of dessert boutiques and patisserie sales counters at depachikas. The level of artistry and presentation in trhe Japanese patisseries then was already quite impeccable and very impressive. Over the years as I grew to appreciate and get involved myself in the French art of pastry making, the desire to return to Tokyo fueled on. So after a long wait of more than 4 years, we are finally back! I will be writing and sharing about the various patisseries and ramen joints we’d visited this time round over the next couple of months or so but here’s a sneak preview of what we’d tried and sampled in Tokyo 2013!
First day in Tokyo and the skies were already cloudy and grey. After settling our luggage and a quick ramen lunch (yes we wasted no time in beginning our pilgrimage!), it was already 3 pm and the sun is starting to set. We had planned to visit Shinjuku gyoen in the afternoon to shoot some sakura but looks like we’d already facing our first hiccup of the trip. This is one of the many we’d encountered anyway! So we spent the rest of the day shopping around Shinjuku area and got back to the hotel for an early night’s rest. But not without packing back some Pierre Herme and Sadaharu Aoki of course!
We got up early the next morning and it was raining! Urgh! Second hiccup already! We got down to Shinjuku Gyoen nonetheless and ironically, the feeling of admiring the cherry blossoms in the rain was quite magical. Of course we would have very much preferred it on a fair weather day but the experience of watching raindrops beating gently against those seemingly soft and fragile petals was quite memorable.
Over the next few days, we’d visited Ueno Koen and Yoyogi Koen as well, to soak in the festivities of the hanami and despite the unpredictable weather, the Japanese seemed undeterred to make the best of what they could while the sakuras bloomed in full glory during this short span of time.
Hanami party of otokos at Ueno Park
Most that came to bloom in the parks of of a Yoshinozakura variety, 吉野染井
Snowing sakura petals in Ueno Park
Hanami picnics @ Yoyogi Koen on a weekday morning
Candid shot of some “gaijins” from the US
Trio of friends enjoying the hanami, basking in the gentle morning sun…
Apart from the sakuras, the soil is awakening to the calls of spring with floral displays of all sorts, subtly but surely…
Poppies at the outskirts of Shinjuku Gyoen… sheer beauty that reminds me of the poetry of Flanders fields…
Irises in a shinto jinja in Kichijoji
Camelias also in bloom… subtle elegance in pink…
A single dandelion we found in Yoyogi Koen… one of my favorite shots of the whole trip, incidentally. 🙂
Lunches were usually ramen while the day always ends with a depachika dinner of katsus, croquettes, as well as sashimis and sushis at slashed prices during closing. It has become almost ritualistic that we walk into a depachika for a peekaboo whenever we pass by one amidst the labyrinth of metro and JR walkthroughs and tunnels, be it Tobu, Seibu, Isetan or Takashimaya!
And here are some collages of the food we’d be writing about over the next couple of months! So bear with us while we roll out the posts!
Various ramen joints we sampled… yes we ate a lot of ramen!
Given the choices available, we only sampled two pieces from Sadaharu Aoki
Lots of Pierre Herme, the closest place we have to sample his creations outside France.
We also stopped by Laduree @ Ginza for tea. 🙂
As well as some creations by Patissier Yokota Hideo @ Mikimoto Lounge, Ginza.
Our day trip to Kichijoji, to visit Patissier Kawamura Hideki of Patisserie a tes Souhaits!
And yet another trip to Jiyugaoka to discover the origins of the Japanese Mont Blanc.
Yet another “discovery” experience at Kimuraya in Ginza… the origins of the famous “anpan”…
Last but definitely not the least, multiple trips to Patisserie Hideki Sugino to sample the amazing creations from this Japanese patissier and winner of the prestigious Coupe du Monde in Lyon more than 20 years back.
So here’s a really quick review of what we would be presenting over the next couple of months or so. Are you ready to embark on the journey with us? 🙂