2019 Year End Trip Day 13

Local Time: 01/01/2020 New Years Day!

Happy New Year!!! Today was New Years Day! Today we head back to Tokyo and leave our beloved Ito. Tokyo will be our final destination before we head back to Seattle, so our Asian adventure is quickly coming to an end.

During breakfast this morning, our Japanese host surprised us with a New Years gift. Our host said that it is Japanese tradition to give out these little envelopes on New Year’s Day for a wonderful new year. It is very similar to the Chinese New Year Red envolopes.

After breakfast, we packed up and said good bye to our cabin and headed back toward Tokyo.

Along the way, we stop by Mega Donki again to do some final shopping. Shopping was great but not my thing but out side of the store they are making traditional Japanese New Year sticky cake, while playing the Donki song (https://youtu.be/Ba_VeSmxiAY). Oh my god the song is an ear worm. I just can’t get that song out of my head for days…. “Don Don Don DonKi…”

Anyways, they offer to let guest, to help hammer out the rice into sticky rice. It was a lot of fun, almost like splitting firewoods.

Afterward, we get to try our reward! Yum!!!

On our way back to Tokyo, we also stopped at another onsen on the way. Our friend how’s this local onsen and it was a great way for a pit stop before returning to Tokyo.

The location was very popular, so I did not have any pictures of the pools. However, it was very clean and there were two outdoor pool and one indoor pool with natural hot spring waters. After 1.5 hours of onsen soak, I was total clean and refreshed. Of course, I had to top it off with a bottle of coffee milk! Yum!!!

Our adventure home continues after the our New Year’s Day onsen experience. Since we ran into traffic on our way back in to Tokyo, our Japanese driver decided to take a scenic route to bypass the congested area.

We took this small beautiful bamboo path, and then we found this AWESOME self serving orange stand!!! ! Bag for 200 Yen (approx $2 US)!!!

And check out the way they collect the money!!! It took us a while to find it, but it was just a long pipe! Just drop the coins in. So cool and such a great find. Oh and the oranges are sweet and fresh!!!

After few more hours of driving, we finally got to Tokyo. So for our final two night in Tokyo, we are staying at the Marriott in Shinagawa.

Right after checking, The first thing we did was to check out the executive lounge. The executive lounge was not nearly as great as the Westin Lounge in Shanghai, but it was still pretty good. It has a great view, you can even see the Tokyo rainbow bridge, however, it was pretty crowded during happy hour time and as far as food wise, it was ok. Closer to the US lounge style foods.

The lounge happy hour was not the main even for your New Year’s Day evening. The main event was the amazing dinner at a secret Japanese restaurant hidden in the neighborhood street of Shinagawa. Our Chinese Japanese couple that took us there says that this restaurant could easily be a multi Michelin star restaurant, however, the chef doesn’t want the popularity. The restaurant was ran by a Japanese couple, one is the chef and the other manages the customer and the restaurant. This particular restaurant is by reservation only and there was no menu, every day the chef see the reservation and buys the ingredients that morning for the difference customers. He keeps track of all his customers so he will be aware of allergies and the customer will never receive the same course twice. Because he didn’t really want any publicity, photography was not allowed, however, they gave us special exceptions to take pictures only when there were no one else in the restaurant. When we first got to the restaurant, we were the only ones there, which was just simply amazing.

It ended up being around 9 to 10 different course of food. Each one was just extremely delicate and tasty. I spend more time enjoying the meal and the company than taking pictures, so only few course are shown below.

After a fantastic dinner, we were the first and last customers there, so the chef came out and talked to us. He was a very nice man who only spoke a little bit of English, but we were able to show some of our appreciation of his wonderful meal.

And that concluded our first day in 2020. Happy New Year Everyone!!!