This was January.

January came and went in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Here are some of the things I did and places I visited. You may find a piece of travel inspiration or two from this list.

1. All-you-can-eat sweets at Sunshine City Prince Hotel

 All-you-can-eat sweets at Sunshine Prince Hotel

At JPY 3000/person, this was pure bliss. The buffet includes a wide array of sweets as well as savory dishes including sandwiches, pasta, and curry. Reservations can be made according to time slot and seasonal versions of the buffet are also available at varying prices.

Cafe and Dining Chef’s Palette
Sunshine City Prince Hotel, Ikebukuro
Reservations required
Adult price starts at JPY 3,000

2. Sky Circus

Miho, Sky Circus

Sky Circus turns your average observation deck into a sensory experience. The target market appears to be kids, but different age groups would find it entertaining. VR games are available, as well as trick mirrors and peek-through holes that are actually kaleidoscopes.

Sky Circus
Sunshine 60 Observation Deck, Ikebukuro
10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Adult admission fee starts at JPY 1,200.

3. Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba

Mizhelle and Mihyun at Oedo Onsen Monogatari

My initial impression of Oedo Onsen Monogatari before visiting is that it’s a touristy version of a Japanese hot spring, which I found out later to be true in some ways, but overall, it’s a pleasant place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

It has different types of indoor and outdoor baths as well as two types of saunas. The mist sauna was so relaxing, I almost fell asleep. There are many options for food and arcade games are also available indoors, which successfully create a festive, I-don’t-have-to-worry-about-work-today mood.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Odaiba
11 a.m. to 9 a.m. of the following day
Adult price starts at JPY 2,720

4. Tsukishima Monja Street

Cheese Mentai Monjayaki. Tsukishima Monja Street.

Monjayaki is Tokyo’s version of the Kansai favorite, “okonomiyaki.” In Tsukushima, a whole street is named after the local delicacy, and the numerous monjayaki shops along it live up to its name. Personally, however, I found monjayaki to be less appealing than its popular cousin. Not bad, but I don’t think I’d crave one anytime soon.

Tsukishima Monja Street
Tsukishima
Monjayaki prices range from JPY 800 to 2000.

5. Kachidoki Bridge

Kachidoki Bridge

There’a nothing much to do here, except marvel at the bridge’s beauty. I’m not sure if it’s because I fancy bridges, but I found this place to be rather beautiful. Anyone who likes taking photos would probably find a lot of inspiration in this place.

Kachidoki Bridge
Kachidoki

6. Harumi Wharf

Mizhelle at Harumi Wharf

This place is a photographer’s playground! It’s full of interesting objets with shapes, colors, and patterns that catch the eye.

Sometimes I wish I were a location scout. I can imagine a dramatic scene playing out in the area. I think it’d make a good setting for a music video, too.

Harumi Wharf
Harumi
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No admission fees

7. All-you-can-eat Chinese food in Yokohama

Unfortunate dumpling. Yokohama Chinatown

All-you-can-eat seems to be a recurring theme in January, and I got my fill of dumplings and other Chinese dishes when I visited Chinatown. The area thrives with restaurants offering similar all-you-can-eat Chinese cuisine, although my Chinese friends say that the food in this area caters to Japanese tastes and lack authenticity.

Yokohama Chinatown
Buffet prices start at JPY 2,000

8. Burlesque Tokyo

Burlesque Tokyo

Believe it or not, this was for work. The dance performances ranged from your typical cutesy idol moves to amazing stunts. There’s also a portion where you get to slip fake money as tip and the girls will have you slip bills in their underwear. They were wearing double so you won’t have to worry about being randomly flashed privates. Although arguably some would prefer that.

Burlesque Tokyo
Roppongi
6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. of the following day
Package plans start at JPY 7,600 on VELTRA

9. All-you-can-eat sweets at Bittersweets Buffet

Marshmallows. Bitersweets Buffet.

At 2,000 yen, this buffet offers both sweet and savory dishes. While the interior looks lovely, the food pales in comparison. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, you might like Bittersweets Buffet. Me, however, I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.

Bittersweets Buffet
LUMINE EST, Shinjuku
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lunch buffet starts at JPY 2,112

10. Mt Hodo’s Wintersweet Festival

Winter sweet at Hodosan/ Mt. Hodo

I’m glad that managed to put in a short hike on the first month of the year!

Wintersweet are fragrant yellow buds that bloom from as early as the 1st week of Jan to early February. They’re not as eye-catching as say, cherry of plum blossoms, but they’re more than a welcome sight (and scent) in winter.

Mt. Hodo
Nagatoro, Saitama

And that was my January. How was yours? I hope you’ve been having a good year so far. If not, every new day is a chance to turn it around.

And to all TP3 readers, thank you for a lovely 2018. Please keep supporting Tokyo Past 3 this year, too!

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