Tokyo Part 9: Is Yanesan the Tiong Bahru of Tokyo?

Unlike our previous trips to Tokyo which centred around shopping malls and tourist sights, we managed to see more of where real Tokyo folks live on this trip. We ventured to Yanesen which, to me, is kinda like our gentrified hipster magnet, Tiong Bahru.

The name Yanesen is made up of the first syllable of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. A historical district with many traditional structures from the Edo period, which survived the wars, it is filled with small shrines and neighbourhood, alongside hipster cafes and artisanal stores that sprouted up to cater to tourists. Kinda like our Tiong Bahru, right?

How to get there:

JR (Yamanote Line): Nippori Station. Exit the North Gate, West Exit (for Yanaka). 12min

Subway(chiyoda Line): Sendagi Station. Exit the No.2 Exit. 5 min.

No fancy malls here. Instead, we strolled past many such little shops, where locals park their bikes and pop in to buy… some ocha or ramen or whatever.

Bunches of flowers to pretty up the dining table.

The side lanes lead to residential homes.

This funky looking cafe was pretty popular with the tourists. Meanwhile, I’ve found 2 cat mascot statues to camwhore with. Meow!

I discovered the best shop ever! Almost 20 years ago, on my first trip to Tokyo, I went shopping in a vintage kimono store with the girlfriend of an *NSYNC member (true story) and I bought a long kimono coat which I wore for my Registry of Marriage (ROM) ceremony. So, nostalgia nudged me to walk into Kyoei, which sells new and vintage kimonos.

Wasn’t planning to buy anything but this simple black silk short coat caught my eye. Tried it on without checking the price. You won’t BELIEVE what I paid. Go on, make a guess.

I wore it to Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel for a fancy lunch. Of course, we had to have an impromptu photo shoot.

A subtle fan design on the back. I love that it’s not too OTT and goes with almost everything I own.

You’ll never guess. 600 yen. That’s S$7.35. It’s cheaper than the cotton candy we bought our son. Not kidding. I didn’t even realize it was that cheap till I paid for it! (Because the other pieces I tried on were about 2000 yen, which was still a steal.) Seriously, Best Buy ever!

Anyways, I digressed. Let’s check out the rest of Yanesen.

The Japanese lurrrve their Neko (cat) and we found this neko-themed dessert store.

Refreshing shaved ice dessert cos it was a crazy hot day.

Along the same stretch are supermarkets where the locals were buying groceries for the day.

You won’t miss this store, which sells a huge variety of croquette and other fried snacks. Kinda like our Old Chang Kee, ha. No pics allowed (cos business is too good and they want to keep the line moving). The 30 yen croquette is cheap but tastes kinda meh. Save your yen and calories for the other options.

It was so hot, we needed to stop for another drink/dessert. We walked into Enmei cafe because my son had a mini melt-down (literally) right outside it. Didn’t even check the menu. Luckily, it turned out to be a great choice, drinks and instagram-worthy wise!

My milk ice over coffee jelly, surrounded by a fortress of tiny wooden houses. Why are the Japanese so cute?!

And because my hubby husband is always the one behind the camera, this was a good chance to take some nice pics of him, for a change. Don’t waste the nice backdrop.

He may be the Photog in the family, but these photos are pretty good too, if I may say so myself! 😂

COMING NEXT:

Tokyo Part 10: Dining under the train tracks at Ueno

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