Japan – Conrad Tokyo and Ginza

Today I wanted to share with you all the first part of our Japan trip – Tokyo!

For other parts of this series, please see below.

Japan – Conrad Tokyo and Ginza
Japan – Sumo and Takazawa
Japan- Shiraume Ryokan
Japan – Arashiyama and Kinana Ice Cream
Japan – Park Hyatt Tokyo 

This was my third time in Japan and I was very happy to return. We flew in on United which is nothing exciting but they did have one of the best menus I’ve ever seen on a U.S. based carrier – I got the Washoku Zen selection and it came with a full bottle of hot sake as well. I typically don’t drink on flights (like to stay hydrated) but the sake put me right to sleep.

All my photos turned out pretty bad because it was dark, but here is an appetizer that was served – a tuna tartare that was actually really delicious. Good job United!

The flight was really smooth and Narita is only about ~11 hours from SFO. For those of you who haven’t flown into it before, Narita is Tokyo’s main airport and very nice, with the exception that it is about an hour’s drive away from Tokyo (and that’s without traffic). If you were to get a cab to go into Tokyo, it would be around $300, and car service is even more. Those figures are horrific to my little cheap ears and every time I go to Japan, I take the “Friendly Limousine Bus” which I’d describe as 99% bus, 1% limousine and that drops you off at most major hotels.

The bus is still $35 per person each way but it’s a pretty big savings from a cab. Anyway, we were on the bus for about an hour and then it dropped us off at our hotel – the Conrad Tokyo. I had never stayed in a Conrad before but thought this would be a great location to try (and I remembered that it was Frida Giannini’s favorite hotel from this article here).

Anyway, the Conrad didn’t disappoint and I’d recommend it. Some photos of our suite, which was huge especially by Japanese standards.

The bathroom which had a standalone tub and shower (that came with rubber duckies to take home!)

The view from our window – the Conrad like many Tokyo hotels is at the top of a high rise so all of the rooms are on the 30th floor or above.

Also one of my favorite details about the Conrad – these little bear keychains that appeared on our pillow each night. There were four colors and I collected them all. The housekeeping noticed that I liked them and even gave me some backup colors. Really I think these are the greatest idea for free advertising and goodwill because I pinned them to my bags and all around Japan people were picking them up and admiring them while noticing the Conrad ribbon. Their arms and legs moved too.

Now moving onto some food…I was really sick the first day unfortunately and thus decided to get some miso soup, which was delicious because it came with all these little clams on the bottom. This was all I could eat the first day. I was so mad because I was wasting precious meal opportunities, and in Japan of all places!

The next day I felt better and so I dragged my husband over to have some katsu. I love katsu but my husband wasn’t so into it as he’s only had it in the United States  – “But you’ll loooveee the katsu in Japan, it’s REAL katsu and it was fried in heaven!!”  I kept insisting. My husband refused to relent and ended up ordering some other random dish while I happily dug into my yummy pork. After a while my husband tried a few bites of mine and immediately started complaining. “I’ve been robbed!” he scowled, which is what he always does when my dish ends up better than his. The rest of the our trip he couldn’t stop talking about katsu and we had it two more times.

After katsu, we took the afternoon to walk around Ginza, a very upscale shopping area. I pretty much failed at taking any pictures of the actual scenery except for this one random one of a cat sitting upon a street sign.

Clearly it’s a common phenomenon for Asian females to be fascinated by cats trapped in cute if perhaps slightly precarious situations, because after a few seconds there were TONS of girls all standing around, photographing this cat! They were all cooing in Japanese, making mew sounds and saying “Kawaii! “ (cute)  “Kawaii!” over and over again.

After I had my share of the cat excitement, I went and got my husband who had escaped to a local DoCoMo store to hide from the cooing throng. We went into a nearby department store and went down to the food hall – the basement level which had a seemingly endless choice of vendors all serving yummy food. I was very interested in this Hello Kitty bento –

But decided that I wouldn’t fall prey to cute packaging only (well this time at least) and was craving something sweeter anyway. We ended up getting some chocolate and matcha covered belgian waffles from this stand:

It all looks so good, right? After that I also got some macarons to go – pistachio, passionfruit caramel and mango yogurt flavors. I love how detailed and thoughtful most Japanese packaging is – all my macarons during the trip came with hand sanitizers and some came with these nice “ice” packs that kept them nice and cool.

I realized that I didn’t buy any fashion while in Japan – just mainly lots of food! A lot of the styles were really expensive – way more than in the US. I did however make a stop by Hermes Tokyo just to poke around and the shop was really lovely. I also had to stop for this picture – I still have no idea what’s going on in it but there’s a lady in lipstick with a Bolide as an earring, and teacups and saucers as eyeballs and really, that’s good enough for me.

That’s it for my first Japan entry – the next one will be on Tokyo as well, and one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. Can’t wait to share with you all!

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44 thoughts on “Japan – Conrad Tokyo and Ginza”

  1. This all sounds amazing! I adore the little keychains, it’s little touches like this that make you remember a place. I really really want to go to Japan. I have a Japanese penfriend I’ve been writing to for 25 years!!! She came to our wedding, it was so wonderful to meet her.

  2. This all sounds amazing! I adore the little keychains, it’s little touches like this that make you remember a place. I really really want to go to Japan. I have a Japanese penfriend I’ve been writing to for 25 years!!! She came to our wedding, it was so wonderful to meet her.
    Have a fab weekend Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  3. Conrad have some great hotels, this one looks nice. I’d probably stay there just for the bears! Haha!

    The thoughtful packaging with hand sanitizers and ice packs is very common here in korea too. Think it’s an East Asian kind of thing. I know they’re very cautious about hygiene here and theres always things telling you to wash your hand because of bird flu. I was just in Hong Kong and it was similar there too.

    Looks like you’ve had a great trip, I love Tokyo! Looking forward to seeing more of your snaps :)

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING xxx

    Come say hey at Ducklingtoswan.com! :)

  4. ok, i LOVE the cat picture – looks like my rosie!

    FH and i are thinking that japan is our next big trip after our honeymoon… and i’m fairly sure that these pics are going to confirm it. looking forward to reading/see more of your trip!

  5. ohhh lucky i have been dying to stay at the conrad in tokyo!!

    yummm was this katsu at ginza bairin?? because their katsu is PHENOMENAL!!!

    that hello kitty bento is too cute.. but it’s probably a good thing you passed on it because the contents seem a bit expensive for $11 bucks hahaha. can’t wait to see more of your trip!!! :)

  6. Awww, looks like you had a great time. I’m still so jealous! But wow your hotel room looks amazing! The hotel I was going to stay at were the cheapest I could find that had good ratings, but it was still so small that the bathroom looked like an airplane bathroom -.-” Could you please share how much were your hotel room rate? Thanks! Looking forward to your next post.

    – Jessica

    1. Hello! I think it was around ~ $450 or so with taxes…but they do have promos from time to time too.. it’s more cause of the bad US exchange rate :(

  7. I love the pictures of the cat. To stop and take pictures would so be me and my daughter, we are both cat fans and look for them everywhere. Thanks for this post!

  8. I lived near that waffle place when I worked in tokyo for a month. It was quite sad because we only passed it open once, due to crazy hours. I barely got to sightsee — need to go back.

    I love the katsu there! I went to some famous place by omesanto hills. They had little sandwiches too.

    It’s so nice of room service to give you extra bears (really, how much does it cost to them)! They are adorable!

  9. I love love love this recap of Japan :) How thoughtful to put those bears as collectables :) Great advertising too! I miss Japan so much and looking at those katsu and bentos and food pics are going to make me drool! Hopefully you got to try gyozas, takoyakis, okonomiyakis ok ok I have to stop now! hahah
    Looks like great fun!

  10. Thanks for sharing your photos and details of your trip. I had MAJOR jetlag after our flight to Tokyo. I was sick for days…it was terrible! We stayed at the Hyatt in Roppongi Hills. It was years ago so maybe its showing its wear these days. Another reason is that we went on to Hakone, and then Kyoto and because we were Gold Passport Members we receieved so many free nights, it was great! The Hyatt in Hakone was gorgeous, the their Onsen was great too. Can’t wait to go back!!

    1. Tonya thank you for your thoughts! I have heard that the Hyatt in Roppongi is really nice, I want to stay there next time – we were at the Park Hyatt later on in the trip. I also heart the Hyatt Hakone is one of the best hotels in Japan!

  11. Ahhhhhh! Japanese bakeries = the best. Only a Japanese hotel would give you adorable collectible bear key chains.
    Oh also, the bullet train that goes to airport now (and there is another, even faster one coming in a couple of years) I think was about the same as the bus, but probably cheaper and faster because you don’t have to deal with traffic.

  12. These pictures bring back memories of Japan. I remember the Limo ride to the base. I loved Japan. I want to go back so bad. I lived there for 4 years. Those were the days.

  13. Your trip looks so much fun!!! I love the cat haha it looks like it doesnt have a tail =0 I hope you get a chance to try out some of Japan’s fresh fruit desserts there suppose to be works of delicious art =)

  14. this post is great! i grew up going to japan many times a year but haven’t been in the years working, post-college. my parents stay at the conrad all the time, they go to tokyo about once a month for business. the boyfriend and i are finally going this summer, flying united (but out of lax) and staying at the conrad! i already have dozens of the little bears from the parentals but will definitely be collecting more on my trip.

    looking forward to all your posts on japan.

    1. You are so lucky! And the Conrad told me that they switch bears every season so maybe you will get some brand new ones and I will be jealous, LOL. My husband was rolling his eyes at his crazy I was over the bears!

  15. Whoa! Looks like you are having so much fun in Japan! Thanks for sharing about the Hermes Bolide bag. I actually like it. Like you said, at least it does not get too much attention like the Birkin =) I actually like the size though..

  16. It looks like you had an amazing time and all that food looks so delicious! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, it looks great

    xo Gillie

  17. Katsu! It’s so great. There’s a katsu-only place here in New York that I love hitting up for lunch, and the plates that they serve up look exactly like your picture down to the salad and the grate.

  18. I’d love to go back to Japan one day. My main priority would be to gorge on the incredible food. I look after friends’ kids every now and then. They always ask for chicken katsu whenever they stay for dinner. I bet the ones in Japan are far better than my shortcut version.

  19. Yes I heart Japan!! It is nice you guys made it to Japan together and it is such a darling time to visit Japan! The United’s food looks great!
    When I was in Japan, I didn’t buy any Fashion items neither. There sizes are weird on me, either sleeves are too short, or the cut is a little more rounded..
    What not to love these yummy and good looking Japanese food?

    One thing that we enjoyed the most is their hot spring. We went to a few hot springs in summer and it was very memorable. and yes, back to great food again! :)
    Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Don’t laugh but I had major bear envy and searched online hoping I could find the Conrad bears on eBay. No such luck. I’ll just have to make sure I stay at this hotel when I visit Japan.

    The last picture looks like a play on Mrs. Potato head. :D

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