After spending some time in Karuizawa and the Izu Peninsula, we were off to Tokyo for the final leg of our trip! In general, Ning and I are not particularly fond of cities — we much prefer more rugged and adventuresome destination (hence our mountain/desert trip to the Middle East later this year!). But since were we were in Japan and had to fly in and out of Tokyo, we thought we should spend a few days there. It helped that the Aman Tokyo had just opened, and I have always heard great reviews of the Aman chain and was eager to try it out.
It was a smooth journey to Tokyo — our luggage had been sent ahead of time and by now we were more familiar with the rail system in Japan. Aman Tokyo was only minutes from Tokyo Station in the Otemachi districit — which was wonderful because Tokyo Station is one of the main interchanges so we could take a direct train almost right to the doorstep of the hotel. Tokyo Station itself can be a bit confusing — with many different lines on many different levels and multiple exits. But we managed to find a map of Tokyo Station earlier and figured out the way.
We took a taxi from Tokyo Station to the hotel just to be sure, but we could easily have walked. Otemachi is part of the financial district so there were plenty of tall, gleaming buildings, wide and well-paved side walks, and it was not nearly as crowded as the shopping districts.
Aman Tokyo takes up the top floors of the Otemachi tower. The lobby is a wonderful expansive space and feels like the inside of a paper lantern.
Here’s Isaac approaching the water feature with glee — minutes later he would have created a splash to the mortification of his parents. But the hotel staff were very nice and told us it was ok, except that the water was not sterilised so perhaps we would like to wash Isaac’s hands.
And we were quite impressed by the fact that they prepared some baby bath things for us =)
We booked a suite which had views of the Tokyo Sky Tree — but in retrospect the basic room would have sufficed, and would have looked out to what we thought would have a been better view of the Imperial Gardens.
One of the best things about our trip to Japan is that everywhere we stayed, the bathrooms and showers were all made of wood or stone — so we weren’t worried about Isaac tripping (he had only began to walk for about a month) and could let him have a blast in the water.
The view out of the bath was quite lovely, especially at night when it was all lit up. In pre-Isaac days, I would have enjoyed a glass of wine while reclining in the bath, listening to good music. I think I managed it for about twenty minutes one night before Isaac started whining for me. Oh well! So for the other nights, both Isaac and I enjoyed the bath together! No wine though >.<
There was also a wonderful gym and a lovely pool from which according to the Aman website, you could see the pink glow around Mount Fuji at sunset when you rose to take a breath. Unfortunately, it was cloudy during our time there so we never caught it.
The hotel was walking distance from the Imperial Gardens. Ning ran there a couple of afternoons — and the most curious thing he cited was that there were plenty of people running there at odd times! We brought Isaac there and unsurprisingly, his chief interest was the gravel.
We also went to the Meiji Temple which was slightly crowded, but still quite lovely. There we did typical touristy things like getting the bamboo stick of fortune (I’m not sure what it’s actually called. It’s like what you can do at the Chinese temples as well, shake a little container of bamboo sticks, and then get your fortune based on the stick that comes out), bought some Japanese charms. Here’s Isaac looking suave at the temple.
These were some ceremonial mochi they were making in the temple?
The leafy path on the way in.
Barrels of sake on the path in.
On the way back, we took a walk in Harajuku which was very crowded.
There was a demonstration going on, with Godzilla joined in. I think they were protesting against nuclear power, among other things (like TPP).
Apart from these two day trips, we didn’t venture out too much, mostly because the room was too comfortable! We also had convenience stores right below our hotel, great for yummy bentos.
Ning and I concluded that one of the best parts of the entire trip was really the food. And it wasn’t even just the kaiseki dinners and food at expensive restaurants — even a simple bento from the train station or convenience store was delicious. Our stay in Aman also came with these beautiful, healthy, breakfast with colourful juices and fresh fruits, served in the room.
Ning and I have had the privilege of staying in really beautiful hotels — but Aman Tokyo is one of those places I can imagine living in. On our last day we splurged on lunch at the Aman restaurant. Here’s Isaac being surprisingly well-behaved.
Goodbye to the view!
Because we have such great experience with the train — we decided to take the Narita Express back to the airport, while juggling with our full suite of luggage. But we were well-prepared and made it!
We enjoyed a bit of the ANA lounge where Isaac had a grumpy shower. Here’s the sake bar at the lounge.
Overall, we really had a wonderful trip! Most excitingly, Aman will be opening a new hotel in Japan next year — Isaac’s second birthday trip!