Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tokyo Tower + Le Pain Quotidien

Zojo-ji + Tokyo Tower

Sometimes it's easy to forget I live in Japan, but every so often I feel the urge to explore my surroundings, and from it I get the kind of ecstasy I occasionally crave and that only comes with traveling and living abroad. I tend to hide my nerdy tendencies from most of my friends, but once in a while it comes out to the surface and I shamelessly play tourist for the day.

I decided to venture a bit away on the Yamanote line, which is my favourite train line. The Yamanote line goes around Tokyo on a loop, and offers the best scenery. I got off at Hamamatsucho station and visited the gorgeous Shiba Park and Zojo-ji temple. I love finding green spaces and temples in the midst of the city, and the park offers a magnificent view of Tokyo Tower, which I had never seen up that close.

I spent a late afternoon in a wonderful café named Le Pain Quotidien, which hails from Belgium and serves the most exquisite organic foods. Their specialty is tartines, bread topped with a spread. I ate the tuna and white bean tartine, which came with an aromatic basil pesto and accompanied it with a bowl of café au lait, French style.

The café itself is warm and cozy, with huge windows overlooking the garden and long wooden tables. I usually feel self-conscious going to cafés alone, but LPQ is the kind of place where it's encouraged to share the communal table with strangers. They also had the loveliest, friendliest staff, and the unpretentious atmosphere makes it so warm and welcoming. It's my new favourite spot in Tokyo, and although it's a bit of a trek from Shibuya, I'll be going back frequently.

When I emerged it was dusk, and I caught a glimpse of the lit up Tokyo Tower. Moments like that make me so happy and excited to live in Japan and feel like a visitor, and I love getting high on the thrill it provides me.

Setting out on a spring day adventure

Gate leading to Shiba Park

Entrance of Shiba Park and Zojo-ji

Maybe soon it will be in bloom

Bowl of café au lait

Tartine et café

Writing, reading, coffee... pure bliss

Communal table at LPQ

Tokyo Tower at dusk


Anonymous said...

I think the there's a LPQ near my new job. That spells trouble for me.

My wanderlust for Japan is reaching an all-time high right now, I just don't know when I can make it happen. Living vicariously through you, as usual :-)

The Only Blonde in Osaka said...

Your blog is wonderful, it makes me nostalgic for Tokyo and excited for my remaining adventures in Osaka. I seriously just spent a good two hours reading your posts... you are a brilliant writer!

Tago Fabic said...

Oh wow!

The cafe sounds really nice! We focused on Japanese food when we were there a couple of weeks ago, maybe on the next visit. :D Beautiful blog! Makes me want to go back to Japan!

- TagoFabic