One meal in Tokyo?
In a month I am headed to Asia and on my way back to Los Angeles, I will have a brief layover in Tokyo that should allow me to get into the city.
My flight from Saigon gets in at 7am and my flight to LA is not until 4pm. I was hoping to head to the Tsukiji market, but unfortunately I will be there on a Sunday.
Sushi? Ramen? Izakaya? I'm open to any or all. I'd rather not spend a fortune getting in and out of the city, but pricewise for the meal I'm open to all ends of the spectrum.
I've been thinking about this one... So the Narita Express is 58 minutes from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station and costs about $30 one way. It would be another few minutes to Shinagawa, maybe another 18 minutes to Shibuya, and another 7 minutes to Shinjuku and a bit longer to get to Ikebukuro. These are all major transit hubs with many places to eat close by. That time of day on a Sunday though, is not so great. Izakaya are for evening time and many ramen and sushi places will not be open. BUT, going into the city would be a real Chowhound thing to do and if your luggage is manageable, why not? You might want to consider some place like the Marunouchi Building (Maru Biru) in front of Tokyo Station or another similar type of place. At the Maru Biru, there are several floors of decent restaurants of every variety. The sushi place there is pretty good and there is a good tempura place as well. I don't think they open until 11am though. Unfortunately, those hours in central Tokyo early morning on a Sunday is tough for entertainment options. One adventurous idea would be to head to the city and make for a branch of Ichiran ramen, or one of the other 24 hour shops, slurp down an early bowl around 9:00am and then make for Maru Biru. Or, you can take the train into Shibuya and walk around till 10:00 am when the Tokyu Food Show (the department store food floor) opens up. Anyway, things are doable, but you should be on the return train to Narita by 1pm. A lot will come down to your comfort level dealing with the Japanese trains and streets- especially after a red eye from 'Nam. If you can swing it, it would be a real Chowhound trophy story- especially if you eat well.
Interesting...I had been thinking it wasn't really doable, but Silverjay makes a good case, especially if one just stays in the Marunouchi/Ginza area. There are NEX trains leaving Narita at 7:42, 8:10, and 8:52, arriving in Tokyo station at 9:04, 9:29 and 9:55 respectively. Returning, the 13:03 from Tokyo arrives back at Narita at 13:57, so you'll be just a little shy of the two-hour buffer zone for a 4pm flight. (The train before that is at 12:03 from Tokyo.)
So with a bento breakfast on the train, or a a quick bowl of morning ramen while waiting for the next NEX, you'd have time to experience a department store food floor down in Ginza, and then eat lunch somewhere in Marunouchi or Tokyo Station itself. Most restaurants start serving lunch at 11am, some at 11:30. There are some very nice restaurants on the top floors of the Maru Biru that are easy to find and worth the trip into town, and they're relatively inexpensive at lunchtime compared to dinner.
re: Robb S
Actually Silverjay wrote very detailed possible scenario. I agree with him. I kinda want to hear your trophy story:) I checked Narita Express time table,
and if the custom goes smoothly, you can take 8:11 train. You will get to Tokyo station before 10:00AM this case. As Silverjay mentioned, Maru Biru is the good place check out.
Also Daimaru Tokyo department has good obento sellection to take out.
If you can go to Shinjuku. You should definitely go to Isetan.
They have great food court now, and will be able to find great souvenir to bring back.
Well, it takes more than 2 hours to Tokyo from Narita. I don't think there is enough time to enjoy the city. How about staying around Narita city? I think there is some good places to eat. And actually there are some good restaurants at the airport. I forgot the name, but there is a good soba place there. I tried some sushi restaurants before, and they were not bad at all!
If he takes the Narita Express around 8, he'll be at either Tokyo Station/Shinjuku Station by 10. A big lunch and maybe one sight puts him at 1pm, back on the train by 3. To be on the safe side, I'd skip the sightseeing and just eat lunch.
That said, it's probably not worth all the traveling just for a lunch in Tokyo, stay around Narita and you'll be much more relaxed.