Japan Travels · Uncategorized

Autumn in my heart Feat. Tokyo Skytree

Japan may be popular with cherry blossoms but autumn seems to be a pretty season for trees, too. There are a lot of different other colors but my girl friends and I decided to visit Meiji jingu Gaen popular for their yellow ginko trees in November.

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Photo not mine / CCTO
That photo is the perfect photo of the place. Of course. But, you should know upfront: there’s so much people at that spot.

My friends and I went there November 20th, which they say is the best bloom of the trees yet not everything was yellow. TIP: Visit the place late November to early December.

Any how, we still enjoyed the view and managed to take a lot of good photos.

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Meijing Jingu Goen is located at Shinjuku, Tokyo.Nearest station is Aoyama-ichyome. From there, it’s a 5 minute walk to the Garden.

From Aoyama-chiyome, Skytree is only 5 stops away (Oshiage Station) so we decided to pay a visit and eat dinner there.

Skytree is the tallest structure now in the Japan with 634.0 meters. It opened March 2011. TRIVIA: The first few years I visit Japan (I come every year for 6 years before decided to stay), Tokyo Tower was still the biggest structure here. I was here when Tokyo Skytree was built and open.

Anyway, The structure is a telecommunication tower. The usual color differs on the season. When we went there, of course, it was colored red, blue and yellow–the autumn colors.

Tokyo Solamachi is the mall around Skytree. There are a lot of things to do and to eat with inside.There are also illumination at the viewing deck because Christmas is coming! Usually they have an ice skating rink outside every Christmas season too but I didn’t see it this year. Or, maybe, I didn’t noticed it.

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Tokyo is such a beautiful place and I, for one, is still and always will be in love with this city!

Japan Travels · Uncategorized

The Lock up Tokyo // JP Travels

Although Japan doesn’t celebrate Halloween with deeper meaning like other countries (they don’t honor the deceased nor have a pagan history), Halloween is still a big thing for this country. And as Japan being Japan, you know how grand the parties will be. One of the most famous is the wild Shibuya Crossing Street party. 

My girl friends and I planned to go there unfortunately, it didn’t push through because of some reasons. So, we just decided to go to a theme cafe in Tokyo few days after Halloween. Its name itself is intriguing, The lock up Tokyo – a prison themed restaurant.

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This photo is not mine. CCTO
Reservation

We looked online for reservation for the place, which is a thing in Japan to do. We came a cross on this website and it said the reservation fee is 1,000Yen (450php / 6$) per person! Can you imagine? We were 4 so we will cost around 4,000Yen (1,800php / 27$)! We decided to call them only to find out, the reservation is FREE. Yes, it’s FREE.

We realized the website we saw is a tourist trap. Please, never sign up for any website other than the official one and PLEASE call them no matter how you can’t speak Japanese. If you can’t call just walk in.

EXTRA TIP: Reservation in Japanese is “Yuyakushimasu”. Just say that and tell them how many you are and what time will be fine.

Location

The restaurant is situated in Shibuya, Tokyo. I think it’s around 5 minutes from the station and if you’re familiar with 109 Mall (Women), it’s 3 minutes from there because we started navigating from the building haha

It’s in the basement so expect no high signal to none.

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Ambiance and Experience

It was dim of course for the effect of the restaurant. I tried video taping the entrance but failed so bad because it was too dark. We got a bit jumpy because there were stuff there that will give you a surprise welcome. It was also like a maze as you come in.

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So this is the main entrance to it. We waited a little bit to get accommodated even if we had a reservation. We didn’t mind. We were so hyped by the ambiance.

Continue reading “The Lock up Tokyo // JP Travels”

Japan Travels · Personal

JP Travels: Sanrio Puro land

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The truth: I have so many back logs on traveling since 2014. Yes, I’m that lazy! Haha But anyway, I’ll post them all in the coming days (IF and only IF I don’t get really lazy again). Those travel back logs will feature: Osaka, Kamakura Island, Yokohama, Paris and Italy. As of now, let me tell you my last weekend’s refresh button—if Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth”, for me this is the “most kawaii place on earth”!

We all know little girls are die-hard fans of hello kitty. It’s a fact. And didn’t we all go to a phase where most of our things are hello kitty? From footwear to dresses to pencil cases and even hair pins! I surely did when I was a kid. So my ultimate dream then beside riding an airplane and taking some clouds home is to go to Sanrioland. My dream was fulfilled around 20 years later when my hype of hello Kitty is gone. But hey, it did happen!

The place

My first thought when going to the park was to dress warm—layers of clothes, thick leggings and jacket and my big furry scarf. But, turned out… Sanrioland is indoor. Yes, INDOOR. It’s like a big dome with 3 floors, I think. It’s really warm inside so I have to put my things in the lockers at the entrance hall.

Indoor may be nice but one of the down sides for me is the lights. They’re a little bit dim. Maybe it is for the “drama” effect that you are in a different land. It surely did add up to it but my eyes are sucker for bad lights. I get a headache so easily with them. Other than that, the ambiance feels like you’re in a different world and it surely looks so cute inside with the big “wisdom tree” and the set designs.

The park itself

Sanrioland is a home for kids. Sure enough, kids were everywhere that day. However, teenage girls were everywhere, too. In some sense, it will make you feel so young at heart. That being said, there are no ride in the park. Well, there are two: one with the boat that will tour you around the characters and another with a track. None is intense and none is fast. So, I warned you. Lol

The park though has a lot of shows. Every theater has time shown at the entrance on when the shows were starting. We only seen one with Jewel Pet. It was entertaining. Looks like a cosplay show. Also, they have the main show at the main hall with all the characters. It was really nice but we were a little bit late so we didn’t find a nice place to see it. TIP: Look for a nice place 30 minutes before the show starts so you’ll be comfortable enough.

Also, Sanrio characters were all over the place. You can take a photo with them and hug them. Yes! Most characters are very nice to the extent they’ll really hug you. But because there were a lot of shows, most characters only come out with a time limit. We went to a line for the rabbit character but the time was gone and they just replaced her. We didn’t complain. We can’t. Lol.

Experience

Over all, I had so much fun! It was so cute you won’t mind to just walk around all day. Little kids will surely love this place and if you’re like me and my friends, you will surely do too!

They also have desserts and food shaped as hello Kitty characters for the whole experience.

And of course, I had fun because I was with these two kawaii ladies themselves!

 

If you plan to visit Sanrio Puroland, it is located at: 1-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588. From Shinjuku, it’s around 1 hour away but from me it was 2 hours train ride. The entrance is 3,000Y on weekdays and around 4,000Y on weekends (for adults). You can check out their website here: http://en.puroland.jp/.

Japan Travels

JP: Odaiba, Tokyo

As promised from the previous post, here’s the second half of my day yesterday! Actually, I don’t have any clue where and what Odaiba, Tokyo is. Heavens forgive me, for I don’t even know Odaiba exists. But this place just proved that even the most unpopular city/part of Tokyo is a-mazing.

Going to Odaiba from Asakusa, we have actually 2 options: the train (which is very, very convenient and obvious) and the Tokyo Cruise via Tokyo Bay. Of course, we can take a cab or a car but we don’t have a car and cab costs our lives, practically. lol, kidding. Japan’s taxi’s just too expensive! For me, a “young professional” at least. Anyway, we opted to ride the cruise!

It’s a very funny story because we nearly missed the last trip and my oh my, we’re lucky to be the last passengers.  Although we need to “Nokirai” (change boats) because the straight trips to Odaiba is at 5pm and we’re there in Tokyo Cruise station at 3pm. So, we decided to take the adventure!

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Photos from our first cruise. This is from Asakusa to Himode Pier (40 mins). By the way, Tokyo cruise is 1,200Yen/person (rounded off). I also have a video to this but I don’t know how to upload. Maybe next time.

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We stayed at Tokyo Cruise Cafe for 30mins after we arrived at Hinode Pier. There’s some refreshments like coffee and these yummy frozen yougarts! Left is Banana chocolate of Art’s and my oreo and sprinkles. Yum!

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As always, Japan is on time. So our boat came by 4:30pm for Odaiba! 2nd cruise was better, I think. We stayed at the top deck and everything seems so pretty up there! L-R photos: very pretty red Japan boat (dunno where it is going), a ferry and the giddy-kid-looking me because it’s my first sail

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After 50mins of sailing, 30 mins of refreshments and 2 cruise rides, we finally saw Odaiba from afar. Top photo’s the buildings and the bottom photo is the rainbow bridge.  May 4’s very foggy and the weather forecast is rain but instead, it’s just a cloudy day. This is one of the reasons why my pictures seems a little gloomy, mr. sun’s not present.

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That did not stopped us to enjoy though. Especially when the seashore is as beautiful as this! There are a lot of couples and children everywhere that day so it was pleasing.

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There’s also an on going “Odaiba Oktoberfest 2014”. Art and I laughed so hard seeing it. Not because it was a funny festival but the October have “K” and in the Philippines, Octoberfest are done in October. Haha anyway, there are flowing beers, wines and every Osake (alcohol) they have. If only I am not on medication, I’ll be pleased to join them.

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So instead we just went around and look what we found! A replica of the statue of Liberty. This plus the rainbow bridge makes us forget that we are in actually in Japan.

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But Japan has it’s ways to remind us that we’re still here! Look at that gigantic robot. How can other countries will win the war against Japan with this big Gundam robot?lol, just kidding. It’s so cool though. The eyes have lights too. Me and Art for scale. Sorry, didn’t have any bananas hahaha

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Toyota have their car show too. And tourists can ride some of the cars although those cars are not like the race cars.

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Surprising enough, there’s another car show (different mall from Toyota’s) of vintage cars. “Pre war” cars in Japan. There are actually a lot but my phone camera’s battery is dying so, I have to spare some. Too bad. But that leaves enough for everyone’s time to be in Odaiba, right?

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From New York (Statue of Liberty) to Japan (Gundam Robot) to Europe. This is the best mall I ever been in. Europe styled and there’s an artificial sky at the ceiling. Very romantic, serene and too beautiful to be a mall. It’s called Venus mall, I think.

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L-R: Art and I at Toyota’s big screen, Coffee: my staple going out thing, the ferry’s wheel outside, japan’s versions of chains of korea, Hawaiian festival of Odaiba AKA hot white men and women dancing and our special dinner.

Other attractions in Odaiba are: Stardome (2,000yen/person) – this is where wax figures of international celebrities are, Sega (3,400yen – 2,400yen depends on time) – an indoor amusement park and gaming center.  Legoland – self defined

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Odaiba at night. Sorry for my iPhone’s resolution!

After a half day and  dinner, we went home via train station. If you wish to go there by train, the station is: Tokyo Teleport station. It took me another 60mins to go home but my heart is smiling. I experienced the traditional Japan in Asakusa in the morning and the modern day Japan in Odaiba. The cruise in Tokyo Bay is also a plus! Odaiba’s now my favorite Tokyo destination so far. I was in awe how beautiful a man made place is because a little trivia: Odaiba is part of the sea. The genius engineers put some land and constructed the place. I would love to be back and bring a special someone! haha the place is romantic, I can’t help to think that way. 

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Japan Travels

JP: Asakusa, Tokyo

I’ve been travelling to Japan since I’m 17 and never in my life I ever thought of blogging about my Asobi (Visits). But since a friend suggested the idea, here I am in my new blog category: Japan Travels. Since I am not going anywhere and japan would likely be my home for now, I will constantly post my travel reviews. First stop: Asakusa, Tokyo!

I first went to Asakusa 5 years ago (I was 17!) and my first thought was: boring! That made me realize that you can’t enjoy the place without a little background and an appreciation to the Japanese culture. Asakusa used to be the “Entertainment City” with new things in 1800s. It was a little bit destroyed during the World War but the shrines stood still.

Yesterday was one day of the golden week and Art (my friend) and I decided to go to Asakusa again.

Going to Asakusa is not tricky at all. At least for me because I used my google maps app from my phone. It’s free and very convenient with step by step instructions how to get into one place to another. Also, Japan deviced a new “user friendly” train stations with Romanjis.

Kaminarimon Gate are the first two gates leading to Sensoji Temples.I posted a photo of my self for scale.

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After the big gate is Nakamise Shopping street leading to the main temple. There are a lot of people here! Going south and north.

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Some stuff from the market/shopping street. Most are authentic Japanese items such kimonos, keychains made of sumo wrestlers and other Japanese-related stuff.

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The final gate going to the Temple. By the way, I did’t had an opportunity to capture the temple itself. No photo taking! and there are so much people inside. So, yeah. Boo me. Hahaha but that’s another reason to go because you can find the temple for yourself.

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There is this small shrine with a lot of people and a lot of smoke. My japanese father once told me that when that smoke hits you, you will have a good health for the rest of the year. So, most japanese go there for the smoke.

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Another temple beside Sensoji Temple (which I don’t know the name) and these japanese guys who are photobombing me!

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Another closed and unknown temple and not too far away is the statue of Buddha.

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Shin-Nakamise Shopping Street on the way out of the Temple areas. Unlike Nakamise Shopping street, this one’s less crowded with the same stuff for sale.

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Other things you can see at Asakusa street: Traditional Japanese Transport via a man carrying you, a lot of japanese in kimono (there are a couple, trust me! and modern shopping district like this building.

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Asakusa is also the home of the oldest Amusement park. We didn’t went inside though. It’s 1000Yen per person for Adults, 500Yen for kids and people above 65 years old and free for infants. Although that’s only for an entrance fee. The rides costs some too.

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At the streets, Japan’s Skytree, the tallest building here yet is seen from afar. That’s also in Asakusa although we didn’t go there. Maybe next time and in my next blog entry.

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We ate in haste because we want to go to Odaiba (will be featured in my next blog post). We decided to go to this small store offering Yakitori (Japan version of grilled chicken). Most restaurants offer beer and most people are drinking beer too! but we opted for cola since I’m taking my seki medicines.

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Not too far from the Temples, there’s Skytree from afar, a gold building and a weird shaped thing at the top is the manufacturer of Japan’s famous beer–Asahi! That’s also the reason most restaurants around serve beer all the time. Right picture is the Tokyo Bay wherein there’s a Water Bus (Tokyo Cruise) that will take you to other places in Tokyo.

Over-all, Asakusa is a city with so much Japanese culture. If you want to experience that, this place is for you! I enjoyed my stay and I can say that it’s one of my favorite places in Tokyo. 🙂