Travel

Japan-tastic! (Tokyo Edition 1.0)

For the last leg of our Japan trip, we stayed in its capital city: TOKYO.

From Kyoto, we took a bullet train that will take us to Tokyo in about an hour. The train ticket cost us 14,000 yen and that’s about S$176.00 – quite on the pricey side, but what the hell, right?!

Day 01. Gundam Front Tokyo. Odaiba. 

For our first day in Tokyo, we didn’t have much on our itinerary as we arrived at our Airbnb place at around 2pm, head on out to find a sushi bar and find a nearby tourist spot to while away the time.

These are sushi, believe me! Haha! I didn’t took a lot of photos of the sushi ’cause I was too hungry to care!

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Itadakimasu!

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We spent the rest of the day at Gundam Front Tokyo in Odaiba and in this replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Day 02. Meiji Shrine. Shibuya Crossing.

For our 2nd day in Tokyo, we went to Meiji Shrine in the morning and spent the rest of the day in Shibuya.

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Meiji Shrine is accessible through the Harajuku Station and is just a few miles away from the train station. It’s quite wonderful how you come to realize that with all the hustle and the bustle of the (Harajuku) area, you still find these Shrines and Temples that are all as solemn despite of it being located in one of the world’s largest and probably busiest Cities.

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To get to the main Shrine, you had to walk through this forest-y area with trees with roots as large as on the above photo.

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Minutes after reaching the Shrine, we saw this procession for a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, I guess. It (quite) stirred a commotion among the tourists (ehem!) and security had to shoo every tourist (that mostly held camera) away from the bride’s way.

DISCLAIMER: I am not too sure if this is indeed a traditional Japanese wedding, I didn’t do my research, sorry. :/

In the afternoon, we went to the famous Shibuya area where we found the statue of the loyal dog, Hachiko and of course, the Shibuya Crossing.

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This is too cute not to post! This girl beside my boyfriend is one of the pedestrians waiting for the green light. While she waited, I took the chance to photograph her and she didn’t mind one bit. I think this is what they call the “Lolita” trend in Tokyo street fashion. It’s like, girls wear flamboyant “era” dresses paired with knee-high socks or stockings, sometimes with ribbons and A LOT of laces in their clothing. Cute! Just cute!

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Every person who knows me well, knows that I love Hello Kitty. At Shibuya, we found this arcade with claw machines with stuffed animals in it. This one here is not the usual claw machine, it’s like a “hook machine” (or whatever they called it) and so instead of claws clawing your target, it’s a hook, hooking it.

We weren’t really supposed to linger inside, just passing by. But *le boyfriend was curious and went in, and in we saw Hello Kitty. I actually fell in love the moment I saw this model. I don’t really collect HK stuffs, not into those things but when I see a model that I like, then I’d most probably get it.

My boyfriend played until 4-5 tries and nothing happened. He then go around the arcade and watched this certain guy playing the same “hook machine” thing and so I watched as well. At first it was just like he’s being stupid at all, not even hooking the hook at the right place, just tugging at the side of the target. After a couple of minutes, we realized what he was trying to do! Alamak, he is such a genius! And so my boyfriend went back to Hello Kitty and mimic the guy’s strategy until he got me this!

I think I squealed in joy when Hello Kitty dropped from where she was hanging and in to that hole that read “PRIZE OUT”. Hashtag Happiness. 🙂

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After that fun time at the arcade we went back to the crossing and did some more selfies and groupies.

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After mingling with the pedestrian in the busiest crossing in the World, we went to have our dinner then to Tokyo Tower (if only from a distance) then went home.

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For the rest of our trip in Tokyo (Days 03-06), will have to post soon on a separate entry. Hang on!

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Travel

Japan-tastic! (Osaka-Kyoto Edition)

A week ago I handed my boss a gift from Japan I bought for him and after saying thanks, he joked and added I must have saved quite a lot of money to have been there for  eleven days. Ha! Honestly, it took a lot of effort to make this trip possible! Thanks to (almost!) a year of planning and cheap flight-scouring!

For our flights, we first booked the trip from Singapore (we’re all based in SG) to Osaka. Then our return to SG was from Tokyo so that’s booked separately but both flights are via Scoot (promotion!). In total, our flight cost us SGD 400.00/pax.

For our accommodation, Airbnb was ever so efficient and we got our places (one in Kyoto and one in Tokyo)  for a total of SGD 575/pax for eleven days.

Day 01. Arrival at Kansai and Airbnb Home in Kyoto.

On arrival at Kansai International Airport, we didn’t expect it’s gonna be THAT cold! Yes, we were wearing long sleeves but no, we weren’t wearing any layers on. Here we are on our 1st day in Japan! Yay!

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Once we arrived in Osaka, we had to  buy train tickets going to Kyoto, where our Airbnb place is for the next days. One thing you must remember when travelling Japan is that transportation is quite costly so you must be very wise on spending on it.

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This is the express train we took from Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station. TIP: Take note of the car number on your train tickets when boarding ’cause there are certain cars that are allotted for passengers with reserved seats. This car is for passengers with reserved seats, our tickets were ordinary ones! Haha! Minutes after taking this photo, we realized our mistake and hurriedly got out of the car! Hashtag Tourist. Forgive us.

We were famished when we arrived Kyoto and we’re lucky enough to find this Ramen shop still open, nearby. For our first meal in Japan, we had a bowl of Ramen and a mug of draft beer. Hashtag Perfection!

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The shop was manned by this uncle and he was very accommodating (as other Japs are!) the whole time we were there. We ate at his shop twice ’cause his Ramen is to die for, and I’m not exaggerating.

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Day 02. Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Kyoto Tower. 

On our second day, we head on to the famed Fushimi-Inari Shrine with its orange-colored Torii gates – hundreds of them, actually!

Here I am, looking all bummed-out ’cause we can’t take a proper photo because people are swarming everywhere! Well, Hashtag Tourist once more.

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To cap our day off, we went to Kyoto take a few snaps of the Kyoto Tower.

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Day 03. Universal Studios, Japan. 

You can’t say we’ve had enough of Universal Studios stuffs here in SG ’cause our whole  day 03 was spent in USJ! Haha! To get there, we had to board the same express train we took when we arrived in Osaka and it’s like an hour’s worth of travel from Kyoto.

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And so, this is Hogwarts huh?! Hmmmm.. Fun fact about me: I love books, worship them. BUT…I haven’t read a Harry Potter book. So you can see why I’m not so hyped up about visiting this place! Haha! Just look at my (?_?) face in this photo.

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Obligatory couple selfie! Is there a proper term for it? Couplie? Coupfie? Whatever it’s called, we had A LOT of those during this trip! Haha!

Day 04. Sagano Scenic Train Ride. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Our main itinerary for day 04 is the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama but before we head on to that place, we took a scenic train ride that mainly covered the nearby (forest-y) areas.

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This was the train that took us on that scenic ride.

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The train took us to the country side of Sagano and Arashiyama areas. It took us through tunnels, mountain sides and bridges all the while showcasing picturesque sceneries left and right.

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I bet it’s even more breath-taking during mid-Autumn when these leaves change colors.

After the scenic train ride, we head on to one of Kyoto’s popular iconic, tourist spots -Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama District. It’s quite calming how you’re surrounded with tall bamboos & you feel like you’ve found your “zen” – whatever that means! HAHA!

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Day 05. Nishiki Market. Osaka Castle. Dotonbori. 

For our 5th day in Kyoto, we decided to do some food tripping to have a taste of this ancient city of Japan. Months before this trip, I came across a blog online about Nishiki Market -the oldest marketplace in Kyoto and so that’s how we come to know this place.

Nishiki Market is a five block-long marketplace with various stalls/shops that offers quite a number of gastronomic treats that ranges from fish cakes to takoyaki & rice cracker to grilled fish, sundaes, pickled veggies and so much more.

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Two of my favorite finds in Nishiki Market would have to be the baby octopus and pumpkin-flavored sundae or “Soft Cream” as they would put it in Japan.

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After having our fill at the market, we went to Osaka to see Osaka Castle and Dotonbori at Namba.

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We didn’t go inside ’cause we were rushing to go to Dotonbori afterwards then go straight home to Kyoto. We were rushing ’cause we are to pack our bags that night and leave early in the morning the next day as we are moving to Tokyo for the last part of our Japan getaway.

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Dotonbori reminded me of Myeong-Dong in Seoul as it also got A LOT of stores everywhere you turn!

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This here, is the reason why I dragged *le boyfriend in Dotonbori -The Glico Man! Hahaha! This is the iconic sign of the area and tourists swarm this area especially at night to take snaps of the famed running, Glico Man.

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It’s a real struggle to have a decent photo at night when you’re “against the light”.. We are having a disagreement (on the photo above) as to how should I hold my phone to take a better photo with the Glico Man. The result is unsatisfying, oh well.. *le BF was smiling, and that’s what’s all that matters in this life.. (smiley)

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Before we head on home to Kyoto, we dined in a Ramen shop around the area. With the chilly weather during our stay in Japan, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired eating Ramen! This Ramen was OK too, but the one we had in Kyoto on our first night is still the best.

This ends our stay in Kyoto/Osaka area. The next day, we head on to Tokyo which I will post on a separate entry.