I do not know if I mentioned this before, but my only real life experience in Japan was about 5 years ago when I stopped by from the United States, together with my mom and (Otaku) brother by getting stranded for a day and a half for quarantine. Those days spelled “A-H-1-N-1” worldwide and yes, our plane temperature was too sketchy to be allowed for straight flight. Of course, me, especially my brother, always had a penchant for Japan and I thought to myself, I’LL BE BACK, FOR REAL! and~
Finally, a real trip to one of my favorite places in the world (through television and media); Japan!
I just felt so giddy after the 4 longest hours of my life on the plane and the 9 blissful days I get to explore it! Not to mention, the cold weather (rain included) that welcomed us was creepy (and quite made me gloomy). At first, I was really doubtful whether i’ll enjoy the trip, as soon as the gloomy weather was in sight, I felt worried. But my tita slash tour guide ( slash photographer xD ), Tita Sylvia always kept our spirits high.
We started off our rather long car trip from Narita Airport to our host’s house, but on the way, we already went to a temple and other shopping places to not waste precious time. Of course, we only had 4 DAYS to spare for Tokyo o.o. It was creepy, unimaginable (if you think you want to visit and shop most of the places) and daunting (the abrupt weather changes)…
The narrow streets that make up village-like places still look so vibrant even after some rain.
Pets are welcome anytime, at this rate, they’re one of the possible companies of any non-food store around.
Cleansing station of hands before heading to the Asakusa/Sensoji Temple.
Handmade slippers that were hung on walls on the way.
Even on a rainy day, people are still coming to their temple for their emas, gatherings or simple relaxation.
The next day was rather a day of sunshine. Also, I forgot to mention, we resided within the street/village of Symphony Hills, and obviously, we went into this small orchestra/theater place called Mozart (or something close) to commemorate that “Symphony” in Symphony Hills. Isn’t the sculpture (and the dramatic lighting) such a beauty?
With amenities and good bookstores (I wish they had a wider selection of English or I wish I could read Japanese), underground restaurants (my favorite part) and awesome milk ( I said it, FURUYA Milk), I wish I could stay in Tokyo in my professional career in a lifetime.
To prove the very good start of that day, here is a photo of little girls and boys getting ready for their trip to Ueno Zoo. I just wanted to bring one cute kid home!
I fell in love with the illustration for the Sakura Flower Festa!
This one cute fella just kept smiling at me and I decided to take a picture of her for keeps. I kept saying “Hi” and “Hello” to the kids since they were so behaved and friendly. I’d be glad if her name was actually spelled out by the characters on her bag, don’t you think?
Any AKB48 fans? I just spotted their huge flagship store and cafe near the Akihabara Station Exit. At 11:00 am, there were already tons of fanboys lining up.
One of the Vocaloid billboards I spotted on the way to Mandarake! Please, I have the Project Diva curse. (-__-)
Dropped by the Akihabara Duty Free Shop where we bought all items for pasalubong since we want them packed early! I recommend this place to anyone buying electronics, souvenirs, traditional items and emergency bag shopping for extra baggage! If you are a tourist, present your passport and get 5% discount on items (plus they give you extra gifts too)!
I bought one of these Ningyo (Japanese Friendship/Traditional Dolls) for keepsakes (^__^).
Followers of School idol project and the hashtag #lovelive will be happy to be bombarded with such billboard announcements for their dvd and other releases!
I spot Black Bullet…and my long gone maid cafe dream experience…
Another long gone dream of beautiful 8 filled to the brim floors any anime fandom would be happy to visit. PLEASE CALL THEM IF YOU’RE GOING TO VISIT! I went to the establishment 2 hours earlier than the opening hour, and they also had the 2 hour opening.o.o. What a bummer! (They never got to answer my e-mail inquiry a month back)
Enough of the negativity, here is another paradise called Animate also in Akihabara which sells dvds and other merch. I spotted A LOT of Neon Genesis Evangelion and…more Hatsune Miku.
Fluffy Alpacasso which I only see via Tokyo Otaku Mode welcomes you to the impossible dream of cranes!
WE WANT MOAR! Sad they didn’t have the Noragami crane but hey, they have awesome AOT cranes up for tries.
After exiting for our Shinjuku station stop, this beautiful window just slapped my face.
I bagged a giftbox set of macarons, vanilla cookies (I gobbled them up) and a cute Laduree keychain that is TDF! So if you’re going, please do stop by their Shinjuku branch =))
My Shinjuku adventure was nothing more than fangirling over the Sekaido shop (which I will post individually for good one-stop art stores) and getting drunk on pastries and green tea latte at Caffe Veloce.
If you stray a bit from the busy JR Yamanote Line’s Harajuku stop, you can see a subtle difference in the density of people near shrines, in this case, in Meiji Jingu.
A brief stop in Harajuku, Meiji Jingu and their famous Takeshita Street! ( The face was unnecessary xD )
You’ll find grunge, punk rock, lolita and Harajuku fashion in one place, with real life mannequins.
Make sure you have room for new clothes!
I’d be happy to be one of these cosplaying people, even for a part time job! Look at all those fancy and yummy colored clothes…
WONDER ROCKET BABY! ❤ I love their store setup!
Dainty lolita rolled in one sushi (store)! I had to make sure I snag some new arrivals from their racks.
A platter of pastels.
What a timing too! I spotted a new Purikura produced after Kyary (really, Anthony Fantano, you just pop up, man). We were able to edit thanks to my Japanese speaking tita and some helpful ladies =).
Shoot! This lady looks oddly familiar to me!
Next stop, SHIBUYA!
Shibuya is known to be the busiest crossing in the world, even off hours. You’d probably see tourists wandering around taking pictures and posing off this tourist destination (crossing). Weird, but forgivable. Just don’t get run over by cars…
Spotted a particular underground bar slash resto in a narrow street near the Shibuya crossing for late lunch. Hanasaki Jisan (please correct me if I’m wrong) was my best meal from my whole Japan trip. I recommend visiting this place for their Ramen, roasts and cold cuts!
So close yet so far.
I forgot what particular station we went off for our last item on our list. We asked this particular guy, one of the Rickshaw Run tour guides in the place.
For 15 minutes, get ready to roam around some tourist spots (of your choice) on their map with their bare strength to pull you for a rickshaw ride. Your tour guide will be happy to take pictures and even answer some of your questions while on tour. Charge is 1000 plus yen per person depending on the time allotment. If you want a relaxing break from all the walking, this one is for you!
Tokyo Tower from afar!
Can you imagine we did all the shopping (starting with the kids) in one day! Stops we went to were Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya and Ueno. I also quite saw evident cultural practices like Omiyage, their useful Tenugui and got to try their lovely Ofuro for several nights ❤ I have to say, we had the best tour guide ever plus I got to learn a lot too, in real life situations.
I still have items o my Japanese Bucketlist, hopefully with my 3 year visa, I can go back in my future breaks from school! I never really got it wrong to have this as a graduation gift since experience beats anything else.
On my Japan Diaries, Part 2, I will post more on the relaxing parts of Japan like an onsen, somewhere in Chiba, Mt. Fuji and more of my fun loving nature in the inside. I hope they can tickle your love for travel too!
A shout out to the lovely Japanese folks for the directions when we thought we were heading towards nowhere!
Till the next post!
S.S., signing out.
*cries over pamphlets*