Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Day 7-14: Osaka>Tokyo>Yokohama>Basically Tokyo

Osaka Castle
Day 7
- Osaka Castle
Osaka Station ->Osakajokoen Station 
* We had to check out at 10am so we decided to leave our luggage at Osaka Station.
* For 400yen+, you can leave your luggage at the station (a small booth that is maned by people) and go around where you need to go. However do note their closing time. For us it wasn't a problem cuz we had to leave at 4+ for our train anyways.
* Osaka Castle seemed a little smaller then expected and was a bit of a disappointment but its okay cuz i got to see the Osaka-hall that many idols have performed at!

- Hang out at Osaka Station
Osakajokoen Station -> Osaksa Station
*As we had about 3 hours before going to Shin-osaka to take our train, we hung out at Osaka Station first. However...we were late for our train and had to re-reserve our seats to Tokyo. (if you think its a hastle, you dont need to reserve seats but if you want to be sure of a seat definitely reserve. With the JR pass, reserving a seat is FOC)
* Try the buffet called 'The Platinum' at the mall in Lucca near Osaka Station. It's affordable and really good!

- Head to Roppongi to our apartment!
 Shin Osaka Station-> Tokyo Station-> Ginza Station->Roppongi Station  
*We got reached Roppongi at around 9pm+, though we got a bit lost we were really blown away by the apartment. It was really good. Our host was super nice too! And if I ever go back to Tokyo I might stay here again (haha) Roppongi station has got to be one of the more convinient stations ever. we could get to everywhere! Plus! TV Asahi was near the apartment and we could see tokyo tower !
- Hanami @ Tokyo Midtown
Walk over from Roppongi Station 
*As a reccomendation from our host who said that we must go hanami at Tokyo midtown, we walked over to Tokyo Midtown though we were really tired from our trip.However, we were really glad we did. It was really beautiful and it was such a good way to start our trip in tokyo!
Hanami over @ Yoyogi Park. All the trees were
 fully bloomed!
Day 8
- Shibuya, Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Takeshita Dori, Omotesando
Walk over from Roppongi to Shibuya (15mins+) 
Walked Shibuya>Yoyogi Park>Cat Street?>Takeshita Dori>Omotesando 
*We woke up later then we used to wake up when we were in the Kansai area. Thats cuz we had more days in Tokyo to see everything. Also, we walked from our apartment to Shibuya and it took us about 30 minutes to reach.Basically, this day was all about walking cuz the places above can be walked, so we did. Walking to and fro this area is the best because there are many interesting stores and places you will walk past. Such as the yoyogi stadium!
*Also do do doooooo  try Ichiran Ramen if you are in Shibuya cuz its awesomeeee!!

Day 9
- Tokyo Skytree
Roppongi Station ->Aoyama Itochome Station ->Oshiage Station
*Look out for the Tokyo Banana at tokyo skytree cuz they have a special edition version there. These special edition version Tokyo Skytree Banana cannot be found anywhere but there. Also, if you feel that tokyo skytree is too expensive to go up then just hand around. The place has loads of shop to the brim!
- Asakusa Temple
Oshiage Station-> Asakusa Station
*There are booths before you reach the temple so check them out cuz they are really interesting. The fried manju is really nice! Get yourself some Senbei (though a little ex) if you want!
- Akihabara
Asakusa Station-> Ueno Station->Akihabara Station
*Honestly I have no idea why we made a trip here. We weren't Otakus and we didn't need to buy any electrical products. However, if like me you just came to this place cuz it was always often talking but you weren't a fan of eletrical products or anime, head over to the Don Qui Hote there!
*It was super interesting and you get to see things you don't see at other store! (cuz its filled with interesting anime stuffs!)
*Also, for those who need to chance money (SGD), the money changer just below Don Qui Hote, had the best rate for us to change. Though not as good as changing in Singapore, it was still better then other places.
Hanami over @Ueno Park. This was probably the nicest
place for hanami out of all the places I went. 
Day 10
- Ueno Park/Ameyoko
*The sakura blossomed fully by the time we went Ueno and it was breathtakingly beautiful. However there were many people there for hanami too.
*Since it was the Hanami season there were many booths and my friends and I kept stopping to eat food
* After Ueno Park, drop by Ameyoko and just shop around, there are really cute stores and some stores offer affordable clothes! (Funfact: Pentatonix filmed their cover video of  clean bandit's 'rather be' here!)
- Ikebukuro  (Pokemon Centre)/Sunshine City 
*Accompanied my friend to Pokemon Centre and if you aren't much of a fan like me, check out the stores at the basement of Sunshine City or head over next door to Tokyu Hands! They have a cat cafe at the very top of Tokyu Hands if you like cats!
*Also, the whole street of Ikebukuro is really interesting so you can check it out too!
- Tokyo Metropolitan Center
Walk over from Shinjuku Station (10 mins+)
*This place is one of the tall buildings in the area and you can see tokyo tower and skytree (though really small). We went over cuz it was for free and it was just another place to visit to see tokyo at night
- Meguro River
* Since we had time, we decided to visit Meguro river as well, a place popular to see sakura trees. It wasn't as awesome as the ones we saw at tokyo midtown, probably because it was at night and there were a lot of people. So I'd recommend you to visit this place during the day if your injapan during spring!
- Back at roppongi 
By the time we finished visiting all the places, we realised we haven't eaten so we ate at Afuri ramen neat the roppongi station. Afuri ramen seemed really popular cuz many people lined for the same store near meguro river. So we decided to try it. Apparently its famous ramen is the Yuzu ramen. So if you are over at the meguro river or roppongi or shibuya (ebisu) do try it! its an interesting fusion food.
The colorful Gundam!! If you are a gundam
fan like me, don't miss this out! 
Day 11
- Cup Noodle Museum (Yokohama)
We headed over to yokohama to visit the Cup noodle museum! This is worth a visit because you get to make your own cup noodles! And yokohama is a really pretty city, very different from tokyo and the rest because you can see the sea and stuff.
- Chinatown
* Another place to visit because Yokohama is famous for its chinatown. However, i felt it changed a lot since the last time I visited it and it wasn't as fun as it was in the past. However their panda bun is really cute so do try it if you have a chance!
- Yokohama Stadium
*Because we had to take a train at the station near yokohama stadium, Just nice when we were there, there was a huge baseball game so the stadium was roaring with cheers. Also they were playing Southern All Star's new song. It was so fun even just to walk past it.
- Odaiba (Diver's city etc. )
*This is where Gundam is at! It was super cool to see gundam at night. So if you plan to see it, watch it at night cuz the light effects are cool! Its head even moves and theres a mini gundam episode at the back.
*After that we walked around the Odaiba area and saw the statue of liberty. As we were walking around, I saw this pop up booth playing the latest PV for TVXQ's song, sakura. I literally dashed across the road to see and stare at it. (Guess this was enough for me cuz I stupidly didn't buy the tickets to their concert at tokyo dome)
The tokyo tower on the road. The light and cars brighten up
that street that makes it look like Tokyo Tower. 

Amazing view at night. You can see the Odaiba area! 
Day 12
- Imperial Palace Area
*We left after lunch time  to explore the palace area. The palace area is huge. The flowers were really nice around the area however, it was kinda boring to me because there was nothing. Like just flowers and all. Maybe it was because we didn't see the imperial palace, but its worth a visit during spring cuz of the flowers.
- Shinjuku
*We walked around shinjuku because 1.there was takashimaya 2. we were planning to go hakone and the odakyu sightseeing counter was there. However, the sightseeing counter was closed so we had to go back another day. We didn't go hakone in the end because the next few days till we fly back the weather was pretty bad.
- Tokyo Tower
*We went over to tokyo tower, BUT! it was pink that day to celebrate the coming of Spring. It was pretty, but my friends were disappointed about it. They didn't want to go up so I did instead. For all One Piece fans, there is a collaboration between one piece and tokyo tower, so do check it out. I didnt go into the one piece museum, but I shopped for stuff at the one piece store. ><"
- Roppongi
*We went back to roppongi hills for dinner and ate at the only shop that was open, a chinese restaurant. Its affordable but the food was so-so. We then realised we haven't drunk at a bar or club since we came to japan so we decided to look for one after dropping our stuff at our apartment. We then found this small bar near our place. Their open till 5am so when we went in at around 12, there was nobody and it was really nice. They played really good music so it was a nice place to chill. Sadly I don't remember the bar's name...if not i'll recommend everyone there cuz the staff there was really nice too!

Day 13
- Meiji Shrine
*This was a place I never been to so it was really refreshing. We got lost at first but eventually found our way there. Its deep in the forest like area but it felt really nice to walk around that area.
- Shibuya/Harajuku Area
*Since my friends wanted to buy stuff last minute and we didn't really see all the shops the last time we went, we spent half a day at the shibuya/harajuku area. If you like cute stuffs then Shibuya 109 is just for you. They have a huge H&M, Bershka store there so if your a fan take a look. Especially the Bershka store, its is quite sleek. If you have the feel for desserts at around 10pm like us, drop by Shibuya 109 men and theres a store called 'hoshino coffee'. They serve really yummy pancakes!

View from Tokyo World Trade Center. One of the best places to see the
night view of Tokyo. 
Day 14
- Tsukiji Market
Roppongi Station>Tsukiji Station 
*We reached tsukuji market at around 8am, but its open to public only at 9am. So take note if you want to visit the market area. We eventually decided to have sushi for breakfast but there were soooo many people. I gave up cuz I had other places to go that day and I went to eat at Sukiya instead. My beloved fast food chain in japan. My friends who ate the sushi at tsukiji said the sushi was amazing..so don't give up like me if you want to eat good sushi.
- Yokohama station area
Tsukiji Station> Naka-Meguro Station>Yokohama Station 
*This day was my solo-trip in japan day. Cuz I had to visit my grandparents grave. After visinting, I hung out around the area because its the only area I'm super familiar with because I stayed around this area when I went to japan in the past. The yokohama station area has 2 huge malls (takashimaya and sougou) but the area outside the mall is more interesting.
- Yamashita Park
Yokohama station>Motomachi Chukagai Station (Minatomirai Line) 
*Since it was still early and my mom asked me why not drop by yamashita park since I was near, I did. I bought sandwich and coffee and head over to have lunch there. It was actually nice to just sit on the bench in front of the sea and people watch. It gave me time to sink in the fact that I was in japan, venturing alone and I was kind of sad I had to go back the next day.
- Tokyo World Trade Center
*We decided to visit Tokyo world trade center really last minute because my friend was sad that we couldn't go up the observatory deck at roppongi hills cuz it was closed. And for just 600 yen, it was worth it. The sight was way nicer then the tokyo metropolitan center. Its a really nice dating spot but then again everywhere we visited seemed like a good dating spot. You can see tokyo tower really clearly and the rest of tokyo as well. (including the rainbow bridge)
- Tokyo Tower area/Azabu area/Roppongi Hills
*Since it was still early by the time we went down, we decided to go see tokyo tower because my friends wanted to take a non-pink picture of the tower. We then walked around that area and decided to walk back to roppongi from there. We passed by Azabu area and eventually reached roppongi hills. We then explored the place cuz though we stayed damn near the place we didn't visit it at all. Shops were mostly closed but we just window shopped around. Things at Roppongi Hills were branded stuff so I wasn't interested but my interest peaked when we passed by TV asahi's office building. I was so excited cuz I knew there was a TV asahi opposite our apartment but didn't think the main office was nearby as well! It was a really nice walk back and of course. We dreaded the fact that we were leaving the next day.

Day 15
- Fly back to Singapore
Roppongi Station>Daimon Station>Haneda Int'l Airport 
*Before flying back, we had ramen in the morning at this store called "Tsurumiya Yokohama Home ramen style" It's between Nishi Azabu and Roppongi. Its definitely a must must try cuz its probably the best ramen I had during the time I was there. Another thing I regretted. Not eating this ramen earlier.
*We then took a train to Haneda. (We took the asakusa line because for the Tokyo Monorail you would have to go out the station and walk over, which is a bit tough if you have huge luggages. )We had to change only 1 time and it took us around 30mins. It felt super fast. (Especially if you wait for the express train).

=So that ends my journey in Japan. It's been more then a month and I still miss my days in Japan and can't wait to venture back again. But the next time I do, I'll spend most of my time at Osaka cuz I love the land of takoyaki hahahaha=

(P.s. I hit my 120th post with this update!! Whoa..haha)

For all my pictures of my trip,check it out here
Things to Note:
1. Walking Shibuya to Harajuku Area
As mentioned these places can be walked so if you are not sure how to, just ask the Tourist Information Centre that is just in front of the Hachiko statue. Theres a woman there who speaks really good english!(though I talked to her in Japanese and we spent about 15mins talking about stuffs) They will even recommend what you should look out for!
2. Transportation
If you got the suica card, a charge of 1000yen per day is enough if you stay within the tokyo area. (unless you plan to venture to places like disneyland and yokohama which might cost a tad bit more)
3. Hakone/Mount Fuji Area
We were planning to go Hakone but gave up in the end because of the continuous bad weather report until the day we left, however for those who plan to go hakone/mount fuji area (lucky you) drop by Shinjuku station. Go out of Shinjuku Station West exit and head to Odakyu Sightseeing service center there that sells a 2 day hakone pass that allows you to take the romance car, ferry and trains within hakone for free. It is only worth it if you plan to stay there for 2 days. (because for hakone, you can't see everything in a day) The sightseeing centre has people who speak in english so no worries for ya'll! For more info check out this site: http://www.odakyu.jp/english/destination/hakone/

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